There have been many articles and blog posts about when you can call yourself a writer. When you're published, when you earn money from your writing, when you spend much of your time writing? I know it felt strange when I included 'writer' on my bio for Twitter the first time back in 2011. Was I worthy of that title?
Well, on Monday I was called an author for the first time! Some of you will know that I've just returned from visiting my grandsons in Manchester. Isaac who is six and in Year 1 has been looking at authors and illustrators as part of a class topic. He told me all about Julia Donaldson and her illustrator, Alex Scheffler, and knew a number of her books in addition to 'The Gruffalo'.
'I told my teacher you're an author, Nana,' Isaac said.
It is true that when I retired I wrote a chaptered story for Tom, his older brother, about a little boy who was born in Wales but then moved to Manchester. His secret friend, Dewi the Dragon, joined him in mischief each time he came to Wales on a visit. It was the first fiction writing I'd done for many years and when it was finished and checked I naively sent it off to Pont who had published two Teachers' Notes non-fiction books of mine a few years before. It was rejected - four years on, I can now see why - and so I decided to have enough copies printed for friends and family at a local book-binders. I typed it up and used family photos and Google images for illustrations.
He asked if I would write a book for him and before I left on Tuesday night, we planned a story together including the characters he wanted to be in it. How can I refuse my biggest fan?
I do find writing for children hard, though. 'Tom and His Secret Friend' was far too long and wordy. It had the feel of an adult narrating the story rather than the story being aimed at children throughout. Even now after a few years' writing experience, I don't seem to be able to get the voice right. I often write in the first person when writing stories for adults but I don't think it would work in Isaac's story. Do you write for children? How do you ensure the main viewpoint is that of the child? Any tips and advice would be gratefully received.