Guest Post: Living the Dream by Fionnuala Kearney



In a recent ‘YouGov’ survey taken where people were asked what their dream job would be, 60% of the 15,000 polled answered ‘writer,’ with the least desired job being that of a miner.

I know I’m living my dream and wouldn’t swap this life for the world, now that I’ve had a real taste of it, BUT here are a few associated factors that, if I could, I’d probably change.


When I write, I think into a keyboard. It really works for me, but there are some IT challenging moments when I wish I wrote with a pen and paper. I can’t do it. I’ve tried. For me, it completely kills the creative process as I’m constantly noticing my horrid hand-writing and how it’s getting worse with each page and ouch – my hand hurts.

Which means I am reliant on everything computer related working. At least once a week, my Luddite knowledge catches me up when something in the process doesn’t behave. Documents aren’t where they should be. Files can double or halve when the ‘Word’ fairies hit. I can be seen shaking fists and swearing and changing ink cartridges that are still full and…You get the picture.

Number Two – WRITER’S BUTT

As soon as I start to write, I think I’m hungry. It seems to be a bit like Pavlov’s dog. My fingertips begin to work the keys and I begin to salivate. I spend the next hour telling myself I’m not hungry and the following hour telling myself that I am, until I finally give in to ‘writer’s snacks’. Crisps are my favourite. I can hoover a bag in seconds. I can even convince myself that if I fold the empty bag up really, really small and tuck it in the end of the bin – that I never ate them. It just didn’t happen. What bag of crisps? Do you see any crisps around here? As you were…

I love crisps. Crisps are evil. Crisps help lead to writer’s butt. I find when I’m in first draft mode and rarely leave the computer, I can gain about seven pounds from crisps I don’t eat.

Number Three – OCD

Yes, writer’s OCD… It’s not the type that involves a cloth and cleaning products, or counting out routes obsessively – it’s the behaviour that requires us to be on Amazon and Goodreads at least twenty times a day. Not. A. Good. Idea.


Supposed to be writer’s tools and if used sensibly, they are. They are a fabulous way to keep in touch with other writers, readers and bloggers. But, if used as procrastination devices, they’re almost up there with crisps. Just less messy. I wish my computer only allowed me access, for say one specific hour, every day. Alas, I’m not quite that disciplined when left to my own devices. I think I need parental control buttons.

Number Five – FRIED BRAIN

No, it’s not a foodie delicacy. It’s how I describe how I feel when I’ve had a day living in imaginary people’s heads and I can’t shake them off. Sometimes it’s my characters eating my dinner and having a glass of wine with my husband. They’re making me wonder what to do next. What to do about a particular problem they have. They’re irate when I ignore them and it really does lead to overload and melt down. Fried brain is most common in first draft mode.

Despite these slightly tongue in cheek facets of the job, I’m a very happy writer. I’m a very happy, crisp-munching, shaky-fist writer and can’t imagine ever doing anything else for a living. Long may it continue until I am old and grey. Oh, alright, I’m already a little bit old and a lot grey, but long may this Living the Dream continue anyway!

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A huge thank you to Fionnuala and Jaime at Harper Collins. 

Fionnuala Kearney | Website | Twitter | Goodreads |


One thought on “Guest Post: Living the Dream by Fionnuala Kearney

  1. Hello Fi – You can download Freedom (if on a Mac) and only allow yourself one or two hours on line each day – but I’ve never been quite able to manage that.

    Totally agree about writing in longhand. One page down and I would have so any scribbles and crossings out that I wouldn’t be able to read a thing – total failure, except by computer.


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