WMW Introduces Sara-Jayne Townsend

Sara-Jayne Townsend, a UK-based writer of crime and horror.  Her first novel, SUFFER THE CHILDREN, was published as an e-book by Lyrical Press, Inc. in 2010.

Her next book, DEATH SCENE, is the first in a series about amateur sleuth and Canadian actress Shara Summers, and will be released as an e-book by Lyrical Press, Inc. later this year.

A Writer With a Day Job

When I was in school, every time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say, “a writer”.  The person would generally frown at that and say, “you can’t make a living doing that.  You’ll need a proper job.”  But I couldn’t think of another answer, because I never wanted to be anything but a writer.

When I left school, however, I discovered that the grown-ups were right and I couldn’t make any money being a writer.  Somehow I found myself an admin worker, and from there I fell into secretarial work (completely by accident – but I can type fast and accurately, I can write a grammatically perfect letter and I’m supremely organised, so to my surprise I found this sort of work suited me).  For years I was a serial job-hopper, drifting around from place to place searching for something I could do that might require even an inkling of creativity.  I started to think that I must look good on paper but didn’t interview well, because whenever I was job-hunting I got plenty of interviews but then failed to get the job.

In retrospect, I do have some understanding now of where I was going wrong.  I always had “writing” listed in the “hobbies and interests” section of my CV.  During the interview, I would eventually be asked about the writing.  “If you wrote a best-selling novel, would you stop work to write full time?” the interviewer would invariably ask.

“Well of course,” I would say – because I have a penchant for being honest.  Naturally I did not get the job.  What I didn’t understand then is that most of the people who were interviewing me for that secretarial or admin post had absolutely no understanding of how only a tiny percentage of writers make a living with the writing, and therefore formed the assumption that I’d only be working for them a couple of months before I’d be offered a multi-million pound advance and quit, so what was the point of offering me the job?

Once I accepted that the day job and the writing had to remain mutually exclusive, I stopped changing jobs every six months, and I’ve been in my current post for over five years now.  But I don’t see myself as a secretary who likes to write, which is probably how most of my colleagues perceive me.  I see myself as a writer with a day job.  I don’t consider writing to be a hobby – it’s more a calling.  I think most writers would agree with me.  However, until I’m earning enough to be able to do it full time – something which seems a long, long, way in the future – I need to accept that the day job is a necessary evil.  It gets hard sometimes to juggle the writing with the day job, but both are essential parts of my life and giving up either is not an option.  So a writer with a day job I must remain, for the foreseeable future.

Thank you for taking the time to share your post with us Sara.  I'm sure that a lot of us can relate to your story (I know I can).  We wish you the best success with your already published e-book as well as the one slated to come out later this year.

You can learn more about Sara and her writing on her website at http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com or her blog at http://sayssara.wordpress.com.  For more information on her book SUFFER THE CHILDREN, click here.
If you are interested in contributing a post for a future Welcome Mat Wednesday, please click here.  I look forward to hearing to hearing from you.


  1. Thanks for sharing that story, Sara! I'm a SAHM, but I can still relate. :)

  2. I agree completely. I fell into accounting administration, but my love is my writing and graphic design. I don't want to sacrifice either in order to remain employed, and no matter how many times my coworkers refer to me as "an accountant" - I do some tax prep, but only the basics - I always, invariably, correct them. I'm a writer first. A graphic designer close second.


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