The first thing that appealed to me about becoming an author was the idea of putting my overactive imagination to good use and making a living from writing stories.
The second thing that appealed to me about it was the chance to escape the nine to five routine of working in an office.
Okay, I used to be a newspaper journalist, so my hours were actually much longer than that and my days were pretty varied. But I still had to get up every morning, shave, put a suit on and commute to my regular place of work.
Turning my hand to writing fiction rather than news, working from home, sounded like heaven. I imagined a life of getting up when I chose to, constantly listening to loud music and not bothering to get dressed or to shave if I didn’t feel like it. Oh yes, and doing some writing here and there, of course, in between all the partying and schmoozing with celebrities that would inevitably come with being a novelist.
Hmm. I’ve been a full-time author for a little while now. My first novel, Time to Say Goodbye, was released in early 2016. As book number three – Stand By Me – hits the shelves, I’m busy writing my fourth.
So what does a typical day in my life look like? Is it as I imagined it would be?
Well, in some ways, yes it is; in others, not so much.
For a start, there is no typical day, which is kind of what I was hoping for. It all depends on the time of year and what I’m stage I’m at with the current book. I might be writing. I might be editing. I might be promoting. I might even be partying, but probably not – and almost certainly not in the company of any celebrities.
I definitely don’t shave as often as I used to and I don’t always get dressed before I start writing. However, I’m not a big fan of answering the door to the postman in my dressing gown, so I am usually presentable by 10 a.m.
There’s not as much loud music as I imagined. I often listen to quiet instrumental music as I write, but anything else is too distracting.
Today I was up early to take the car to the garage for a repair. I enjoyed the half-hour walk home in crisp winter sunshine, thinking about plot and characters. Then I sat down and wrote 1,500 words of book four, breaking for lunch – coffee and a cheese roll – and again to go and pick up the car.
There was a little tweeting and so on too, of course. It’s important to keep on top of your social media.
Next I cooked tea (spaghetti carbonara) for my wife and daughter, who’d been out at work and school respectively. We ate at the kitchen table, as usual, and caught up on each other’s days.
And that brings me to now, back behind my computer, writing this. Once I’m done, I plan to watch some TV and do some reading before bed.
Tomorrow? We’ll see. As long as I get at least another 1,500 words of book four written, I’ll be happy.
Being an author involves more work than I imagined, especially when you’re writing a book a year (although plenty of writers do more, so I can’t grumble). You need to be very self-motivated and it does at times feel like being back at school, always having homework to do.
However, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I can’t imagine a better job. And one of the best things of all is that I never dread Mondays any more.
*Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his job as a local newspaper editor to pursue a lifelong ambition of becoming an author and to spend more time with his wife and daughter. His third novel, Stand By Me (Avon, £7.99), is a heartwarming story about the power of friendship. It is published on 11 January 2018.