The Dreaded Three O'clocks

I've been having an attack of the dreaded Three O'clocks. That is the time when, without fail, I wake up if I've got anything on my mind. Sometimes it's just that there's something urgently demanding to be written down, but most often it's because I'm worrying. The demons loom large at three o'clock.

It's not the sort of waking that's cosy, when you can lie there dozing in that dreamy state half in and half out of sleep. No, this is stark, wide-awake, with your blood pounding round your body and your mind racing at a hundred miles an hour. Impossible to lie still. I've learned from experience to get up, make a cup of tea (with biscuits!) and I pad through the house like a ghost, write a little, read a little, do email..... I go back to bed about five. In winter it's still dark, but in summer three o'clock is the start of the dawn chorus and by five the heron is fishing on the weir and the whole world is awake. Perversely - that's when I can go back to sleep!

At the moment, it's got a lot to do with a new project I'm fermenting. A novel this time. Which is a scary idea - my last one still hasn't found a publisher. But somehow without a book on the boil I feel like a sad Texan - 'all hat and no cattle'!


  1. You'll get there soon. ^^ It takes an average of 12 rejections for a short story to get published, and that's not a novel by any means. Just keep sending it out and you'll receive success eventually.

  2. Kathleen, I sympathise and empathise on so many levels. I think getting up and trying later is the only thing. At least, by the sound of it, you live in a beautiful place where you get the dawn chorus as compensation. In the countryside it is a magical time of day.

    I think we are going to have to work out which of us posted first with a heron. (and in the same 24 hours!) Unless we come to some arrangement I am sure the copy-write bun fight could be in the courts for years! :-)

    I tell myself the writing process is enough in its own right. I used to believe it, but I can't imagine not writing anyway. As for your response to your publishing woe: well you'll either have to adopt the British Stiff upper lip; or the slightly more relaxed Aussie "She'll be right mate."

  3. Thank you for the consolation 'uninvoked' - it's very good advice, but if the efforts of a top london agent can't do anything, there's little hope!! Well written 'mid-list' fiction, just isn't selling in the UK at the moment. Apparently I've got to keep it in the drawer for later. But if I(with eleven books already published)can't get this accepted at the moment, then it makes me depressed for new writers just starting out. It's a tough time in the bookworld. Good luck with your own projects.

  4. Thanks Al! It's ironic really that I have so much non-fiction out there, and can sell short stories, but no one has so far taken the novel I wrote. Ah well..... At least I have a biography coming out with Penguin in the next twelve months.

  5. Is it worth self publishing the novel?
    As an established author you'll avoid the "vanity press label" and any stigma which might attach.
    The only question would probably be how much more effort it would be to self promote, as opposed to promoting your work for a publisher if/when it gets published.


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