Though Ashley is still in NZ's newest lockdown, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Picture of two silhouetted figures in a tunnel with light streaming in behind them.

The end of editing Darkness, Set us Free is close. So close, I can taste the freedom around the corner. I have one and a half chapters to go. I and I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve spent almost two months editing this manuscript, and a good chunk of it was devoted to two chapters. But I pushed through. I basically rewrote the two ‘problem’ chapters, and I have been tearing through the second half of the novel at breakneck speed (for me anyway) ever since.

I don’t know why, but editing this novel has been a real struggle. My motivation has been low, and the confidence I usually have in my writing has been lacking. All the usual tricks to help get me motivated have failed. But I have tried my very best to push through.

Hopefully, I will finish my edits by the end of today. Then all that’s left is a final read-through to make sure all the changes flow together. Unless I get distracted (I’m currently attempting to bake ciabatta bread and Cornish pasties at the same time, so the risk of distraction is high) or am low on motivation.

On the flip side, due to Auckland’s current lockdown, there’s not much else to do during the weekend, except write, right? No excuses!



So much has happened in the past two weeks. Here in NZ, after going 100 days with any community transmission of Covid-19, we had an outbreak. And within 18 hours, Auckland went into Level 3 lockdown. We’ve been cordoned off from the rest of the country so to contain the spread. That was ten days ago.

A meme that describes the state of things in NZ perfectly: Lockdown is mostly limited to Auckland. Meme of Lion King with Mustafa telling Simba never to go to the dark shadowy place that is Auckland.

Luckily for me, I am considered ‘essential’ at Level 3 and was able to continue working in the lab. Albeit, with strict 2 meters distancing from my work colleagues and mandated mask wearing for the entire day, along with all the other PPE we have to wear to work in the lab. Honestly, it’s been challenging.

And it’s been back to online lecturing (with less than 12 hours notice), which has also been difficult. Luckily, I had a lot of practice at it during our first lockdown in March.

But to be frank, this current lockdown blindsided everyone—the first we heard about it was a surprise 9:30pm press conference the night before. By the next day, we were scrambling to prepare for the imminent lockdown that was mere hours away.

However, I am grateful that our government has taken this outbreak seriously and implemented restrictions so quickly. Hopefully, by Wednesday next week, our lockdown will be over.

Fingers crossed.


Picture of Ashley in lockdown, wearing her mask in her chemistry lab.