This week I decided to interview myself to give you a bit of an insight into who exactly I am. I discovered whilst doing it that I actually learned a little bit more about myself too!
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m a novice writer at the beginning stages of writing the first ever children’s novel that I’ve ever fully committed myself to. I’ve recently decided to take a year off from training to be a primary school teacher and so am taking the time to dedicate myself fully to writing.
What kind of thing do you write?
As I mentioned, I am a very novice writer and so I am writing as much as I can at the moment, not limiting myself to one particular genre as I find that with every piece I write I gain a wealth of experience. I’m hoping to be a children’s writer and am currently focusing on a children’s novel whilst also writing short stories for practise.
When did you first seriously pick up a pen and start writing?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child of about 8 or 9 years old but I’ve only seriously considered it as something that I could really go for in the last month or so.
Why do you write?
I’ve been a book worm for as long as I can remember and have always loved the idea of writing children’s books. For me books have always been other worlds for me to fall into and get lost in and I would love to be able to create another world for other children to enjoy. If I could write something that just one child loved I would be very happy.
Where you do find your inspiration?
I don’t really know where the inspiration for specific ideas and characters come from, they just seem to appear in my mind when I’m thinking of something entirely different. I read a lot, especially children’s books but find these are normally the source of great anxiety for me rather than inspiration, as I can’t help comparing them with my own writing. I’m very much inspired creatively by the environments around me and I find specific places incredibly motivating for writing.
What are your ambitions as a writer?
Ideally I l would like to become an accomplished children’s writer, having several books published. I understand that there is very little money in writing and that doesn’t concern me so much. I’d like to have my books read and loved by children and if any money comes my way as a result of that then that would be a nice bonus. My ambition right now, however, is to simply get this book finished to a standard that I am personally proud of.
What do you read?
I read very widely, anything and everything. My favourite author is John Steinbeck, but I also love the works of Terry Pratchettt which couldn’t be more different. My all time favourite book is Jostein Gaarder’s The Solitaire Mystery, and have a tattoo dedicated to it.
In terms of children’s books I’m very much a Harry Potter fan, having read the books first a couple of years ago after resisting for so long. I also love Philip Ridley, Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman. I have a particular love for dark children’s stories.
These are just a few, it would take an age to list of the books and authors that I love.
What are you reading at the moment?
At the moment I’m reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman which I’m really enjoying but which is also making me very anxious about my own writing which I can’t help comparing it with!
Do you set aside a certain amount of time to write or do you write when the mood takes you?
I have a very strict timetable for my writing. I’m a big procrastinator and so I find that if I don’t have a timetable to stick to I’m likely to achieve nothing at all. I also have a set number of words that I want to write each day. At the moment that is 1000 words a day, Monday to Friday. It’s a small amount and so is not at all daunting whilst also being a good minimum amount to aim for each day. I’m treating writing as a full time job at the moment, with a daily weekday timetable of 9-5, with regular breaks for exercise and food scheduled in too.
Do you find it difficult to give up ownership of your writing to a reader or do you enjoy letting others read your work?
Previously I have been very conscious about letting anyone read my work but now I’m quite happy to publish stuff on my blog and to ask for other people’s opinions. I know that I have a long way to go before I am an accomplished writer and everyone has to start somewhere so I’ve stopped being self conscious about sharing my work. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still get a bit down-hearted when I’ve written something I felt was good that gets a poor reaction from others though!
How do you like to unwind when you aren’t writing?
I love all things creative and spend a lot of time painting and sewing. Writing can mean long periods of time sitting still and so I make sure that I do yoga and walk everyday which I find really relaxes me and clears my mind. I’m currently obsessed with vinyl and my favourite way to spend a weekend afternoon is rifling through the contents of a record shop and spending my limited money on new records to take home and indulge in.
What advice would you give to those thinking of picking up the pen to write?
Go for it! I put it off for a long time thinking that I wasn’t a good enough writer before realising that I may well be better than I think and that I wouldn’t find out until I gave it a go. Having started giving it a go I now know that I’m not good enough yet but that with practise I can only get better and so why not keep on with it.