Transitioning to full-time author & creating a space to write

When I began writing The Sister, I would perch on the end of my bed, iPad balanced on knee, for the half an hour each night when my son had independent reading time. Writing was my way to unwind, the way I fought clinical depression after suddenly acquiring a disability and chronic pain. As time marched on and my short story grew and grew I hesitantly invested in a second hand laptop, feeling horribly guilty, in the way most mother’s do, for spending money on myself rather than the kids.

It became clear, when I wrapped up the tale of Grace and Charlie at 90k words that it was a book but it was only after many weeks, and truth be told, many glasses of wine, I felt brave enough to send it out and luckily it got picked up quite quickly.

It was then the whirlwind started.

With The Sister scheduled for publication only six months after I signed my deal, and my editor waiting for book two life became really hectic. Still teaching mindfulness through the business I had spent years building up I wrote The Gift during breaks while simultaneously editing The Sister. I wrote in my car waiting for the kids to come out of school. My ancient laptop was propped open on the breakfast bar while I cooked meals. It came into the utility with me while I squeezed in a few words waiting for the iron to heat (okay I took artistic license with the last one – I NEVER actually iron but you get the picture. I wrote everywhere.) Still, I didn’t have a space in my home to write.

Juggling too many things, my health began to slide and my husband took over the business while I focused on writing The Gift, immediately followed by The Surrogate and then The Date. I wrote on the sofa, at the dining table, in the bedroom, at my son’s desk in his room. Anywhere I could carve out space in our busy house. My ancient laptop took longer and longer to boot up. I found it harder and harder to focus. My notes were scattered all over the house. I had no structure. Rooms were cluttered and so was my mind. Work was everywhere and it was increasingly difficult to switch off. Almost impossible to think of beginning a new book.

Something had to change.

And then an email dropped into my inbox from my publisher ‘Huge congratulations, you’ve surpassed a million English language sales.’ Stunned I shared this with my husband who was thrilled but had a very important question to ask.

‘Is this it now? You’re a full-time writer?’

I hesitated. I’d slipped further and further away from the business but we’d never sat down and talked properly about what I want. What he wants. What it would mean for our family if I could say ‘yes I’m an author’ rather than staring at my shoes and mumbling whenever anyone asks what I do for a living. My career has got off to a flying start with No.1 placements in various charts, in various countries and nineteen translation deals. Time wise I have been writing full-time but I’d still not made that mental shift. I felt a pang of sadness admitting aloud ‘I don’t think I’ll be coming back to the business.’ As much as I hoped one day to find a balance, writing is all consuming and honestly there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.

‘Then we need to find you the space to do that,’ he said.

Last weekend I was away at a literary festival and when I returned home he’d cleared the small study that’s always been his and we spent the week decorating and choosing furniture. For the last few days, I’ve sat at my new desk, in a clutter free room that is mine and mine alone, a blank wall in front of me and I’ve felt more creative than I have in months. Ideas are flowing and I’m genuinely excited at the prospect of writing more books because finally, my name is Louise and I’m a full-time author.

I’m slightly ashamed to say this sideboard is crammed full of notebooks…

LOVE my floating bookshelves & so proud to know many of these authors.

A cosy corner to read the proofs I’m sent.

My desk will NEVER be this tidy again.

My super creative sister has made me a piece of artwork for every book I’ve released (Admittedly I’m TERRIFIED of masks so I sit with my back to this).

36 thoughts on “Transitioning to full-time author & creating a space to write

  1. This has made me cry… what a humble and talented writer you are.
    You deserve all your success and I adore your writing space and the love and support from your husband is palpable through your words.
    What an honour to have met you early on in your meteoric rise as a full time author.
    No more looking down at those shoes…. 🥂💃🏼

  2. This is so inspirational. I’ve just finished writing my 3rd book as an indie author which will be released soon and next week i go back to work after 9 months maternity leave. It’s breaking my heart to go back to a job I hate, I need to be a full time writer. I’m in the middle of creating a writing space in my bedroom now the baby is in her own room and my third book will be the 1st of a series so fingers crossed I can generate an income from it and have time and space to write more xx

  3. You deserve your success, Louise: and of course you’re a full-time writer now. Love that desk, by the way.x

  4. Louise, this is such a humbling blog to read. You’re obviously born to be an author and what a loving husband. Your descriptions of how you squeeze your writing in makes me feel ashamed of my time wasting. I wish you more and more success and thanks for prodding me into picking up that pen! I’m babysitting out two grandchildren at the moment and maybe been using that as my excuse. Look after yourself and enjoy your writing. Xx

  5. Great to read about your journey into being a ‘full time writer’s. Congratulations on you well deserved success and I love your reading and writing room.

  6. That looks amazing. I am trying to create a space in my home for the same things. I love your floating books. Looks great a cozy. How was your transition? I am on the verge of transitioning into full-time writing and it is semi-hard for me. I really would like to read your work

Thanks so much for reading!

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