Friday Fictioneers – White Noise


Poppy stood up in her cot, gripped the railings and shook them so hard I thought she might escape. Our suitcases were stacked against the wall of the motel room. I couldn’t bear the thought of unpacking them to locate the sleep sheep.

“Come on, girl” I repeated, stroking her back, “we’re going on an adventure tomorrow, you need to rest”

Poppy buried her face into her blanket. There was no crying, just sniffling and the faint sound of ‘mumumum’.

Rumbles of thunder came first, then the heavy rain. “Mumumum” Poppy muttered, before closing her eyes and drifting off to sleep. (100)

It’s been a long, long time since I took part in a Friday Fictioneers. My baby is sleeping, I have a few rare minutes to spare.

If you’re not familiar with Friday Fictioneers, every week Rochelle Wisoff-Fields hosts a photo prompt and writers throughout the world use it as inspiration to write a 100 story. Want to read more, head over here. Enjoy!


Filed under Flash Fiction

Build a Creative Haven on a Budget

Building a creative haven within your own home need not break the bank.  Even the smallest of spaces can be cleverly transformed into a place that offers instant inspiration. Here are a few tips on how to turn a drab workspace into your imagination bolt hole with a few clever tricks.

Keep it Simple


If your space is small then adopt a timeless minimalist style. Paint the walls white and keep everything else simple. Don’t add unnecessary furniture such as drawers if you don’t really need them. Inject colour with items that can move with the current trends such as photo frames and statement stationary. Include a vase of fresh flowers that tie in with the season

Source: housetohome



A few accessories that reflect your character evokes feelings of comfort you only feel at home. Small items such as a shell from a beach, a cheerful notepad or even your favourite mug will inject your personality into your home office, and perhaps be a source of inspiration.

Source: theelginavenue 

In The Corner


Make the most out of the corner in your living room by adding a small desk. Add alcove shelving above it to store your books and accessories. You can even add doors to hide everything from view to stop your work spilling into your everyday life.

Source: Housetohome

Writing Bureau

writing bureau

Writing bureaus are perfect for teaming up storage with a place to work, it is no wonder they are making a comeback. Although expensive to buy new, searching online or scouring second hand furniture shops can uncover some hidden gems at reasonable prices. Buy Annie Sloan chalk paint to transform your bureau into a furniture piece that oozes French Chic.

Source: 4gottenfavourites

Let There Be Light


When light floods into the room it can provoke feelings of openness and being connected with the outside world. Place your desk overlooking a window so that every time you look up from the computer screen your mind feels refreshed.

Source: melbripley

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Writing With A Baby – Making the Most of Your Time

For any writer, finding a spare hour to dedicate to writing is a near impossible task. When you are the parent of a baby or toddler, that time is even harder to pin down.

It’s amazing how much more efficient you become once a child enters your life; however applying that to your writing world is tricky. Writing and efficiency don’t always go hand in hand. Long gone are the days when you could afford a five minute break to look out of the window.

So if you are like me and always mining around for minutes to write, here are a few tips for getting creative with the time you have.

Morning Bird Power-Hour

If you have a child who sleeps well into the morning (lucky you!) then you might be able to uncover some quiet, free time before they wake up. Set your alarm an hour early, grab a coffee, open up the laptop and go for a shot of 100 words.

Stay Up Late

I fall into the night owl bracket; 5am is just too early for me! Once the baby is in bed, if I am having a writing evening I completely shut everything else off. Dinner is cereal. Washing up is abandoned. Ignore it. It doesn’t need you. This is YOUR time. The deadline of bedtime can be adhered to, or ignored. Depends how well you can function the next day after pulling an all-nighter.

The Top 200

Write 200 words. Doesn’t matter what it’s about. The point is if you make a commitment that is achievable and after a while you will become more efficient with what you write in that period of time.

Don’t Edit

If your task is to write, just do that. Anything else is irrelevant to the task you are trying to achieve. Editing can weigh you down so free yourself from it.

…But if you have to edit…

Then make sure that the session is just for editing. You need to be strict and organised to ensure the task works out in the best possible way

Go Traditional

While the baby is happily and safely playing then grab a notepad and a pen and jot down ideas, start a story. If you have time later you can explore anything that came do you during the day.

Go Digital

I have an iPad yet always assumed writing on a tablet wouldn’t come naturally. And it didn’t for me. But after some practise it actually worked out really well. I downloaded the Office Word app to ensure I was familiar with the system. It seems more achievable to write the odd thing here or there while the little one plays, or I make up a bottle or prepare dinner. This is how I have managed to write a few short stories and blog posts.

Be Realistic, Rethink and Adjust

Goal paralysis, I get this a lot. I want to do so much, but end up doing nothing because I don’t know where to start.

Get real, you have a child. That fluidity of time you were so used to does not exist anymore. I wanted to blog, write fiction, finish my novel, freelance and start a diploma, while working part time, starting a business and looking after my little one. It was just too much. It doesn’t mean that you have to let go of everything. Just re-prioritise and focus on one thing at once.

Designate a Day

If like me you have too many irons in the fire and juggling just about anything you can get your hands on, then designate one day a week that is dedicated to your one writers goal. It doesn’t need to be a whole day. It can be a morning, afternoon, evening, 40 minutes. Just one day when at some point, you write.


Planning and preparing as a parent is a beast. The unpredictable nature of babies makes it impossible to plan and or even guess how much time you have available. Yet a plan will help, but keep it manageable, flexible and achievable.  Plan for your day and set it out in bitesize chunks. As I am looking after my boy today, my plan was to write a blog post during his nap time. So far, so good.


If you have a little one who is engrossed in a toy then use that time to write – even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes. I often feel consumed with guilt if I’m on the laptop and kiddo is playing. However if he is happy then why not use that time to get something done?

I always make sure if I have spent some time on the laptop, that the little one gets a massive chunk of play time with mummy afterwards. It makes them happy, you feel happy, and you can even chat through your story ideas. I find that babies are very good listeners!


I take my little one out for a long walk to clear my head and plan my afternoon. It can give your mind some breathing space and you also have the freedom to explore ideas that would probably be lost when changing nappies, making up bottles or running around trying to stop your baby exploring the dark and dangerous corners of your living room.

Quit Box Sets

Netflix, you were there during the newborn days of constant breastfeeding and recovering from a traumatic labour, and I shall never forget the support you gave me. But now we need distance. I am a writer darhling and need space. I shall see you at weekends, but our daily rendezvous is no more.

Be Kind to Yourself

Do not be hard on yourself and stop worrying about your perceived failures. Remember, you love writing and any time spent on it is a massive achievement. Now go get that brownie… did I mention that cake is a crucial part of a writers diet?

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Write What You See – Bus 

It’s fair to say that it has been a long time since I have written anything fictional. When you go that long without putting pen to paper the well of inspiration feels a little empty. However I’m a firm believer that you can mine inspiration out of just about anything.  

As soon as I decided to do this, I spotted a bus go past my window. So I used that to start a story. And here it is. Why don’t you give a go? No word limit! Post your links below with the title or the blog post ‘Write What You See – ‘ 


The bus pulled up to the stop and Gray stumbled out onto the pavement. His phone dropped from his pocket and with a clatter landed on the wet concrete. On all fours he searched for the phone but it was dark and he was too drunk to see clearly. Gray stood up and lunged into the lamp post 


Two girls linking arms under an umbrella tottered past, picking up speed and letting out a giggle as Gray battled with his wooziness. His feet felt unstable, the ground was moving side to side, up and down. Settling on a garden wall, he pressed the palm of his hands onto his knees in a bid to ground his body. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. 

“You l’right mate” 

Gray opened his eyes. A smartly dressed man with headphones round his neck, reached out and gently placed his hand on Gray’s shoulder. He was no longer sitting on the garden wall and there was a rotten stench in the air. 

“Where am I?” asked Gray

“What was that mate?” The man leant in closer

“Where am I?” 

The man shook his head “I can’t understand you. I’m calling an ambulance” 

Gray’s heart thumped, he still felt drunk. I didn’t drink that much, did I? 

He tried to get up but his legs were like jelly. He managed to move his eyes just enough to see that he was lying next to some dumpsters. Probably at the back of some flats. He wriggled his toes. His socks felt soggy.  

That’s good, thought Gray, I can feel something. 

“Where are my shoes?” Gray asked the man who was now on the phone. He couldn’t make out what he was saying. It was like listening to a conversation through a wall. 

“Don’t try and talk mate. They’re on their way” 

From nowhere the man produced a blanket and wrapped it round Gray. The warmth offered a crumb of comfort. 

Gray tried to focus his eyes again. A figure stood behind the man. It was possibly a woman from the infiltration of perfume overriding the smell of  decaying food. They were talking but Gray couldn’t make out what they were saying. That damn wall. 

Flashing blue lights and a siren made its way closer. Gray immediately felt foolish. Just another drunk. Even though he hadn’t drunk that much. What, four pints?

Gray wanted to close his eyes again. The tiredness was hard to fight and his body craved restorative rest. Suddenly all the questions from a lady in a green came at once, with lights and wires probing his body and mind.

What’s your name? Do you know how you got here? What have you taken? How much have you had to drink? What day is it? Who is the prime minister? What is your star sign? What’s 2 + 2? What is your mothers maiden name? 

His head felt like it was being pummelled with a giant steel bar, caving under the weight of  the questioning.  A bolt of lightening shot through his body, a bright light flashed a crossed his vision. Just some more sleep.

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When I’m Not Blogging

Time sure does pass quickly. One minute I’m blogging and the next it is 10 months later and I’ve dropped off the face of the web. It’s fair to say I haven’t been as productive as I hoped however I am delighted that during my blog blackout, my first poetry submission was accepted and is now published in a journal.

The Catch was published in November in the Fall Issue of When Women Waken. The poem is an adaptation of a short story of the same name I published here a few years ago. Since conception in my very first creative writing class, The Catch has been through many reincarnations so I am happy that it has finally found success within a medium that suits it.

So what else has kept me away all this time? Here are my top five distractions

  1. My Kindle – Back in November I got a Kindle for my birthday and I have since become absorbed in a new literary journey. I still love to read actual books, nothing can beat that new book smell or the feel of a well loved novel. However for some reason I read much quicker using a Kindle.
  2. The Wire – When I’m not reading or working, I’m watching box sets. They are my vice. My husband and I have been visiting Baltimore for the past six months and we are just about to finish the series this week. I’m going to miss our nightly catch ups with McNulty, Bunk and Omar.
  3. Freelance Writing – Due to a change in circumstances (more on that later) I am now looking at setting up my own freelance copywriting business. Freelancing is still something I do on occasion to fit around my current job but with my life set to drastically change in a few months, it seemed the perfect time to work toward that becoming a more permanent fixture.
  4. Housework/DIY/Gardening – Yes, this does seem like a very lame excuse but since my husband and I moved into our house three years ago, we have never really made it our own. Despite being together ten years, we had never lived anywhere for more than a year or two so we got used to not bothering with making a house a home. It’s taken a while to get out of that mentality, but we are finally there and have enjoyed weekends of unpacking (yes, it’s taken us three years to unpack everything), painting, decorating and gardening. But there is also a pretty big reason for this nesting activity.
  5. The Patter Of… I am delighted to announce that we are expecting our first baby! We are so happy with the news and thrilled that at last we are on the way to having a family of our own. I haven’t got long left of the pregnancy and by mid-late June I am hoping to be able to put my feet up before the little one arrives at the start of July. The first five-six months of pregnancy were rough and it often took every bit of energy I had just to make it into work. Unfortunately that left me little desire to do much else, let alone blogging.

So here’s to a new start, more writing and more posts. I would like to continue with developing my poetry and maybe even completing the final draft of my novel which is currently gathering dust. Maybe the sleepless nights and endless dirty nappies will inspire a new kind of writing. Or maybe that will be the delirium after having not slept for weeks. We shall see, it’s a new adventure and one I cannot wait to start.



Filed under Inspiration

Is It Time to Put Night Writing to Bed?

Recently I have been thinking about what motivates writers and how old habits can dictate your writing routine. At some point we were all that young writer, scribbling away in bed with nothing but a torch, Biro pen and a notebook.

Over the past couple of weeks my writing efforts have dwindled to virtually nothing. Feelings of frustration toward my lack of motivation has prompted me to look at whether daily distractions are providing me with excuses not to write or if it’s just old habits. There is always something more important to do such as work, cooking tea, housework, gardening, food shopping, catching up with friends and family. Then when you do manage to steal away a few minutes, a phone call or a knock at the door pulls you out of the ‘zone’ you had struggled to get in, in the first place.

Yet when clock is pushing midnight, all the words stream out onto the page.  There is nothing left to do with the day. The house is silent, the outdoor world is peaceful, the night belongs to you and nobody else. Writing at that time of night puts me into a meditative state and is cathartic release of everything that happened during the day.

The only thing to stopping me is knowing that in less than six hours I have to be up, dressed and ready to go to work. So I crawl back to bed feeling unsatisfied and annoyed that a plot line won’t be written as well at 7pm the next evening.

When I was younger I would write until the early hours and not care that I would be falling asleep during class assembly. The stolen hours were magical and I would (eventually) go to sleep dreaming of new worlds to create in fiction land. I sorely miss those days and I wish it was that easy now, but it isn’t. That’s just part of being a grown up.

Finding time to write is a treat and I wonder if I don’t spend more time writing because I just don’t feel like it’s a priority. It should be a priority. To me, writing defines who I am and the satisfaction of working on a story is unparalleled to anything else. So why don’t I feel motivated? There is no answer to that. We all have peaks and troughs during our periods of writing, set backs and failures. There will always be distractions and something else more important to do.

You just have to keep on going despite the chaos around you.

“Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement” Cory Doctorow


Filed under Articles, Features, Inspiration

Friday Fictioneers – Old School Dirt

It has been a long time between now and my last Friday Fictioneers effort. I am more than a little over the word count so I may edit this again later on. If you want to play, head over to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and have a go. Thanks to Rochelle and also thanks to Danny Bowman for the image.

As always, I am open to constructive criticism.

Old School Dirt

The truck hissed as it drew to a halt behind the long queue of traffic.  Tony adjusted his gaze to search for the accident over the never ending line of red lights.

He looked down at his mobile and pressed down hard on the power button. It had been dead for the past hour. Dashboard read 20.30. Late again. Cara would be waiting alone, on the evening of their anniversary, for the third year running. No making up for this one.

Tony turned off the ignition and hopped out onto the sidewalk. A beaten up payphone offered little hope before he could even dial her number. A handset broken in two, he could talk but not listen.

“About right” he mused, before returning to the cabin.


Filed under Flash Fiction, Friday Fictioneers