Leaving My Job
This time last year I began life as a full-time author, having handed in my police warrant card for destruction in Essex police headquarters the day before. It was a nerve-wracking but exciting moment, and although I miss my old colleagues, it’s a decision I have not regretted for a single second. I was going to write a long post about what it’s been like and how much my life has changed but have decided that can come later. Today I want to share something very personal with you.
I’ve kept diaries all my life. In my youth I’d keep them under lock and key, sometimes writing in code that even I could not decipher later. My current diary focuses mainly on writing and is a great place to vent my frustrations and share my highs. I’ve decided (at the risk of great embarrassment) to share some of these entries with you. I hope that it will inspire those still fighting the good fight.
The above picture is me after my passing out parade in the police, top right is when I was studying for my exams in police college and bottom right is a diary extract from my latter years in the police. It became part of my goal setting, planning my writing around my job. RD means rest days. Each day I worked I planned just how much I could write. It was a relentless work ethic that I kept up for several years, driven by the need to achieve my goals.
I spent nine years in the police before leaving my job to write full time. During those years I was a bobby on the beat, a schools officer and a neighbourhood policing officer. I passed my exams and became a police detective, spending time as a burglary and robbery investigative officer, a sexual offences trained officer, an acting detective sergeant, and a domestic abuse safeguarding officer on the high-risk domestic abuse team. Just a few of the roles I played over the years. They all brought their challenges and I look back at those times with fond memories. But it’s a tough lifestyle and does not merge easily with family life. Sixteen-hour shifts and harrowing cases took their toll. I missed my kids and I desperately wanted to work from home. Then I was stationed in Chelmsford, a long commute from my home. I’d get up at 5.30am to go to work and would not be home until 5.30pm – and that was not counting overtime or the numerous times I got off late, missed my train and had to wait an hour for the next one to come. I tell you this so you can understand just how emotional I felt when it came to the big day.
Here are just a few of the diary entries I wrote in the lead up to leaving my job. There are lots of exclamation marks, some self-doubt but mainly an overwhelming sense of gratitude as you will see.
What the!! I could be giving in my notice by March. Or maybe even January. WOW. Tears fill my eyes as the reality hits me. Thank you, universe. 🙂
It’s amazing just how much my writing has slowed down. But at least this time I recognise what’s wrong. I’m totally stuck, the words won’t come and when they do they seem like crap. I take comfort in the fact I’ve been here before, totally tortured, even to the point of giving up. I know I’ll come through. I just have to keep writing and rewriting until it improves.
I’m knackered and I doubt I’ll be leaving my job so soon. Ah well, we’ll see. Keep ploughing away and it will come.
Anyway back to my book. 🙂
Yah!! Got my royalties! I sold over 25 thousand books in just 12 weeks! So pleased with this. My dream of leaving my job is now a reality. I’m giving my notice in March 2016!!
The last few days have been SURREAL!! I can hardly believe it, I haven’t come down from the ceiling. I’ve been signed by the amazing Madelene Milburn. I had three agents interested!!
It’s just gone 11pm and I don’t want to go to sleep because if I do it means I have to get up for work. As much as I like my work colleagues, I do NOT want to go to work tomorrow. Getting up at such a stupid hour in the dark and freezing cold is so hard sometimes. I did enjoy being in uniform and going to jobs, but it was dangerous and I was often on my own. I enjoy CID but the hours are not family friendly and I’m tired all the time.
When I leave work I’m going to be so LUCKY and I don’t ever want to forget that. No moaning or complaining. Enjoy every second. One day soon I will look back at this and smile because I don’t have to go back there again.
Writing can be torturous!! I’m agonising over this book, the same as I agonised over book two. The ending is cracking me up. I think it’s fear driven, as I’m scared nobody will like it because it’s different to the other two. What if it flops? What if nobody wants to read my books?
OK get a grip. I need to crack on with these edits. Please God let The Silent Twin work out!!
Just to interject, I wish I could have told myself back then that The Silent Twin would become one of my best-selling books to date.
I’m sitting on a train. And I’m thinking how lucky I am. There are numerous posts in this diary about me sitting on the train, missing the kids and wishing I didn’t have to go to work. I must never forget just how lucky I am. I’m going to be a full time author. It is my perfect job.
Today I’m met my lovely author friend Angie and her partner for lunch in Covent Garden, then our editor joined us for tea and cake. Perfect. 🙂
OMG today is the day. I’ve emailed HR and asked if they can send me the form to give in my notice!!!
Wow. I went back to work yesterday to hand in my warrant card and it felt so weird. It was like that weird dream I kept having, the ‘Hotel California’ one where I tried to get out but I could never leave! I wanted to take pictures, to remind myself just how bloody lucky I was, being able to make my dreams come true. I walked back to my train in a daze with the biggest smile on my face. Two young Jehovah witnesses stopped me to ask why I was so happy. I think they were probably sorry they asked as I just blabbered on for five minutes about how thrilled I was to be a free woman! Then I said I had to dash as I needed to catch my train! I still can’t believe it. I’m so grateful right now. *Welling up.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my diary entries. I use ‘day one classic’ and it can be downloaded from the app store. I highly recommend keeping one. It’s heartwarming to look back and see how far you’ve come. You can see the original post on leaving my job which I wrote a year ago here. Comments, shares and likes are welcome. Thanks for stopping by.