So You Want to Be a Writer.


There is an elephant in this room and she’s wearing a top hat and dancing the can-can, while singing the entire track listing of Weird Al Yankovic’s seminal 2003 album, “Poodle Hat”.

As in, you can’t ignore her.

The name of this elephant is “Kate’s Blog or lack thereof”.

I have not blogged in, oh, ages.

Mostly this is because I have been busy with the actual … writing. Of things that are not blogs.

Partly, it’s because … you know how the longer you leave a thing, the more it starts to grow into a top-hat-wearing elephant? Yep. That thing.

Val and Al would not be impressed with me.

Who? I hear you ask.

Joking. Obviously. If you’re a writer and you don’t know who Val and Al are, well, *coughs* … do you actually even want to be a writer?

Val and Al are the forces of nature behind the ridiculously popular podcast, So You Want to be a Writer, which is about to celebrate its 300th episode. I have listened to every single one of those episodes. I have laughed. I have actually cried*. I feel like, after all those hours spent listening to these two women – both extremely talented, funny and wise, and also obviously really great friends – that I know them. I know Val’s giggle and Al’s sighs and I know all about Procrastipup and banoffee pie and Bon Jovi and I know that, every time a new episode pops into my podcast catcher, I’m in for a treat.

I listen to them so obsessively that, when I went to the SCBWI conference earlier this year, and met Al Tait, my daughter was beside herself with excitement and said, “Does this mean you’re famous now, too, Mum?”

I have learned so much from these two women.

I have learned that every writer has a different process. And that’s okay.

I have learned that everyone feels like a fraud, sometimes. And that’s okay.

I have learned that it’s okay not to have a plan. I have learned that it’s okay to mess up. I have learned that the only really important thing about being a writer is that you write.

I have learned that sometimes it’s okay to be “fair to middling”.

I have learned that there are many really cool words in the world. And most of them … I probably will never use.

Most importantly, I have learned that the most important thing about this writing gig is the friends you make along the way.

Last week, I went to the most delightful writer’s conference I’ve ever been to, attended by the actual best people and it got me thinking about writing friendships. I feel like I made a few, last week. But my OG role models will always be Val and Al. Val and Al, your friendship is what inspires me the most, along with your love of words – wacky and mundane and every one in between.

I hope that you won’t be too mad at me, for my elephant. I mean, she does the can-can. And I’m pretty sure she also eats banoffee pie.

And she’s raising her pie, now, to both of you. 300 episodes is nothing to sneeze at.

Which … can one of you look into the origins of that phrase, please? Who wants to sneeze at anything? It makes no sense.

Unlike the two of you. The two of you make perfect sense and I can’t wait to see what you get up to next. The only certainty is this: It won’t be anything “fair to middling”.

* Actually. And, I mean, I am a crier. I cry at least once a day. Sometimes at ads. Once, because of brussels sprouts. But rarely at podcasts. And I’ve cried more than once at this one. Because it’s SO DARNED SPECIAL. Also, I now want brussels sprouts. I wonder how they go with banoffee pie …