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The Good Ol’ Days

I suppose there’s an argument that kids today have it so much better than we ever did growing up.

Kids born now will never know anything other than smart phones, tablets and having the world at their fingertips which is only a touchscreen away on the World Wide Web (yes, we did actually used to call it that!).

I’m actually glad I had the chance to grow up in the 80’s and 90’s when we didn’t have any of that.

Racing home on your bike on a late summers evening after being out all day with your friends, trying to beat the street lights turning on because your mum stipulated before you left that morning you had to be home before dark and definitely before those lights kicked into life.

Having an electronic ‘Speak and Spell’ toy, a top loading VHS video player and a calculator watch was considered to be cutting edge technology and don’t get me started on when Nintendo released Super Mario and Tetris in 1986!

Ok, perhaps I’m laying it on a little thick there, but times were much simpler back then and it’s due to this lack of technology that I found my real love – reading.

I always loved reading when I was younger. I realise that makes me sound like the Roald Dahl character, ‘Matilda’, but the truth being told, I wasn’t reading ‘Dickens’ or ‘Shakespeare’. I would enjoy getting lost in comics with The Beano being my favourite. In fact, Dennis the Menace was my idol growing up. My bedroom was a shrine to him with duvet, wallpaper, curtains, carpets and light shade all adorned with pictures of Dennis and his trusty dog Gnasher.

Obviously I wasn’t reading famous novels when I was younger (although when a little older I did fall in love with the works of the aforementioned Roald Dahl), but reading comics and comic annuals ignited my passion for reading and ultimately, writing.

As you’ll know I have a young family all of which have always loved stories at bedtime. Rhyming books have always been a popular choice with our children with the works of Julia Donaldson being favoured most. Who doesn’t love The Gruffalo?

I’m not one for having a ‘bucket list’, but there are certainly things I have always wanted to do and writing a children’s book is definitely something I would love to achieve one day.

So I thought why not give it a go? Why not have a go at writing a rhyming bedtime story?

And so I have.

But what has all this got to do with gardening I hear you ask?

Well the story I’ve written is about growing your own food. It’s a rhyming story starring a little boy named Sonny. Sonny is curious about growing his own food and it just so happens that his daddy knows just how to do this and helps Sonny do it for himself.

(I can’t think where I came up with that storyline from?!)

It took me a while to complete and definitely tested my rhyming skills, but we got there.

It’s not only a story for young children to enjoy at bedtime before they go to sleep. It’s also a story to ignite their passion for growing their own yummy food, showing them just how easy it can be and something which they can do as soon as they wake up.

Needless to say the next stage of writing a book is quite tricky. I’m not sure if Google has been a help or a hindrance in my quest to be published because there sure is a lot of information to read and knowing which way to turn next is certainly hard to fathom.

So as it stands, I am currently contacting dozens and dozens of agents and publishers to see if my work is good enough to actually go to print. This task it has to be said is pretty soul destroying and nerve wracking to say the least. Putting yourself and your work out there, especially when the ‘unfortunately on this occasion’ responses come rolling in, can be very testing.

You definitely have that feeling of – ‘Is it actually any good?’ and ‘Have I wasted my time?’.

I obviously realise that there are thousands of people just like me who all have a story to tell and I’m sure publishers and agents are inundated with works just like mine. Having a thick skin is definitely something which is very much needed if you want to become an author as I am finding out on a daily basis.

I suppose this blog could be something I look back and reflect upon when I’ve just had the next instalment of my rhyming bedtime story books published.

Maybe this blog could be ‘Part 1’ of the journey and the next instalment or, ‘Part 2’, is something I will be writing at some point with positive news?

You never know, one day you may be reading one my books to your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews perhaps?

At the end of the day my original goal was to write a children’s story that rhymes; which I’ve done.

I’m really proud of that achievement and if nothing comes of it then the smile on Sonny’s face when I read it to him the first time is definitely reward enough for me!

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