Like a lot of people, with everything going on in the world, I’ve been struggling to fall asleep at night for a wee while now. I put down my phone, turn off the light and lie back in bed feeling knackered but the second my eyes close, I feel wide awake again despite feeling shattered just moments before. So I just lie there, staring at the inside of my eyelids, until my alarm goes off in the morning. Sometimes it feels like I didn’t sleep at all and sometimes it’s like I’ve only just fallen asleep when the phone starts screaming that it’s time to get up at me. It’s a great laugh.

In a bid to fall asleep quicker, I read online about methods other people use to get themselves down for the night. Someone said on a forum that they simply imagine their wildest dreams coming true when they turn off the light and settle down under the covers. They imagine it playing out like a film, watching themselves achieve total happiness and it causes them to drift off blissfully happy.

So I tried this. I lay there in the dark and thought about the thing I wanted the most in the world. It then occurred to me that my desires were somewhat tragic.

‘Suppose I really just want to finally finish this novel I’ve been writing for the last two years,’ I thought. I imagined myself typing THE END in big block capitals at the bottom of a seventy-thousand-word long document. But then I thought, what happens then?

Then I have to edit the whole thing and take it from being a misshapen disaster to a polished, readable book. That got me all worked up as I realised if I finish writing the thing tomorrow, I’d still have about six months worth of editing to do on it. Then I thought about the fact I still need to find a publisher for it, how long would that take? What if I send it to my agent and she goes, ‘So this what you’ve been working on for two years?

This is it? It’s not really been worth the wait, Chris.’

What then?

Before I knew it, it was the morning and instead of drifting off imagining holding a classy hard back copy of my first novel, I awoke instead with more worries about the whole thing.

The following day I wrote a good chunk of the book and felt better about all this, the fear of it being mince propelled me into action and forced me to try and write better, so it wasn’t all bad. Then the night came. ‘Right,’ I said to myself in bed. ‘Imagine the book’s finished, it’s edited, agent loves it, got a good publisher in the bag, just imagine it’s hitting the shelves tomorrow and see how that plays out in your mind.’

So I let it play out like a film like the person on the forum suggested. I imagined going into a bookshop to see the book on the shelves and there was a crowd of people all clamouring to get at it, desperate to read it. I imagined getting a phone call saying it was nominated for the Booker Prize and all that. It was class. But then, I imagined having to go on a talk show, a Graham Norton style show with A-list celebrity guests and me.

I think at some point I actually fell asleep and then my subconscious took over the narrative and instead of me controlling it and making it all good fun, it descended into a nightmare. I was sitting on the couch with a couple of superstars, they were wearing suave tuxedos and beautiful dresses while I was wearing shorts and a tshirt, the clothes I wear to take the dug out in the morning, plus my hair was all over the place. The host was asking me questions about the book and what it all really meant, the way an English teacher would ask about an author’s real intentions in secondary school.

Glasgow Times: My Graham Norton experience quickly turned sour My Graham Norton experience quickly turned sour

‘Eh,’ I said and cleared my throat. My palms were soaking. ‘I mean, it’s just, eh, quite straightforward, it’s just aboot, eh, a wee guy.’

Silence in the studio. The people behind the cameras all looking to each other. The audience members were stifling their laughs.

I continued, trying to save myself from embarrassment. ‘The wee guy in the book, he just, eh, cuts aboot, know wit a mean? And, eh, does stuff.’

Security come and whisk me away. I hear the audience laughing at a cruel impression the host does of me.

I wake up, sweating. I check my phone and look for the bad reviews of this book I have yet to finish writing before realising it was all a dream. I suppose what my subconscious was saying to me there was that if I put as much effort into finishing the book as I did into trying to fall asleep, this book would be finished and out by now. Maybe I’ll just try and count sheep or something in future instead of torturing myself like this.