animals / events / life stuff / writing

Deadlines Rule

The puppy’s name is Bessie and she’s one of my many excuses, even though she’s not even mine and only comes to visit occasionally. It shames me to admit, but so far this year I’ve written only a few thousand words. I’m full of ideas, but struggling to get into an evening writing routine. I’ve blamed Bessie for being so distracting and I’ve whinged about the pressure of a full-time teaching job. And to be fair, I’ve been unwell, first with a sickness bug, and then with a sore throat/headache type virus. But I have also suffered from a general lack of energy and motivation and  I think part of the problem is the lack of a deadline. I’m the only one who cares if I finish a chapter, or don’t…

The sequel to my first novel The Mixed Up Summer, The Awkward Autumn of Lily McLean, comes out on the 16th March and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on the edits, but they’re done now, and nobody’s breathing down my neck asking me to produce another novel … or else.

If I want to get a book finished, I think I  need to invent a deadline and pretend to myself that if my latest novel isn’t finished by a week on Tuesday, terrible things will happen. It would be lovely to hear from anyone with a better idea!


My book launch is on the 29th of March at Waterstone’s in Braehead. If you can make it, do come along!

Meanwhile, the job that pays the mortgage keeps me so busy that I don’t feel I’m sitting round twiddling my thumbs. So far this term we’ve built a castle and grown a massive beanstalk in the classroom and we’re now working on the Gingerbread Cottage.

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The pupils in my class are enthusiastic writers and are full of amazing ideas. They’d like the castle to have a swimming pool with a diving board, but for the sake of historical accuracy I’ve suggested a moat and drawbridge could be used for the same purposes.

I love teaching and I think being able to listen to children talk on a daily basis is really helpful for an author, so I won’t be giving up my day job any time soon. But I’m determined that by the time the Easter holidays come round, I’ll have knuckled down to writing every night without fail. As Stephen King said in ‘On Writing’

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”



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