A writer’s dream: giving up the day job

May 13, 2011, 23 Comments

Friday 13th. Not always a date that is appreciated by everyone but this particular Friday 13th is one I’ll remember for a while. Today is my last day as a bookseller. That’s right, I’m giving up the day job! As of next week I am officially a full-time writer, a job description that fills me with trepidation, but also excitement given that I have two more books in the pipeline. This is what most writers dream of, isn’t it? Fingers crossed that Friday 13th is a lucky day for me.

Working in the English Bookshop in Bern has been a wonderful experience for me, and not just because I was able to speak English half of my working life. As a newcomer to Switzerland it was great to find any job at all, let alone one that I enjoyed and could do. And one that helped me realise that there was a book missing on the shelves – the book I ended up writing.
Once Swiss Watching was published last June, it has been quite a treat to be able to sell my own book to (often unwitting) customers. How many other authors get that chance? It’s led to people coming into the shop to ask for a signature or to say hello, and more than a few good contacts for me. Sadly, I’ve also been shouted at and abused by a teeny tiny minority; being easy to find sometimes has its drawbacks.

Now it’s time to move on. No sitting back and taking it easy. The German translation of Swiss Watching is coming in Spring 2012, so I’m off to Munich soon to meet the editors at Piper Malik Verlag, who have the difficult task of translating English humour into German text. I’m glad that I’m not the one having to do the actual work; I can just get very excited about the book coming out in a version that 65% of the Swiss population will be able to read – as well as all those Germans and Austrians, and a few thousand Liechtensteiners.

Then I’m off to California for a break; ok, so maybe a little time to sit back and take it easy! Although I do have one unexpected pleasure in Los Angeles. Thanks to the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, on June 23rd I’ll be speaking about all things Swiss at a dinner in the Beverly Hills Hotel. How fab is that! If you’re reading this in LA, then maybe I’ll see you there?

And come August, the new day job starts in earnest. Sitting down every day to research and write a new book. My deadline is already only 232 days away and by August it will be even closer, but having a signed contract is the biggest impetus any writer needs. I can’t say much at the moment, but can tell you the next book will be very different from this one, though also about Switzerland. A treasure-trove of Swissness that will be published next year. As for Book Three, well that’s also underway as it’s a longer term project. Plenty to keep me busy now that I’m off the shop floor.

So thank you Stauffacher English Bookshop and all its customers; what a great five years it has been. Now I’m on my own. Brave? Thrilling? Premature? Foolish? Daunting? I’m not sure how I really feel about my decision. One thing’s certain: there’s no chance of my life being boring in the immediate future. And I’ll keep you posted.

23 Comments on "A writer’s dream: giving up the day job"

  1. Andaleeb Lilley Friday May 13th, 2011 at 08:26 AM · Reply

    Good luck with the writing – sounds like a very exciting thrilling step! Enjoying your blog posts – when are you going to do one on Zug? 😉

  2. berlinoise Friday May 13th, 2011 at 08:35 AM · Reply

    Hi Diccon, Congratulations! That’s excellent news, I’m actually quite jealous. If the next two are are good as Swiss Watching, I’m sure you’ll be really successful. All the best, Liz

  3. David Friday May 13th, 2011 at 08:45 AM · Reply

    I’m sure we all wish you all the best!
    What next, Califiornia watching?

    • M:) Friday May 13th, 2011 at 06:18 PM · Reply

      David – that’s brilliant… “California-Swiss Watching” – how the Swiss Abroad mix their multicultural heritage with that of their adopted Home… If you thought Swiss people were quirky in Switzerland – wait until you’ve seen “us” outside!

      Looking forward to having you here, Diccon – we’ll have a blast!

      Michael Gaedeke

  4. Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels Friday May 13th, 2011 at 09:00 AM · Reply

    That is fantastic Diccon! So the summer looks incredibly promising and exciting! Best of luck!

    You will keep the blog going though, won’t you?

    • swisswatching Friday May 13th, 2011 at 09:28 AM · Reply

      Of course the blog will continue! It will also have a holiday in June-July but will back as soon as I am

  5. Gabriela Ordoñez Friday May 13th, 2011 at 10:18 AM · Reply

    Congratulations and best of luck in this new step!!!! 😀 I am looking forward for the next books!!!! 😀

  6. Deepinder Friday May 13th, 2011 at 12:58 PM · Reply

    Hi Diccon, Congratulations on your magnificent success for the book “swiss watching”. I live in Zurich, Switzerland and your book has emphatically helped me to understand what lies in and outside the Swiss cocoon…
    Awe-inspiring and a Par-excellence writer like you i too have started exploring and writing tit-bits about switzerland in my blog, though no where even close to you.. Nevertheless i wish you loads of success for your coming projects.. 🙂

  7. Kate Friday May 13th, 2011 at 08:15 PM · Reply

    dear diccon
    it was always lovely working with you in the bookshop
    i wish you all the best


  8. Cécile Saturday May 14th, 2011 at 12:12 AM · Reply

    All the best for your future life as a full time writer. How exciting!
    Looking forward to reading the next 2 books!

  9. Janie Saturday May 14th, 2011 at 03:12 AM · Reply

    Congratulations!! I am looking forward to that next book. I am glad you are going to continue the blog. I enjoy it so much. It is one of the three blogs that I read. Yours is the best!
    I guess you will continue to live in Switzerland since your next book is about Switzerland.
    Enjoy your visit in California. I live on the Atlantic Ocean side of the States so will not be able to see you. 🙁
    Have fun!!

  10. Rebecca Saturday May 14th, 2011 at 04:53 AM · Reply

    Congratulations Diccon, that is fantastic news. Wishing you all the best, and I already look forward to reading your books! I’m relieved to hear that you are continuing the blog, it is one of my favourites.

  11. swisswatching Saturday May 14th, 2011 at 07:45 AM · Reply

    Thanks for all the good wishes.

    Once I’m back from the States, it’ll be a very busy (& rewarding) time but I’ll always still make time for writing this blog. I love doing that! And fear not – I won’t suddenly becomed obsessed with the minute details of what is going on outside my study window. I’ll still be out & about in Switzerland: all in the name of research, of course, but maybe you’ll enjoy coming along for the ride.

  12. jsurycz Saturday May 14th, 2011 at 07:13 PM · Reply

    How exciting! I am half way through ‘Swiss Watching’ and am really enjoying it. My husband and I moved to Geneva 2 months ago. We have guests staying with us this weekend and, during a drive this afternoon, they asked about the Swiss political system. I cleared my throat and launched into a detailed explanation. Everyone thought I was so clever, but actually, I read it all in ‘Swiss Watching’ this morning.

  13. Dave Patterson Saturday May 14th, 2011 at 08:54 PM · Reply

    Well done. Enjoy your next chapter and please know you have positively touched many lives. Wonderful!

  14. aegeanx Sunday May 15th, 2011 at 07:12 AM · Reply


    Best of luck in your new full-time job (Adventure?) 😀
    I look forward to reading the next books.

    I’m very sorry that you’ve been shouted at and abused.
    Just remember all of your readers who enjoy so much both the blog and
    your first book.

    All the best in this new adventure. May it be filled with success!

    Best regards from Mexico City,


  15. John Zimmer Monday May 16th, 2011 at 08:45 AM · Reply

    Great stuff, Diccon. Best of luck with it. I have no doubt that you will meet with success. All of us fellow expats in Switzerland are right behind you.


  16. Rahel Monday May 16th, 2011 at 01:33 PM · Reply

    Congratulation Diccon- a brave step! I am already curious abou your next book!

  17. Beverly Tuesday May 24th, 2011 at 06:54 AM · Reply

    Thank you for your wonderful book, which I enjoyed very much! I am the daughter of a Swiss mother, born and raised in Los Angeles. Though I’ve visited relatives in Switzerland many times and speak Swiss-German, there have always been aspects about Swiss culture that remained a mystery to me. Your book was a revelation — I learned so much and had many “Aha!” moments. I especially loved the Swiss Watching tips at the end of each chapter. I hope to move permanently to Bern sometime this summer. Although I missed the chance to meet you at the bookshop there, perhaps I’ll get to meet you at the dinner in Beverly Hills in June!

    Best of luck to you in all your endeavors, Diccon!

  18. Desiree Friday May 27th, 2011 at 12:56 PM · Reply

    Hello from New Zealand. I recently read your book Swiss Watching, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I spent my teenage years in Bern, and the book gave me good memories, and also some “Oh, really? I didn’t know that!” moments. I look forward to the next book. Good luck with your new venture.

  19. ruth tamir Saturday May 28th, 2011 at 07:36 PM · Reply

    I am loving your book and not surprised you are now becoming a full time writer. We always had holidays in Switzerland and just under five years ago our dream came true when we bought an apartment in the mountains.

    We love coming here and I enjoy reading about the Swiss and trying to feel connected to society.

    Good luck


  20. Mike Pitassi Monday June 6th, 2011 at 11:23 PM · Reply

    I very much enjoyed your book. My wife and I will be visiting Switzerland for the second time next month. I’ve definitely fallen in love with the country and would love to one day live there, though the little research I’ve done proves that that is a feat easier said than done! We have friends who live in Olten, and they provide us with lots of valuable inside information; but your book presented things from an outside English speaker’s perspective, which helped a lot. By the way, I live near L.A. currently. I hope you enjoy your trip to good ol’ Southern California! 🙂

  21. Jeanine Monday September 12th, 2011 at 08:59 PM · Reply

    Wow, congratulations!
    i’ve just read your book the second time since i bought it! it’s just great, i love your sense of humor! made me laugh out loud on the train a few times! 😀 looking forward to ur new book!

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