Children's Books & Writing Stories Once upon a time...  Children's Books & Writing Stories Once upon a time...







I am hugely successful at being a failed writer. Infact so good at it that this is my 60th year of trying to get a book published and miserably failing. Sixty years of rejection slips and writing failure.


To celebrate I am sending out 60 manuscripts to 60 agents and publishers in the hope of gathering 60 more rejection slips. If I achieve that do I fail and become a success because I achieve my target?

My first piece of writing I did at 8 years old and was rejected before I even sent it to a publisher. So I was on to being a loser before I started.


The year was 1957. and not the best year of my life, anyway.  My dad, who I idolised left us. I never, ever saw him again. I had to wear glasses for the first time too, which I was most self conscious about.


I had read Enid Blyton’s Shadow the Sheepdog and I wrote a similar story, in first person, about my grandmother’s dog.  I proudly took the story, in an exercise book, to school to show my teacher and asked her to mark it for me - hoping for a gold star, as I was so proud of it. She told me she was not allowed to, as it would be classed as homework and she would be in trouble if it was thought she was giving me homework.


But then again these were tough days at school when I could be and was hit across the palm of my hand with a ruler for forgetting my Physical Education kit or not being able to recite my times tables.

I was not deterred. I went on to write a factual booklet about the Queen’s visit to Canada in 1957 and lots more items.

Once I started writing I could not stop.


I loved writing, so much that I wanted to be a journalist when leaving school. But at my school everyone was pigeon holed into apprenticeships, factory work or office work. I ended up taking an accountancy qualification in a warp knitting factory office: a perfect job for someone passionate about words.


I took taxation exams which taught me that the three letterboxes I had to replace due to the damage of my manuscripts being returned were tax deductible from any earnings from my writing. But I’ve never had any.


I was desperate to be published so I decided to take a course on writing. Infact, at least 100 courses and seminars and events and talks. I ought to know every minute detail there is to know about writing and getting published. But I obviously know nothing, as still success eluded me.


At regularly intervals there was that loud thud sound on the doormat giving a mighty sinking feeling in the stomach as yet another manuscript was rejected.


Until one day, all of a sudden the thudding on the doormat stopped. You’ve guessed it. Emails had been invented and the rejections were being sent electronically.


But my love of writing never diminished apart from about three years around 2010. I took a course on Writing for Children. But this one temporarily stunned any inspiration, joy or love of writing I had ever had. I feared it had gone forever.


The tutor killed dead everyone of my creations. You cannot write stories about pigs as they are not acceptable subjects for stories in some cultures. Oh yes! So, what about the phenomenally successful Peppa Pig.


You cannot write a story about a double decker bus being carried through the air by balloons. It is not plausible and realistic, so children will reject it as not possible.


Excuse me. What about the film “Up” and a house being carried by balloons. And fact: In 2010 Jonathan Trappe was the first man tied to a colourful cloud of 54 helium filled balloons to cross the English Channel, 22 miles in just over four hours. So 54 balloons lift say 12 stone.


A double decker bus weighs 12.45 tons which is 1,992 stone. 110,000 balloons should lift it, easily. If the bus is filled with 80 people another 50,000 balloons are needed. So it can be done.


In addition if children do not accept stories that are not plausible, how come Peter Pan is one of the most popular children’s books of all time?


But after 3 years of pondering and working all this out I finally found the courage to do another course with author and tutor Karen King (The Cornish Hotel by the Sea - Accent Press Ltd £7.99) who I can thankfully say rebuilt my confidence, big time so that I am back on track again comfortably getting rejection letters by the sackful or email recycle binful.


In addition I have found a new outlet for my writings, my blog and website. This is rewarding because I am able to get my writing out to an audience. Every day a new piece of work is out there for all to see.


But I still dream of and have the need to be officially published. Each day is a day less to achieve it. But surely with such a long, driving ambition over so many years I must achieve it, one day. I don’t think even I am so bad a writer that I can be such a successful writing failure.




"Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs." - Farrah Grayrogers




Happiness is…successfully publishing a book




Life is all about perspective. The sinking of the Titanic was a miracle to the lobsters in the ship's kitchen.

When I was a lad at school around 13 years old, our Maths teacher used to call me Wol. At the end of the year as we were moving up a class I plucked up courage to ask why he called me Wol. He told meit was thename of the deslexic owl in Winnie the Pooh. With my Harry Potter glasses he said I looked like the Wise Old Owl in the Winnie the Pooh stories.


Being the vain person I am I took it as a compliment

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