Most people think that writing kids’ books is an idyllic pastime, carried out by lazy, scruffy, procrastinating wasters like me. To a certain extent they’re right and it’s brilliant fun when it’s all going well. My four year-old recently asked, “What does Daddy do in his shed all day?” And my wife replied, “He sits about, drinks tea and makes his imaginary friends do weird things.” I suppose she’s got a point – it’s a great laugh and there are days when I think I’ve got the best job in the world. Well, playing for Everton or being chief taster at McVities or teaching beautiful women how to snowboard might be a little bit better but you know what I mean.
Then again, some famous American writer (and I’m way too lazy to research who it was so let’s just call him Lotus Krudd) once said something along the lines of, “People think writing’s easy but let me tell you, it’s the most difficult job there is.”
Obviously this is nonsense. I’m not a fan of writers who bare their tortured souls and bore everybody’s pants off by moaning about how miserable and painful their job is. I’ve plucked turkeys, cleaned old people’s homes and weighed cardboard boxes for a living and I can tell you I’d rather be doing this any day of the week.
But then again… there really are writing days when my brain feels fit to explode. I’ve recently been re-drafting the follow up to the Jam Doughnut That Ruined My Life (called The Chicken Nugget Ambush – out sometime next year hopefully) and it’s weird how stressed out I’ve been getting over this. I mean, I’m hardly performing heart surgery on a sick hamster or mining blood diamonds or trying to infiltrate South American gun-running gangs. But still, I keep finding myself headbutting my laptop and farting angrily because I’m struggling to figure out how I can make chicken nuggets seem even more sinister than they already are.
What a weird way to spend my time!
I suppose it’s all relative. If you care about it, it’ll stress you out sometimes. It helps to keep it all into perspective though. Nobody’s going to spontaneously combust just because my chicken nuggets aren’t evil enough. The best advice I’ve ever read about writing (and again I’ve no idea who said it) was, “Whenever you find yourself getting worked up, take a step back and remember that the world doesn’t really need another book. It’ll take the pressure off.”
Wise words I guess.
But hang on though, I’ve just had a thought. If I follow this, I might never finish the book at all. I might give up writing and run off to join a cult or something. Hmmm. Maybe a better bit of advice would be: “Life’s too short to stress about your imaginary friends. There’s no situation that can’t be improved by eating a biscuit.”
I think I’m going to follow that advice now…