Saturday, April 13, 2013


People often say to me, "It must be so much fun to write books for kids."

It is fun. A lot of the time. It's fun when the writing comes easily and the words flow. It's fun when a character comes alive. It's fun when you hold the book, fresh from the publisher, in your hand.

It's amazing how a great review can lift my spirits. Even better -  meeting  kids who have read my books and loved them. An email or a letter from a young fan can make my day!

So when isn't it fun?

The days when I hate what I have written.

The days when I compare myself unfavourably to other writers who write brilliant books.

The days when the sheer number of words to write seems daunting.

The days when the muse is not calling to me.

The days when I'd rather garden or go for walk or read someone else's book or have tea with my sister or do ANYTHING ELSE!

The days when a publisher rejects my creation.

It happens to all writers. James Scott Bell says, "Don't worry about being worried, and don't let worry drag you down." He adds, "You will worry if you are a writer. Turn that worry into writing."

Jean Little, an icon in Canadian children's literature, wrote in Writers on Writing (edited by David Booth):

If you are sunk in gloom, convinced that every word you have ever written or ever will write is worthless, be of good cheer. That is normal. We have all felt that. Try this test. Actually pitch the whole thing into the wastebasket. Can you now walk away and leave it there? . . .  You are sneaking that hated manuscript out of the basket. There is, you discover, a spark somewhere in all those ashes, a character crying out to be given a chance at life. Good. Go to the rescue. Start working. Writing is hard work. Joyous, absorbing, frustrating, exciting, soul-satisfying, lovely, hard work. Worth doing well.

I often remind myself to enjoy the journey, instead of focusing so much on the end product. And it is a journey, with detours, stretches where you speed and where you  crawl, uphills and downhills, stalls and even the occasional crash. But if you can't enjoy the journey, what is the point of going?

I also make sure I don't neglect the other parts of my life. I make time for that gardening, walking, reading, tea drinking!

Lawrence Block, in an article in Writers Digest in 1989, summed it up perfectly for me:

It's all part of being a writer and all part of the process of writing. And that's all I really wanted when I first signed on for this voyage, years and years ago, and when all is said and done, it's still all I really want.


Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka

A compelling story, inspired from current events and told from the points of view of several girls, about a polygamous community called Unity.


What if . . . you stumbled upon an ancient grave in the forest? Who was buried there? How did they die? What was their story?


 Next week: How Much is Enough?



1 comment:

  1. I am so glad I came by to read your post this evening. Thanks for the wisdom!