Today I’m lifting the lid on the best things about being a writer. Well, the best things from my perspective, anyway πŸ˜‰ If you’ve ever dreamed about being a writer you probably have a few ideas about the benefits you’d enjoy. Read on – you might be surprised …

#1 – Fan mail. Oh yes, this jumps right in there at number one – there is nothing quite so lovely as receiving an email or message from a reader who loved one of your books. I hear from readers quite a lot, partly because I make an effort to encourage it, and it’s always such an incredible buzz. These days authors need to be accessible in lots of different ways – email, Twitter, Facebook – so that readers can engage with them in the way that suits the reader best. I always answer messages from readers, and fellow writers of course.

#2 – Revenge. Come on, you’ve never thought about this? The number of people I’ve put in my books so I can carry out some kind of revenge must be in double figures by now. Even though the people who’ve offended or hurt you in some way will probably never know (usually they’re far too obtuse to care anyway), it’s still hugely satisfying to cast someone from your past as an unsavory character, or to kill off a person who wronged you – in your imagination, of course. Not in real life.

#3 – Stationery. Yes, one of the big loves of my life – stationery. I love all of it: notepads, folders, paper, envelopes, paperclips, post-its, those see-through plastic wallets you put in folders. I could spend hours in stationery stores, and becoming a writer finally gave me a good excuse to buy tons of the stuff. (My first job – hairdresser – had to go because it just wasn’t stationery-related enough.)

#4 – Sitting. I am very, very lazy. I can be incredibly industrious, but I can also be astonishingly lazy, expecting other people to wait on me hand and foot, and if I had the choice I would just sit for hours in a comfy chair. And oh! I do have the choice. I’m a writer.

#5 – Working in your PJs. To be honest, I don’t actually work in my PJs – I do tend to get dressed for the school run in the morning. But the point is, I could if I wanted to. Working from home is so wonderful because it really doesn’t matter what you look like. Unless I’m doing a Skype call, I can literally chuck on any old thing and not worry about make-up. Bliss!

I'm currently painting my summerhouse to make a little outdoor office for myself.
I’m currently doing up my summerhouse to make a little outdoor office for myself.

#6 – No colleagues. Linked to the above point, not having to go to a place of work means no colleagues. More bliss! I wouldn’t call myself anti-social (although I am), but I really dislike enforced social contact. And working in most non-home environments calls for chatting and interacting with people you might not feel like interacting with just then. I don’t have to do any of that. It’s wonderful. Does it get lonely? Well, I live in the middle of nowhere so occasionally I do go a bit stir crazy and go out to the big town. Or meet a friend for coffee. But not often.

#7 – Books! I love to be surrounded by books, and have always had a house full of bookcases and shelves. And there really are few things better than holding your own books in your hands. That’s why I’ll always endeavour to have print versions of my books. It’s not really for readers who don’t own Kindles – it’s for me.

A 'shelfie' I took for World Book Day - one of my book shelves with some old favourites.
A ‘shelfie’ I took for World Book Day – one of my book cases with some old favourites.

#8 – Being bossy. Basically, when I’m writing I’m in charge. My characters have to do exactly what I want them to do – it’s such a buzz being in control of the whole world, even if it is just the world of the novel. They are my creations, out of my imagination, and the natural control freak in me just loves being in charge.

#9 – Other writers. An amazing thing happens when you connect with people through your writing – you discover that other writers are lovely too. There is an amazingly supportive community out there (in the main – there are always people who take, take, take without giving, of course, but I try to ignore them), and I count a number of fellow authors among my close friends now. I even meet a couple of them on a regular basis, which considering point #6 proves I really do like them.

With my great friend Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn and Debbie Young. But why do I have balloons coming out of my head?
With my great friend Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn (centre) and the incredibly supportive Debbie Young. But why do I have balloons coming out of my head?

#10 – An active mind. I could have had lots of things for my last in the list – I haven’t mentioned freedom or money, for instance – but I couldn’t finish up without mentioning the wonderful benefits of using your mind in a creative way. As people get older they often take to crosswords or puzzles to keep their minds active. Writing uses your brain in lots of different ways, and older writers tend to be more engaged, more inquisitive, and actually brighter than their non-writing counterparts. So there’s another great reason to take up writing if you don’t already. It’ll help you stay younger.

Feel free to add to my list! What are your best things about being a writer?