Tuesday, 1 April 2014

My Dream Job

I had the great privilege of representing the career of Being an Author at the careers convention at the Neale Wade Academy in March last week. There were lots of Year 10 students, and also Year 6 students from some of the feeder primary schools. On the stand next to me was the lovely and super-talented Amanda Hall, who was representing Being an Illustrator.

Attention to detail is so important - note how I've themed my outfit to match the stage curtains!

It was great fun and really interesting to see people from so many different walks of life all so enthusiastic about their chosen careers -  doctors, opticians, photographers, hairdressers, police officers, paramedics, engineers, florists. librarians . . . the pupils were really spoilt for choice!

Thank you to all the students who came and chatted and asked interesting questions and told me all about their dreams and goals. Good luck to all of you, whatever career you decide to pursue.



Best things about being an author?
  • You get to make up stories all day (I could just stop there!)
  • You can spend the whole day in your pyjamas and frighten the postman!
  • You get to meet lots of amazing kids on school visits.
  • You get to share the book love.
  • Sometimes readers say things like "I really like your books!" and it makes you happy all day
  • You can eat biscuits all day
  • You work with editors and agents and illustrators and publicity people and librarians and they are all lovely
Worst things about being an author?
  • Buttons popping off your clothes due to all the biscuit-scoffing is a real and present danger
  • You get biscuit crumbs in your pyjamas
  • Sometimes you don't talk to anyone except imaginary people for days on end and you don't even notice
  • Your children eat a lot of burnt food and wear odd socks
  • Sometimes the stories fight back
  • Now and then you get caught out staring at strangers because the shape of their ears or the way they hold their pen would be perfect for one of your characters . . .

And now the serious part. It's true that it can be very hard to get started and have your books published.  You don't make tons of money unless you are one of a lucky few bestsellers or get a big film deal. You have to be very committed to what you are doing and have lots of stamina to keep going. Most authors have another career before they write their first book and often carry on doing another job at the same time.

On the up side, there is nothing more rewarding than writing a book; harnessing sparks of imagination and working on your story it until it as good as you can make it. Writing also makes life richer; for a writer no experience is ever wasted; the tedious, the absurd, the terrifying, the downright rock-bottom awful will all be filed away to find their way into a story one day.