I’ve been asked to say something inspirational to children at a friend’s primary school who may be aspiring writers. And so I thought about all the tips I would have given myself at that age. Only at that age I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to work at all. I was too busy reading. I wanted to be IN a book, not make one. I wasn’t lazy, I was just otherwise occupied.
Only the thing is, it paid off. I’m not a writer because I had a burning ambition aged 6 to be Joan Aiken. I wanted to be Arabel, or, better, Mortimer the raven. Or Heidi. Or George in the Famous Five. And so I managed to come up with some words that said this. And more. These are the words:
“I never tried hard to be a writer when I was young. I was too busy being a reader. And that’s my advice: eat, breathe and sleep books. Drink those stories in until you are full, and then the next day, start again. That way, you will know how a good story works, and that is what makes a writer. Not spelling, not punctuation, not knowing when to use a CAPITAL letter. Stories are where the world starts and ends. Stories are life. Stories are where the WILD things are. So go hunt some down.”