I am five weeks into my Writing for Children & Young Adults course, and something wholly unexpected has happened.
Let me explain:
When I was younger I had the confidence of a small gnat. So, I looked for ways to ‘better’ myself – NLP, hypnosis, meditation, visualisation… (It was a long list.)
I also clung to a dream: to be an author one day. Partly because I loved writing and I was obsessed with books. But partly because I secretly thought that if I could write a book like my childhood heroes – Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, and Dr Seuss – I would be A SUCCESS (i.e. approved of, accepted and, naturally, brimming with confidence)!
Aside from this not being a great reason to write, that’s a heck of a lot of pressure to put on one book.
Unsurprisingly, I struggled to write anything. Something which had been a source of joy and pleasure in childhood became serious and heavy and difficult.
And the more I avoided writing, the more ‘writing a book’ became this huge, mystical thing.
But I have discovered something unexpected:
Taking part in a year-long writing course has forced me to write regularly. Which means I am finally living my dream, instead of imagining it.
This is an important distinction. Because the shocking reality is that some writing days are ‘good’ – there is magic in my fingertips. But many days are ‘bad’ (really bad). And most days are somewhere in between.
The ordinariness of this is unexpected. And liberating!
If writing a book is not such a Big Fat Mystical Hairy Deal, I am free. I can play and experiment and do whatever I damn well please.
I can succeed or fail, and it’s all OK.
Writing a book is magical and also completely ordinary. This is earth-shattering news.
As the dad in Kate DiCamillo’s novel Flora & Ulysses would say,
“HOLY UNANTICIPATED OCCURRENCES!”