In My Wildest Dreams: Adventures in Children's Fiction

Blue! The best and worst of colours.

Probably the most terrifying, but enticing expanse of blue a writer will ever look at.

8.30 a.m. I am about to write the first words of the first sentence on the first page of the first chapter of a new novel.

8.35 a.m. I look at all my favourite web pages and vow not to look at Twitter while I'm writing.

9.00 a.m. I am still taking furtive glances at Twitter.

9.10 a.m. I promise myself I shall not reply to any Tweets today.

9.25 a.m. I have replied to a Tweet.

10.00 a.m. My screen is still blank. I look at my notes on Scapple.

10.15 a.m. I make coffee and bring it upstairs with two slices of toast to my study.

10.20 a.m. I set Project Targets in the Scrivener drop down menu.
                  Deadline for finishing: 1 April 2014.
                 (ha ha that seems a long way off! But realistic)
                  Manuscript target: 60,000 words.
                  Session target: 1000 words.

10.45 a.m. I begin writing.

12.15 p.m. I break for lunch. I have written 349 words (and replied to another Tweet - Bad writer!)

13.45 p.m. I begin again.

14.05 p.m. I finish. 1,160 words (and no looking at Social Media.)

Tomorrow is another day. 59,000 words to go. I fancy April 2014 is nearer than I think.


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.