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A Writing Life.

September 23rd, 2011

SteveBowkettWhy Bother?

As a children’s writer I visit many schools where I enjoy the privilege of meeting and working with my readership. I’ve found that kids can be an author’s greatest support but also his (sometimes unintentionally) harshest critics. As well as learning what children like to read – or why they don’t! – there are other benefits in talking to them.

Disturbingly I’m often asked by children, far more frequently than I used to be – ‘Are you rich? Are you famous? Have you won any awards?’ When I answer no to all of these I always add that what’s important is that writing makes me a modest living but more importantly allows me to make a life. I’m pleased to say that the message often goes home.

I tell children that authors are usually ‘writing themselves inside out’, exploring personally significant values, themes, beliefs, relationships… It works for me. Writing has become one of the most fulfilling parts of my life.

Staying Sharp.

Another facet of my work is writing educational books on thinking and creativity. I started out on this path when, after setting a class a writing task a boy came up and told me that he couldn’t do it. I said, naively, ‘Well just go and think about it.’ To which he replied, ‘Yes but how do I think about it?’ That simple question rocked me to the core and created an imperative to understand more about the creative process and how ‘ways of thinking’ can be made sharper, clearer, more effective. Children are the inheritors of the future and need to be able to think independently and powerfully.

These points also apply to adults. I recall being part of a judging panel for a children’s short story competition – that is, short stories written by youngsters. Refreshingly I was by no means the oldest member of that panel. Some of my fellow judges were twenty, thirty or more years down the line. After our deliberations on the entries we sat more informally over a glass of wine and it soon became clear that writing was not only keeping us young but keeping us going. As one of our number said, ‘I can’t die yet. I’ve got the bloody book to finish – and then the one after that!’

Writing – how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Steve Bowkett became a fulltime writer, author visitor and educational consultant in 1994. He writes fiction for children of all ages and educational books on thinking skills, creativity, emotional resourcefulness and spirituality. To date he has published 57 books.

Feel free to email Steve – steve@sbowkett.freeserve.co.uk (website currently undergoing a redesign).

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