A Message from Middle Earth/Looking for Freelance Work

I’m Amanda, a self-motivated wordsmith hailing from the realm of Middle-Earth. (Well, I live in Manchester in the UK, but I’m originally from Yorkshire, which almost sounds like The Shire, right?) With a fiery passion for crafting enchanting tales, I have embarked on many a quest to weave captivating content. My illustrious chronicles bear witness to the realms of marketing, media, and publishing, where I have triumphed in delivering only the finest of compositions.

In my time as a freelance writer, I traversed the vast landscapes of creativity, collaborating with a diverse fellowship of clients, such as Marketing Signals, Influence & Co, and Contentoo, among others. Together, we forged a plethora of literary treasures, spanning the realms of blog posts, articles, website scrolls, and the very runes of social media. (In other words, I wrote content for clients such as Wicked Uncle, Compass Real Estate, PCS Pro, and so many others.) Moreover, I possess the arcane wisdom of a ghostwriter, having studied and gained a certificate for inscribing numerous tomes across genres, as diverse as the races of Middle-Earth.

Behold, for I also wield the power of an astute editor and a vigilant proofreader, endowed with eyes sharper than an elf’s sight. I have another certificate to prove this. My discerning gaze pierces through the veil of errors and inconsistencies, ensuring your content shall be polished to the brilliance of an Elven star.

Should you seek a minstrel (no, not the chocolate) who can breathe life into your brand, verily, I am the chosen one. Yet, do not mistake me for a solitary bard, for I am open to venturing into diverse realms of creation. Require sagas for your e-commerce emporium? I shall pen them with the grandeur of Gondolin. Longing for ballads to resonate within the halls of your scholarly institutions? Fear not, for I shall craft them with the grace of Rivendell. Or perchance, thou desirest lyrical verses for the noble causes of a non-profit? Such a task is but a trifle (no, not the edible kind, but I am getting hungry now), as the quill dances with elven grace in my hands. And let us not overlook the valorous art of copywriting for grand marketing campaigns, wherein my words shall be akin to a shining beacon, guiding customers from realms near and far.

Should you deem my craft worthy of your aspirations, do not hesitate to summon me, or maybe just send a message. I eagerly await our parley, for your writing desires shall be heard and heeded.

As a token of my prowess, here stand the chronicles of my past by-lined accomplishments (ghost-written examples can also be provided on request):

By the light of the Evenstar, I pledge to aid thee in crafting content that shall enthral thy audience and guide thy noble endeavours toward triumph. May the winds of creativity carry my message to thee, and may our destinies intertwine in the realms of storytelling.

(In simpler terms, let me know if you want to work with me.)

Thine servant (or freelance writer), Amanda


Editors Who Treat Writers Like Their Time is Worthless

EDIT: (on 30 August 2022) I have now being given a date the article will be published. I will update again after payment is made.

SECOND EDIT: (25 October 2022) I finally recieved payment today.

So to summarise: I sent the requested edits near the end of May, the article was published at the beginning of September, and I was paid near the end of October.

As writers, most of us have come across editors (and other people) who seem to think a writer’s time is somehow worth less than their own. I’m not talking about the usual rejections and lack of responses, though that can be annoying, but understandable with the amount of submissions they get.

I’m talking about one specific experience which may be the most time I’ve had wasted as a writer. This began with a pitch to The Sun. Yes, not everyone’s favourite newspaper, I know, but a great credit to add to any writing CV, no matter your political views.

I proposed an article about spending a week using the Too Good to Go App, and whether this would result in reducing how much I spent on food. They accepted, and I got to work immediately, and submitted the article a few days before the tight deadline.

If anyone has experience using this app, especially if you don’t have a car, you will know this took a lot of time. It wasn’t just the time spent going to collect the food. I had to plan around days and times I would be passing through certain areas, especially as I work from home and don’t need to travel very often. Then I had to frequently check the app, as the food from these places can be listed at random times and be sold out within minutes.

This was on top of keeping notes on my food haul, taking pictures, the actual writing of the article and editing it. I was excited though and thought this would look great on my CV, possibly helping me get more freelance work, either with The Sun or other publications.

I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks, but sent a short email just asking for confirmation. I get it. They are busy people and have more work to do than just dealing with me. It doesn’t hurt to make sure the editor you’re dealing with has received your work though, and takes them less than a minute to say, “yes we have and we will be in touch”.

The response basically said as much, so I waited. Then at 16:24 on a Friday, one of the two people I had been dealing with got back to me and asked for edits by the end of the weekend. I thought this was a bit short notice, but I didn’t complain. I cancelled my weekend plans and did what she asked. I sent this across on the Sunday afternoon.

Then…… nothing!

Absolutely nothing.

I hate to be one of those writers who pester editors all the time, but I’ve already mentioned this was a lot of work.

So, I waited a few weeks and sent a polite enquiry into whether either of them had received the edits I sent across.

Again, nothing.

A few more weeks later and I emailed them saying I had another pitch, which I did, and asking if I should wait until they got a chance to look at the edits I had sent. I didn’t want to pester them, but hoped this would be a gentle push to at least confirm they received them while answering my question about the new pitch I wanted to send across.

You’ve guessed it. I got no response, other than the out of office response from one of the two women saying she was on holiday. This was fair enough, but I couldn’t help feeling a little annoyed that the other woman didn’t respond in her absence. I waited until she was back and still heard nothing, so I emailed explaining that due to the information (prices, etc) in the article it would soon be outdated and asking them to confirm whether they still wanted the article. I also said if I didn’t hear in a month (as in a simple yes or no, I wasn’t saying they should publish the article by then) I would need to send it somewhere else because of the work I put into it.

The silence was deafening.

I’m now sending the article around, but I’m not holding out much hope. Most publications want a pitch they can help to develop, rather than a fully written article. I was a bit reluctant to write and post this blog because I don’t like to name and shame, and didn’t want legal threats. Although, I have emails from them, and unanswered emails I sent, which are now saved in my email account and these confirm everything I am saying here.

Hopefully, it makes someone out there realise that this is a shitty way to treat people, not just writers, but anyone. Most people are busy, but to have someone do the work, then change your mind and ghost them is never acceptable. I wasn’t even offered a *kill fee or given an apology for wasting my time.

(*For non-writers, a kill fee is when an editor decides not to publish an article they previously agreed to, but pays a smaller fee than agreed to appease the writer for the work they have done, leaving the writer able to publish somewhere else, if they can find someone who wants a pre-written article.)

News: The ALCS Election and My New Writing Book

I have a couple of pieces of news I want to share.

The first is my nomination for the ALCS board.

For those of you who don’t know, ALCS (Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Agency) pays royalties to authors from secondary rights – such as photocopying and library borrowing. I’ve had several payments from them over the past few years, from my books (the written work and the graphics in them). I probably earn more through being a member of ALCS than I do from sales of my books.

So, when the email arrived to put myself forward for election, I thought it would be a great way to give back, and I think it’s important to have new experiences. The idea of attending meetings, and getting to learn and contribute to helping other writers is an exciting challenge for me. I’m not sure I’ll be voted in. I’m competing against over twenty others, all with far more experience than me, but it never hurts to try.

If you would like to vote for me, (you have to be an ALCS member) you can follow the link in the email ALCS have sent out to members. Everyone has a unique code to access the voting page, so there’s no point in me posting the link here.


The second piece of news is my short non-fiction booklet on writing. What Do I Know? answers several questions about writing and publishing, and briefly talks about copywriting and dealing with requests for unpaid sample tests. I’m pleased to be able to share my experiences in writing and publishing, going back to 2014, when I first self-published a book and had no idea what I was doing.

The book doesn’t claim to contain expert knowledge, but is a summary of many of the things I learned. Back then, I relied on Amazon Kindle, before creating a paperback (also through Amazon). I didn’t realise the other options which were available to an author looking to self-published their books.

I struggled with marketing, and still do. As I said, this isn’t an expert guide. However, the book tells you some of the ways I learnt to market myself as an author.

I think people will already know some of the answers given, but there is probably something you will learn. It’s about sharing knowledge which took me 7 years to learn. I come across questions on Facebook all the time about marketing, finding publishers and more. So, If I can help someone reduce that learning time, it’s worth the time it took me to put the book together.

You can find it here.

This book is also part of my twelve projects in twelve months. I have set my co-written book, The Snow Was All We Could See for pre-order. So, I only have one more left to go, then I will have completed my self-set challenge.

The books I’ve completed all different, so if you’re not interested in reading a book on writing, you still might find one of my books completed during this challenge will interest you.

Some of my 2020 Podcast/Radio Interviews

Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

My website where these are listed is closing in just over a month. So, I’m listing here, most of my interviews from last year.

Hannah’s Bookshelf (talking about Ghost of Me and my podcast Reading in Bed)

BBC Radio Manchester (reading my poem “12 Things Employers Don’t Want You To Know” followed by a short interview)

Mysterious Goings On (talking to J. Alexander Greenwood about my writing)

Hannah Kate’s Not Quite Live Poetry Special (with my partner Andy N, near the end of the episode)

Everything Imaginable (talking about ghosts, zombies and clowns)

Midnight FM (this one requires a paid membership to listen on catch-up, but it’s worth it if you’re a paranormal enthusiast)

My Writing Challenge

Last year I brought out a novel. I put six months of planning and more money than I could afford into marketing it. The pre-orders were promising, then froze as the pandemic took hold. Despite the book been shortlisted for an award and getting good reviews from the few people who did read it, reaching people and convincing them to read it was almost impossible. This year, I’m focussing more on paid work such as copywriting, but I still have lots of projects I want to release, even though I don’t expect any of them to make many sales.

I’ve set myself a challenge. Between February 2021 and January 2022, I’m going to publish something every month. With all the ideas I have for short collections of poetry and prose, and a few novella length books, I want to get these started/completed, so I can move onto longer projects in 2022.

The first release will be the audiobook version of my YA novel, First Charge. While the eBook and paperback are already out, I have had to spend time listening to and approving each chapter of the audiobook. I feel I can count this as a new release.

My March release will most likely be a chapbook, with future projects including a sci-fi novella and a re-edited version of something I published when I was just starting out.

I’ll post links to each new release on this blog post.

Project 1First Charge on audiobook

Project 2Buy My Book: I Need Cats

Project 3 – Hidden Identities

Project 4 – Hope and Magic (Kindle or in paperback)

Project 5 – You Won’t Believe What Happens When You Buy This Book: A Spoof Clickbait Collection

Project 6 – Second Chances (sequel to Ghost of Me). This one is a little different. It’s not available as an eBook. Instead, it’s available to read on Medium (see chapter links below) or to buy as a paperback from Amazon in all countries including UK and US.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Project 7Lost and Found: Part 1 by Aleesha Black (penname) now available in audiobook

US link

UK link

Project 8 – From the Shadows (out 27th August)

Pre-order links:

Paperback UK

Paperback US

Kindle UK

Kindle US

Other eBook platforms

If Amazon shows as out of stock/unavailable, try here.

Project 9Little Splashes: A Flash Fiction Collection

Project 10What Do I Know?: Questions and Answers About Writing and Self-Publishing It’s also available on various eBook platforms

Project 11The Snow Was All We Could See

Project 12: Run Away With Me Again in Eight Words

My Successes and Failures of 2020

This year has been difficult for a lot of people, which is why I’ve decided to share my failures and successes of 2020. Hopefully, they will inspire others. If I’ve learnt anything, it’s to take opportunities when you find them, because you never know which ones will lead to something.

Firstly, I was slowly building up my freelance writing, and the pre-orders from my novel “Ghost of Me” looked promising. Then in March/April my work dried up and the book sales plummeted not long after the release date. I could be writing this and focussing on this year being a complete failure, but I’m not. I’ll admit it’s been a series of struggles and I still haven’t rebuilt up my work to achieve a full-time living. What I have done is to look at other ways to promote myself and find work.

My charity book (Words to Remember)

This one isn’t just my success. It was only possible because of all the poems and stories other writers sent in, and those writers who helped promote it afterwards. Even so, I felt proud of myself and them when I made the £130 donation to Marie Curie with the first batch of profits. There’s more pending for other cancer charities at a later date. I know other people have raised more money for charity with less work involved, but I’m still pleased with this. At one point, I was trying to work out how much we might have raised by looking at the book rankings and thought we’d be lucky to raise £20. Finding out the first royalty payment was £130 was a nice surprise.


I started guesting on a lot of podcasts. After co-hosting my book review podcast since January 2018 and guesting on a few others, I stepped things up and began actively looking for podcasts I could appear on. Out of those, I had a couple of good experiences and some not so good. The worst was a guy who talked to me for fifteen minutes, clearly found me boring and wrapped up the podcast. It was never aired.

Some of the best experiences included having a poem broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester (followed by a short interview) and being a guest on Midnight FM where I talked to Tim Weisberg about my interest in the paranormal and how it inspires my writing. The poem broadcast on the BBC was the third I’d sent them, proving to myself that sometimes you have to keep trying. The Midnight FM interview came about after I guested on a paranormal podcast. I didn’t think it went that well, but the producer of Midnight FM got in touch with me and said one of their listeners had suggested me as a guest. I assume it was someone who heard that podcast.

Awards and sending out work

I came across the Author Elite Awards. It was free, so I entered Ghost of Me into it, but didn’t want to bother anyone by asking for votes to get it into the final. A few months later, I received an email saying it was a top ten finalist in the thriller category. I was surprised because I hadn’t asked anyone to vote for it, but obviously someone did. It didn’t win, but I get to add top ten finalist to my blurb.

Later in the year, I wrote a short story for a submission call in Divination Hollow’s Horror in Hollywood contest. Even as I sent the story, I didn’t think it had a chance, but again I was surprised to receive an email saying it was one of ten they had shortlisted. I don’t think I was one of the final three winners, as I would have heard by now, but it’s something to add to my writing CV and it encourages me to keep going. If I had listened to my own doubts about the story, I wouldn’t have sent it and it couldn’t have been shortlisted.

Finding other ways to make money from writing

I recently got paid for having some book reviews published. While it wasn’t much, I enjoyed reading and I love writing, so to get paid for combining the two is great. If things had been normal, I probably wouldn’t have gone down the path of writing book reviews. But while searching for opportunities, I came across Joyzine. Although they are predominantly a music zine, they were happy for me to volunteer to write book reviews. This gave me the experience and confidence to look for paid opportunities elsewhere. And again, it looks good on my CV.

And the failures…

Other than those I’ve already mentioned, I’ve had plenty of failures. I’ve run book giveaways where nobody has entered or the winners have never responded to claim their prizes, as if they’ve realised what the competition was for and they don’t want the prize. I’ve also tried to make use of my creative writing experience by co-running some paid workshops, but despite only charging £1.67 they sold very few tickets. Worse still, I offered tickets to a live reading on my Santa Claus book (with a free digital copy of the book) again for just £1.67 and had to cancel because it only sold one ticket. These are definitely my most embarrassing failures of the year, because I was sharing them so publicly. I thought they would fail, but I tried anyway. The point I’m trying to make is, sometimes you have to try something and take opportunities. You might fail, but you might not.

And to top the year off, I managed to sit through the first six seasons of American Horror Story, so it wasn’t a complete failure!

My plans for 2021

It will be a while before open mic poetry and spoken word nights return, but in January, I plan to take advantage of Zoom by reading at a few nights I’ve never read at before, ones that would normally be too far to travel to. I’m also going to look for more podcasts to guest on, more submissions calls and for any other opportunities. I’ll still write books, but this will be more of a hobby because I know they won’t help pay the bills. I’ll be focussing more on getting book reviews published, copywriting and pitching articles.

Finding Something to Write About in Lockdown


Before lockdown, writers who had other jobs struggled to find the time to write. Now, many of those who are off work may still be struggling, but for different reasons. There is more time, but it’s harder to concentrate. So, if you no longer have to go to work, or even if you do, how can you make the most of whatever time you have spare each day?

Stop trying to write for a while

If you need inspiration, sitting in front of your laptop and staring at a blank screen is unlikely to provide that. There may be times when you have to sit there for a while as you wait for your brain to cooperate, yet you need to give yourself something to work with.

Lockdown can limit where we get our inspiration from. If you go online, everyone is talking about the same thing. That might explain why so many writers have written something inspired by the pandemic and the lockdown. That’s fine, it makes a great outlet and can help you to process and cope with everything. I’m even publishing some of my lockdown poems, but that doesn’t mean people will want to read them.

You’ll want to write something else eventually. So talk to friends and family, even if it’s just on the phone or over Zoom. Watch your favourite TV show or discover a new one. Go for a walk, if you don’t have any health conditions that put you in the at-risk group. Read a book or listen to a song. Inspiration can come from something a friend says to you, a line in song or song, something you see outside or something in TV show. That doesn’t mean you should plagiarise someone else’s work. Just use the idea as a starting point and turn it into something completely different.

Should I change my work in progress to include the pandemic?

This is a question I’ve seen people ask and some writers have stopped what they were writing, or feel like they have to go back and rewrite it to include recent events. Obviously, what you write is up to you. However, reading is a form of escapism, so many people won’t want to read a fictionalised version of what is happening right now. Another thing to consider is how much time it takes to write, edit and publish. For me, if I continue with any of the novels I’ve already started on, it could take between six and eight months to complete and publish one of them, longer if I try to get a publisher instead of self-publishing it myself. I’m not saying life will be like it was by then, but I hope things will be better than they are now. Also, it’s fiction, so it doesn’t have to guess the future. You can create your own fictional future and provide an escape for yourself while writing it, which may help you to write the world the way you want it to be.

Join workshops

I’ve attended some online workshops. If you join writing groups on social media and ask around, you should be able to find some.

I’ve not written anything I can submit to publishers or journals from this, but it has helped to keep me writing, and I’ve been inspired by the other writers. If nothing else, you get to (virtually) meet with other writers. I’ve found it more of a social experience than the virtual spoken word nights I’ve attended.

Still finding it difficult?

Writing anything might seem difficult at the moment, but take it in bite-size sessions. Start with half an hour a day, or even ten minutes if that’s too much. Write whatever comes to mind. It might be nonsense, but just set a timer and write until you’re out of time, Read through it later. Looks for a line, or a few words that could inspire to write something. Then use that to create a poem or the beginning of a short story. You can even use dreams to get ideas for a poem or story. If you keep a notebook by your bed, you can jot down any dreams you have and use those as inspiration. Many people are having bizarre dreams at the moment. In another blog post, I’ll be sharing a short story I wrote, inspired by one of my bizarre dreams.

A Piece of “Erotic Fiction” I Wrote





I recently had a rejection – nothing new there then. However, this was different to my other rejections. It contained feedback.. Apparently, my writing wasn’t erotic enough to arouse readers. I was going for something more subtle and intense. It reminded me that I did write an erotic story a few years ago though. This was around the time I first got a Kindle and read a lot of free books about werebears (don’t ask). These always ended up with the female lead and the male lead getting together, even though the woman would resist at first, but the guy just wouldn’t take no for an answer. The “erotic” scenes were well over the top and bordering on abuse in some cases. So, I wrote an erotic story, to make fun of this. I then ended up going back over some of it and replacing some words with names of Pokémon, because … why not?


I’ve shared an extract below.


I will have to fight to determine whether the world ends or not. Now we’ve met, I realise it’s only a matter of time before the Pokémon battle begins. Although I’m far too distracted by the unfamiliar ache between my legs, as I look down and see an enormous Haunter has appeared.

I quickly spin around and look out of the window feigning an interest in the sky, as I try to prevent the demon from seeing my Electrode. It’s not like I don’t know what an Electrode is, it’s just never happened to me before. My Snorax shouldn’t be reacting this way, especially not to a demon. She walks around me, placing herself between me and the window.

‘My name is Angel,’ she tells me. Her tongue seems to flick in and out of her mouth with each word, and I’m already starting to imagine what else she could do with that tongue. If I was to lose control of myself, I could plunge my own tongue into her mouth and let her taste me, or I could just unzip my trousers and plunge my Haunter into her mouth, until the intense Bulbasaur begins to cease. I shake my head, even as my hand reaches down and rubs against the fabric of my trousers. She grins and I grab my hand with the other, as though it’s not part of me anymore, but now has a mind of it’s own.

I guess she had the same idea as me with choosing her name, and I can’t help but smirk.

‘Damien,’ I manage to say.

‘So the boss says I have to help you in any way you require.’ Her eyes fall to my lustful Alakazam.

‘What?’ I ask, my mind a haze of confusion.

She kneels down in front of me and runs her fingers lightly across the outline of my Pikachu, through the fabric of my ever-tightening suit trousers. They’re going to burst open in a minute if she keeps doing that. I involuntarily thrust my hips towards her. It seems like a battle just to force myself to stop moving. I sit down and cross my legs, hoping that will help. I wish I hadn’t. As an angel I can tolerate a lot of pain, but this is intense.

‘We can’t … we’re not meant to …’ I try to talk, but my mouth refuses to form whole sentences.

‘Then stop me,’ she taunts, before grabbing hold of my right leg and forcefully uncrossing my legs, then burying her head between my legs. She licks and sucks my throbbing Charmander, still through the fabric, but it feels like it’s continuing to get harder and bigger, possibly like it’s evolving and going to force its way into her mouth any second now and there’s nothing I can do to stop my Pokeballs from escaping.



If you fancy listening to someone read it out, you can HERE. This was before I started reading in public. These days, I’d probably just read it myself.


If you want to be a writer, accept you will fail before you succeed

success and failure

The thing about looking at successful writers, or successful people in any field, is they rarely make the headlines or show up on your radar until they’ve made it. This makes them hard to relate to or compare yourself against.

Accepting failure before it happens doesn’t mean giving up or being pessimistic. You can prepare yourself for the silent audience, bad review or unsold book if you accept that at some point it will happen. Think of it as a lesson learnt and something to tick off your list.

The people you look up to, even the ones who aren’t famous but seem to have carved out a market for themselves and are making a success out of doing what they love; they rarely share posts or images of their failures.

I’ve read a few success stories where people just seem to have stumbled into becoming a popular Instagram poet, landing a publishing deal or whatever else. These are either the few exceptions, or they’re not telling you about the time they spent in obscurity and all the rejections they received before that. It gives everyone else an unrealistic image of what success looks like. “Overnight success” usually takes years to achieve.

I’m nowhere near being a successful anything, although I’ve had a few small successes and close calls; such as having a few books accepted by published, almost carving out a full-time career as a copywriter, an almost promising self-published book and a few shorter pieces accepted for paid publication. So, I’m going to share some of my failures and disappointments, to show you that all (or most) of us have them.


Getting published

I had two books accepted for publications in a relatively short space of time. The first went horribly wrong. I was amongst the many authors who never received their royalties before the publisher shut down. The second publisher had better intentions, but is close to shutting its doors as I write this.


Making a living from writing

After trying to make a living for my books, I became a freelance copywriter. It wasn’t ideal, having to write to a set of criteria on subjects I wouldn’t have chosen myself, but I adapted to it. I was given a paid ghostwriter trial for a fiction book and some other freelance writing, and things were starting to build up. Then there was a pandemic and much of my work dried up. Of course the virus is extremely serious and has taken many lives, so I’m glad to be alive, but it doesn’t change the disappointment I felt at getting so close to the dream of making a full-time living as a writer, even if it wasn’t the type of writing I ideally wanted to do.



My years of self-publishing and my two failed publishers taught me a lot, so I used that knowledge to publish and promote my recent novel Ghost of Me. I had pre-orders and reviews (from advance reader copies) before the release date and it all looked promising. Sales dried up quickly when the virus spread and so my book was (understandably) forgotten as people had more important things to think about.


Other failures

Where do I start? There have been so many. These include bad reviews, (some deserved and others from internet trolls and bullies) reading out work to an unresponsive audience (the poems were too subtle for them and they preferred something more direct – it happens, so move on) and trying to build up awareness of my books by running giveaways online. I’ve run a few competitions with few or no entrants. It can be a real awakening when you realise you can’t even give away copies of your own book.


Why do I keep going?

After re-reading that last part I’m asking myself the same question, but I’ve had some successes, however small. I had two publishers who thought my books were worth publishing. Okay, so one of them stole the royalties, but they must have thought they could get enough money from it to be worth their time and effort.

I’ve also had several pieces of writing published (and paid for) even before I started copywriting. I’ve also had some great feedback from the copywriting projects I’ve worked on. Last year, the magazine I created (which I’m sadly putting together the last issue for) was given a place performing poetry at The Festival of Manchester. I could probably mention a few more successes, but this blog post isn’t for me to brag. My point is you keep going by remembering the successes. They may happen less than the failures, but they also mean more when they do happen.


Finding Creativity During Lockdown


I’m not going to claim it’s easy being creative during lockdown. There are the distractions of constant updates coming through on social media and through my phone; more deaths, more government negligence … the list goes on.

However, it helps to look back at what you have done during this time and that is what I’m doing here. At the start of lockdown, I was panicking over losing at least 80% of my paid work, not been eligible for any benefits or grants and generally worrying about my basic survival. Those are big enough distractions, even without the pandemic and lockdown going on in the background.

This morning I found out the audio book version of my novel “Not Human” had gone online. To be fair, I didn’t do much work on this during lockdown. Most of the work was done before and it was a case of waiting for the files to be approved and to be sent to the online retailers. I’m still counting it as an achievement though, especially as it’s my first audiobook.

While I was waiting for this to be approved, I began working with a talented narrator from Canada to adapt my “Ghost of Me” book. I’m now working with her on the changes for that and hopefully, it should be available to buy within the next few months.

Once I accepted that panicking about financial matters wouldn’t improve them, I went back to an unfinished project and completed it, as part of a challenge set by a Facebook Group I’m in. The project was a choose your own adventure book about a writer who does everything wrong. It pokes fun at things that some writers do wrong and at the publishing and book promotion process in general. Working to complete it by a set date, gave me something to focus on and I enjoyed putting it together and creating the images to go with it.

As I usually do NaPoWriMo in April, I decided not to change that this year. Predictably, over half of the poems were about lockdown either directly or indirectly. I applied to a project, pitching the idea of a chapbook of lockdown related poems. While they haven’t sent me a rejection yet, I plan to self-publish the book later this month if they turn me down. I hope it will help others and they will be able to relate to at least some of it.

So, during lockdown I’ve brought out an audiobook, have another of the way and have short booklets coming out. It’s not so bad when I think of it that way. I’m not suggesting anyone starts and/or completes several projects during lockdown, but having at least one project to focus on might help. Even spending half an hour a day on something can quickly build up over time and before you know it, you’ll have a finished piece of work, or at least the solid start of something. It’s not easy, but trying to create something is much better than getting stressed about things you have no control over. I’ve started using a mindfulness app and listening to Forrest sounds on Spotify. Find whatever helps you feel less stressed and overwhelmed by everything.



Please see the links below (which will be added as they become available) if any of my books I’ve mentioned interest you.


Not Human – Audible link

(Also available on Amazon and iTunes)


You can get a free digital copy of How to Write Wrong: A Choose Your own Adventure Story, from Booksprout in exchange for a honest review. You can be also pre-order a copy on Kindle for just 79p.

Always Darkest Before Dawn: A Collection of Poems from Lockdown can be pre-ordered on Kindle for just 80p