For those of you who don’t know, about a year ago I gave up a job I was really enjoying to concentrate on writing and in October this year published my first book. I didn’t leave work thinking I would make loads of money, I am neither a J K Rowling or an E L James, I just really enjoy writing, I’d got my teeth into a story and wanted to concentrate on that for a while. I have a wonderful other half who is really supportive of my many, many mad ideas and we agreed I could take a couple of years out to fulfil a life time’s ambition and write a book. As it happens, I actually wrote two, one already published and one due out in January and had a story published in an anthology too, so all in all I am feeling pretty pleased with myself.
However, along with all the fun of writing, come the boring bits too. For example I really dislike the very, very necessary process of editing, going over and over and over the story with a fine tooth comb trying to find all the mistakes I made in my rush to get my ideas down on the paper. I’m not overly keen on the publicity stuff either, it means I have to tell other people how clever I am, and they might figure out I’m wrong, but the thing I have really been dreading and, quite frankly, putting off, is telling the tax people about my status as a writer. After al,l the average author earns around £500 per book so I’m hardly going to heal the economy am I? But today I bit the bullet, I called the tax office. I even had my NI number ready and everything. I explained, in that rather embarrassed way the British have, that I was not earning any other income, I wasn’t claiming any benefits but I was writing and publishing and therefore, theoretically, I might actually earn some money which they might want to tax. The lady on the other end was lovely, she didn’t laugh at my garbled explanation of my situation or the deluded manner in which I choose to earn my living, she simply told me they didn’t need to know about my earnings until they reached £2.5k, a situation which, I assured her, is a long way off. Phew!
What has this all taught me? Well sometimes the fear of doing something is actually worse than the reality, but, to be honest, I already knew that. I hope this will make me a little less likely to put off dealing with official things in future, although I know myself well enough to admit it probably won’t, but one thing I did learn, and thought I had better share, the Tax Office are nice!
Well I never!