Why be a writer?

A writer’s life is a lot of hard work for very little financial reward. So why do it?

I think for most artists, their art is a compulsion. They have to do it. If they’re not doing, they don’t feel well. They’re not fulfilled. They’re not fully themselves.

How do you know if being a writer is for you? I think your craft or your calling is that thing that you lose track of time when you’re doing it. Have you ever had that experience? You’re so immersed in what you’re doing that you suddenly look up and realise that two hours have passed, you’ve forgotten to pick up the kids from school, the dinner is burned or suddenly it’s 2am and you have no idea how it got to be so late. That’s the thing that you simply MUST do with your life. That’s the sign that you have a writer, a painter, or a musician inside you desperate to get out. If, on the other hand, you can live without it, there are lots of jobs that are easier and pay better.

Why write for kids?

I’m inspired by the idea of writing for children because books teach children so many valuable skills for life. Through reading, children are given another perspective on the world. They learn how to see situations from different points of view, how to tackle challenges and they experience things that they would otherwise not have access to. Reading stimulates the imagination, nurtures creativity and gives children the ability to think outside the limitations of daily life. In books the impossible becomes possible. This ability to imagine a different world is the same skill that enables us to imagine a different life for ourselves. And that skill is at the heart of every endeavour we undertake in life – without it we would never achieve anything!

Picture books are particularly valuable because they engage and stimulate the whole person at different levels. Learning to read the images and words at the same time engages the brain so completely. But unlike apps and videos and animations, picture books leave space for the imagination to fill in the gaps. While reading picture books, our brain is working overtime to tell us all the things that are happening ‘outside’ the picture.

Children’s books are also a great way of teaching children about our society and what it expects of them. Through books, children learn cultural values like helping others, what it means to be a good friend and how to care for the earth. They learn to access emotions and feelings they may not yet be able to consciously articulate and they learn how to better express themselves. Don’t underestimate the value of extending a child’s vocabulary. Words are the building blocks of ideas. New ideas cannot come into existence unless we have the means to express them. A good vocabulary is a gift for life.

Most of all I like writing and reading books because they are one of life’s simple pleasures. Books for children should be fun, adventurous and enjoyable – and not just for the kids!

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My Blog: From Mouths of Babes

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My publisher: Wombat Books

Other Children’s Authors & Illustrators Who Inspire Me

Children’s Charities That Inspire Me