Wise Words from Roald Dahl

Last Saturday I attended a SCBWI workshop run by the lovely Lizzie Finlay, author of Dandylion and Little Croc’s Purse, on how to write picture books.

At the end of the event she read a quote from Roald Dahl which really struck a chord with me. Roald was comparing the writer’s life to that of a business man.

“I enjoyed work, I really did. I began to realise how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow and fixed hours and a fixed salary and very little original thinking to do. The life of a writer is absolute hell compared with the life of a business man. The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him. If his is a writer of fiction he lives in a world of fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not. Two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained. For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock. The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. … A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.”

Speaking of SCBWI workshops, I’ll be running one next month on editing. If you fancy attending the details are below:

SCBWI North West – Professional Series 2012 – Final Event

20th October 2012 from 2 – 4pm in the City Library, Deansgate, Manchester.

Tickets: £10 for members and £15 for non- members

Refreshments provided

Author Lorrie Porter will be delivering a workshop on editing a novel. Is your first draft completed? Are you ready to start the hard work of editing but don’t know were to begin? It doesn’t matter how long your manuscript is or what age-group you write for, Lorrie’s techniques for perfecting your craft will help you prepare for submission.

A workshop not to be missed for all those ready to take that next step.

To book a place contact Steph Williams by emailing lilyboo147@googlemail.com

6 thoughts on “Wise Words from Roald Dahl

  1. A brilliant quote at a point where I was thinking exactly the same thing! I’ll be there at your workshop too, as I know you’re a technical, structural whizz!

  2. Russell Bittner says:


    Did Roald Dahl EVER say anything that wasn’t true? No doubt he did; I’ve just never read it.


  3. Una Tiers says:

    Great post, I never looked at writing this way. Thanks Roald and Lorrie.

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