Friday, 6 March 2009

My Other Job

I’ve a confession to make – I’m moonlighting. Not content with working 25 hours a week for LawCare, I have been putting in some hours late at night on my second career as a writer. My third novel was published last November, my fourth is currently being evaluated by my publishers, and I am halfway through writing my fifth. I also recently had contributions published in two anthologies.

Much as I love working for LawCare (and you know that I do, because I have said as much here – try to keep up) I have wanted to be an “authoress” ever since my mother had told me that’s what lady writers are called. My life’s ambition was to get a novel published, and in 2000 I did. (This left me in need of a new life’s ambition, and I selected “Finish painting the bedroom”. As yet I have not achieved this.)

A recent article in the Law Society Gazette by fellow author Neil Rose so accurately described the dififculties faced by would-be authors that I felt moved to write a letter to the editor of the Gazette to say "Hear, hear". Essentially, the problem is that one is never enough, and it is just as difficult to get that fourth novel accepted as it is the first. I thought writing one book would be enough, but then I found I yearned to write another. So I did. And then other ideas for novels came along, so I wrote those too. I had always assumed that if you have had one book published, or even two, as I had, then you could pretty much write anything and “they” would publish it. Not so – my next three efforts were all rejected, leaving me feeling a bit of a fraud as a writer. My first two books are out of print, but if you scour EBay and Amazon for long enough you might find one.

The article also very succinctly mentioned a further isuse. If, like me, getting a novel published has been your life's ambition for a long time, there is an inevitable disappointment when you discover that actually it isn't "magical and life changing" (to quote the article). "It very quickly just becomes something you did." I do not command adulation in the streets, and have come to terms with the knowledge that while I am an "authoress", my real job is being LawCare's administrator. Whilst I do get some royalties from my writing, it's never going to be enough to pay the mortgage.

I still want to be an Authoress when I grow up, but in the meantime I am perfectly content helping lawyers to find their dream careers and realise all their ambitions.

LawCare’s free and confidential helpline is available 9-7.30 Monday-Friday, 10-4 weekends, on:
0800 279 6888 (Solicitors, Law Students and Legal Executives in England and Wales)
0800 279 6869 (Solicitors, Advocates and Law Students in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man)
0800 018 4299 (Barristers, Barristers Clerks and Judges in England and Wales)
1800 991801 (Solicitors in the Republic of Ireland.

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