In My Wildest Dreams: Adventures in Children's Fiction






A writer is a writer is a writer.


Who am I to make comments about someone else? I don’t know J K Rowling or how she feels about anything, anymore than I know about you who are reading this. So this is not personal. I’m not even going to pass an opinion on her children’s novels. I am not a child so what would I know anyway? I have read the first four Harry Potter books and enjoyed them. As some point I shall read The Cuckoo’s Calling, but probably won’t get round to The Casual Vacancy, because that’s not my cup of tea.

It is not J K Rowling, or her books I am really interested in, it is what her productivity tells us about what it is to be a writer. J K Rowling wrote before she had money (maybe in a dream of making a living). She could have cut and run after the first three Harry Potter books. When the films were done she could have rested on the money & devoted herself to good causes. (She has certainly done her share of that.) But at no stage it appears did J K Rowling stop writing, nor has she shown any desire to churn out more of the same.

Whatever the quality of her work, whether it stands the test of time, or whether she goes out of fashion, she will always be a writer because I imagine she is compelled to do it… and not for the money or fame.

Why do any of us do it? Writing is hard work (though no one makes me do it so I can’t complain) and I doubt that it is any easier if you become wealthy through your writing; you just have more to lose in terms of self-confidence and the self-esteem if your gift deserts you for a while. Best selling novelists are like the rest of us. We all need to have our books recognised for what they are and not because our name is on the cover.

Writing is a compulsion, but not an addiction; a writer always has control. Writing is compelling  - you can take a break from it - but return to it you always will. Being a writer has nothing to do with money or fame. It has everything to do with writing. It is simple.

A writer is a writer is a writer.

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