Two Jobs

How do those of you who have a day job as well as writing manage both?

I was writing at home, but it’s a long time between royalty cheques and advances, and I needed some money, so I took a day job. But then I had a lot of writing to do. Today, something major happened with my writing career (I got shortlisted for a Dagger. I wasn’t going to say because I’m English, and as Hugh Grant once memorably said, we don’t like to blow our own trumpet. But otherwise I’ll go through this whole blog talking about something amazing and huge and not saying what it was and that’s just frustrating for readers. Also, I am quite proud, in a fiercely embarrassed sort of way).

So, all day I needed to be tweeting and face booking and answering emails and phone calls and arranging things, but I was also trying to do my day job. How to do both? Well, there was a lot of ducking into the loo to check my phone, and trying to hide it behind paperwork.

And then halfway through the afternoon I got a brilliant idea for the fourth book (still in sort of planning stage) as I picked up the phone. Mary Watson and Martha Hudson forced their way into my consciousness as I was trying to concentrate on remembering where I worked and how to transfer a phone call. Having to wait until I got home to write it was deeply frustrating, and I may have torn up several crisp packets to relieve the tension.

I’m lucky. I have a certain amount of freedom in my job to quickly check my phone, and a moment of thinking time. But what about those of you that never get a free second I the day? The ones always watched, always busy? How do you cope with the day job and the writing too? Because the writing part of you is never switched off. It’s always there, and won’t wait until you get home.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

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