Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Juggling Jobs and Dancing Dinosaurs

There's two very different sides to this business of writing for children and I seem to be constantly juggling time to make room for both. There's the solitary hours of sitting home alone, staring at the flashing cursor (interspersed with equal amounts of time making coffee and engaging in various displacement activities) until the book is written. Then there's getting out there visiting schools, libraries and festivals to promote the books once they're published... or that's what I imagined visiting schools and libraries was all about.

Don't get me wrong, when I'm out and about I do want to promote what I do - after all, I am a writer and am quite keen on the idea of having people buy my books or borrow them for a library. But there's more to it than that. I love books and stories and have done for as long as I can remember. My mum passed on this love of books by reading and sharing stories and poems when I was growing up. As an author going in to schools and libraries I now get the chance to share my love of stories with hundreds of children all round the country. I receive letters and emails from teachers, parents and children themselves telling me how much they have enjoyed the visits. Sometimes I receive letters saying that a child that has never shown interest in reading has bought or borrowed a book and hasn't put it down since. News like this is always a thrill.

My love of writing stories is something different. I can't honestly say I even enjoyed writing when I was younger. Unlike many writers I know this is something that I really started to enjoy when I was older, so trying to share my enthusiasm for writing with children has always felt more difficult. Many children do enjoy writing when they can take their time with it and they produce work that they are proud of, and rightly so.

I tell children that they are all writers and that any of them can write a book of their own... Now one little girl has taken this a step further by writing and illustrating her own book and having it published. When I heard the news I was overjoyed. You can read all about it here.


karen ball said...

Such an inspiring story from that little girl. Isn't that what being a children's writer is all about? Well done, you!

Nayuleska said...

Wow! You must feel great about the girl's success.

Damian Harvey said...

It's great isn't it. I'm under no illusion that it's some magic that I performed that inspired her - I think it's just a case of letting children see that anyone can go ahead and write a story.