Writing to deadlines (aka waking in the middle of the night)


Writing my debut novel, The Sister, was a joy. Even now I remember waking up in the middle of the night, stomach churning with excitement as I thought of a new plot twist. Each day, after work, I couldn’t wait to open my manuscript and get stuck in. I dreamed of being published of course, but never really thought it would happen to me.  I was writing for fun. For me. With no time pressures and no deadlines.

My second psychological thriller, The Gift, is now available to pre-order, and this time I’m writing knowing it will be published as I was lucky enough to sign a three-book deal earlier this year. I’m still waking in the middle of the night, stomach churning, but this time with nerves. Will it The Gift as successful as The Sister? What if readers hate it? Will I finish the edits on time? My deadline is the first thing I think of when I fall into bed and it pops into my mind as soon as I wake.

Naively, I never really thought of publishing as a business, more a collaboration of creative people who share a love of books, and the structure is something I am still getting used to.

Once I sit at my desk however, I lose myself completely in my manuscript, and all my fears evaporate. When I’m writing, nothing else matters and I feel utterly at peace. Writing brings a sense of home, wherever I am.



Written for Streams of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill. Write the first thing that comes to mind following the prompt and post – no editing allowed. The prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “bus.” Use it as it is, or find a word with the letters “bus” in it. 

There’s always tomorrow



Success. Finally. I can virtually taste it. If it was a tangible thing I could grasp I would press it
against my pounding heart of joy. This moment is the one I’ve been waiting for, striving for and now it’s here. I’m close, so close.

I hold my breath, something’s wrong. Euphoria is washed away by tears of frustration. I shrug off my cloak of failure, take this feeling and stack it neatly with my pile of nearlys, virtuallys and just abouts. My wall of possibilities grows higher and higher.

It almost worked, almost.

There’s always tomorrow.

The Streams of Consciousness prompt today was ‘almost.’ I immediately thought of Thomas Edison’s inspiring quote ‘I haven’t failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.’ He never gave up trying to invent the lightbulb. Never give up on your dreams.

Go, while you can

I want to travel the world,

I want to live by the sea,

In another place, I would become,

The person I was meant to be.

I want to go far away,

I want to leave that boy,

The one who broke my heart,

The one who stamped on my joy.

I unfurl my battered map,

Smooth creases with my hand,

Now where should I go?

Where is the promised land?

I squint through blackened eyes,

I dream of sand and sun,

I jump when the front door bangs,

I tremble when I see his gun.

I’ve never travelled far,

And now I never will,

A bang, a scream, a pain,

And then everything is still.

Written for Streams of Consciousness Saturday. Write the first thing that comes to mind following a prompt and post. No editing allowed. This weeks prompt is go.