The Cliché of the Wish


When we’re younger, we’re often told that if we wish for something, the wish will probably come true. As long as we dream for it – as long as our heart wants it – it should come to us. The subtext, of course, is that we deserve it. We deserve to be happy.
Today, I had the pleasure of presenting at a school, as an author, for the very first time. I love authoring! It is so much fun. I got to talk to the children about writing, and how I got to be published. When I asked them what they knew about publishing, one boy said: “You have to not give up, even when people turn you down.”
“Yes,” I said. “I really believe that is the most important.”
When you make a wish, you have to have the guts to work for what you want. You have to have the courage to keep pressing on. Dreams don’t just come to idle, idealistic humans. Dreams come to those who work for them. Dreams must have their roots in reality. If you work hard, and God blesses that work – that’s when you get to where you’ve always wanted to be.

Thought for the Day


The other day, I was wondering to myself why many authors only care about making it to be a millionaire. I’ve met quite a few people who would love to write the next Fifty Shades of Grey, as long it means that they have buckets of cash.
And I was thinking: if we only write for money, why do we write at all?
Fundamentally, as an author, we have to have a better reason for writing than money. We need better goals than that. We need to strive to last, rather than labour to win the world for a day. People’s affections change like the wind. But the work of quality will be remembered, at least by posterity.

Strive to last: a new goal

When You Feel Like Giving Up (#amwriting)


Let’s have a show of hands for all the authors who ever felt like giving up. Today, I was chatting to someone at an authors’ meeting. The man in question said that he gave up for five years, because he just couldn’t see the end achievement. It was so far away. All an author sees at this point are the words on his or her screen – a messy Word document that no one cares about. There comes a point for every author where they just can’t figure out how to continue their work. And it’s that point that will either make them or break them.
The man I was talking to picked up his work again five years later and produced a beautiful book on the history of a particular town in New Zealand. The assortment of photos and the elegant prose made for a fantastic book. Now he knows what his work had the potential to be. But before any of us get there, we suffer.
There’s a kind of magic at the stopping point. And that’s what this article shares with you.

Two Months to Live


Last night I had a dream.
I dreamt I had bowel cancer.
The doctor told me I had two months.
My first thought was: “Guts.”
And I said to the doctor:
“Two months. Right.
I’m a bit upset.
I don’t feel like I’m finished here yet.
I feel like there’s still more I should do.
But I guess that’s life.”
I tried to shrug and then I stumbled out
Told my parents
Tried to figure out how I would tell my students.
Would I see the term out with them?
No, I should say goodbye, quit work,
Spend time with the family.
I kept thinking:
“My seven book series.
I won’t get to finish my seven book series.”
I kept thinking how terrible
That would be.
Would two months be enough time
To finish a seven book series?
There was no way I could do it justice
In two months.
I should put aside work and make memories
With those I loved.
I thought of how I’d miss my family
In heaven.
Then I thought of how heaven would be incredible.
God would take everything away from me now
To give me more later.
But I just felt like there was
Unfinished work to do.
Besides all that, as I got sicker,
I wouldn’t be able to do a thing.

I woke up, and I thought:
“Lord, you could end this life now.
Help me to make every second count.”
All we have on earth
Is a fragile, pale glory
Swiftly broken by the vanishing sun.
We wake to another world
Where there will never be
Another deadline.