Writing For Children Course: Fear Filled Fun


I started my Writing for Children course this week. I arrived, I wrote, I participated. It was very exciting. I have already learned quite a bit, and have thought about my writing quite a lot. So for the next six weeks while the course is on I will attempt to focus more on my writing blog, and less on my mum blog, so I can try and get the most out of it.

After the intro's we had a five minute warm up writing exercise which was themed: ‘Write anything, at all, about your day today.’ I had a ready-made topic – I had just had my first session at the gym since my ‘move more’ resolution:

It was the weirdest half hour I have had in years.

It was called Xpress Cycle.

I could get there. 9am session. I could do it – lunches lunches teeth teeth bags bags – we’re out the door. I look down at my gym clothes like they’re a foreign country, but they’re on.

I drove my car the 10 metres from drop off to the gym’s front door. Why? To save myself for the upcoming exercise? To enjoy the last minute of a normal resting heart rate? 

The room is dark, you can hardly see the army of bikes. There is a mural of a night sky on the facing wall, shooting stars and all. I briefly thought I had passed out from the smell of exercise and found myself in the chill-out room of a 90’s house party.

‘HI!!! Are you NEW???!!’

The instructor: tiny frame, big hair, big boobs.

‘Are you ready to BLAST??!!’

Big voice.

I don’t think I am ready to blast. The seat is uncomfortable on all my girl bits, and surely this is not how high the seat should be, and where do I put my towel? and I think the gears on my bike don’t work, actually I think the whole bike is broken and I should get a new one…


Oh Jesus.

Later on we did another exercise where we wrote about a childhood pet and a backyard, and we stood up to do it. It was a good reminder of how important it is to keep moving as you write, for the creativity of it as much as for the deep vein thrombosis of it.

Somehow with all the participating I was doing I ended up agreeing (practically offering) to send in a picture book manuscript for everyone to read and critique for next week. Cue panic and nausea.

I have swung between feeling very casual about it - 'it is just a critique, to get ideas, it’s a great thing to do’ and ‘it doesn’t matter, it’s not even my best work, just some scraps of nothing on paper really’ - to feeling pure shame and horror as I envision the impending slaughter-done-politely.

I even had a flashback to a verbal assignment I had to give as a 12 year-old-with-a-good-dose-of-public-speaking-anxiety. I stood in front of the class and shook like a vibrator through the whole thing, and then forgot about 80% of what I was supposed to say. That was not the worst part of the flashback though – it was the feedback I had to stand and endure afterward. A class full of well meaning 12 year olds all putting their hands up to say the same thing: ‘It was sort of good, well maybe if you weren’t so nervous, yeah, that was really obvious, that was the main thing really, and I didn’t really know what you were talking about at all, but you know, you tried.’

I possibly would have handled it better if someone had just said: ‘that was COMPLETE RUBBISH and you know it. Now just sit back down, you poor buggar, and have a big glass of wine.’

I will let you know how the critique goes. I feel quite good about the process at the moment. Of course I didn’t submit my best work, just scraps of nothing on paper so it doesn’t really matter…

I might take a big glass of wine.

Just a wee nip for the nerves...

Just a wee nip for the nerves...