Quick, they’re after us!

I’m at that bit of the first draft.

The bit that I find the hardest.

That part from The Middle to The Beginning Of The End. (The End I usually have in mind from the opening page, so I’m generally OK by then.)

The initial flurry of getting the ideas down and enjoying all that lovely setting up has passed and now it’s the hard slog of making it all pay. It is The Grind. And it’s this part where I tend to think all those creeping negative thoughts along the lines of ‘This is rubbish. Why am I bothering? Who’s going to read this? Who am I kidding? I should give up and breed goldfish’. You know how it is.

Apparently, as my husband laughingly told me on our walk this morning, this happens every time I write something. Only I forget.

I like to remember the ‘I’m in the flow’, and the ‘I’ve finished’ moments, rather than that middling, struggling, hard won series of moments in between. Funny, that. But I guess this selective memory means I keep coming back for more, so it’s probably a good thing in the end.

But, I do often wonder how to get my backside to stay on the chair through those times – you know, to fight to the other side.

Here are some things I try:


Right, finish this chapter and you can sit outside/watch Wimbledon/have a chocolate brioche/take a nap.

Cobweb clearing

Taking the dog for a walk (she’s always happy to help)

Going for a cycle – (so glad we live somewhere flat)

Swimming  (in fact I might use that as a treat this afternoon)


Watching TED talks. Here are a couple of useful places that list some great ones.



or revisiting inspirational books like:

‘Do the Work’ by Stephen Pressfield

‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron

Checking out SCBWI Words and Pictures and their blog break.

Having a nose to see what some of my favourite authors are up to on their pages.

Reading something – at the moment I’m devouring Linda Newbery books.

I also wonder if Douglas Adams was onto something when he had Lintilla tell Arthur about ‘Crisis psychology. The benefits of working under extreme pressure.’ And something called the Crisis Inducer. Let’s face it, Douglas Adams usually was onto something:

Lintilla                      It’s a crisis inducer. Set it to mark nine, and…

FX                            Little alarm bells start up

Lintilla                      Hurry, they’re after us!

Arthur                      Who?

Lintilla                      No-one! Come on! Through the tunnel, they’re coming!

Arthur                       But –

Lintilla                      They’re coming.

Arthur                       Well, if you say so.

Having that feeling of impending crisis can work wonders. How many times have I managed my word count in the last remaining half hour before school pick up?!

However, I don’t even need this at the moment, as I have something else.

I call it The Motivator. And it is six years old.

This time I decided to read the WIP to The Motivator as I have been writing it.

Chapter by Chapter. And now, he’s invested. He’s hungry. And he does not take feeble excuses. The other day I mumbled something about not having any words to show him because it was a thinking day. There was a long pause. Then ‘OK, but tomorrow is a writing day.’

His parting words this morning were ‘I’ll miss you Mummy, oh and make sure you write something.’ Followed by a hard stare.

So I have been told. And this book will get finished. And it will probably be down to him.

So, what do you find the trickiest part? Putting down the first word on that blank page? Losing your way in the middle? Wrestling with an ending?

And how do you get past it?




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