Debbie Kahl – YA & Children's Fiction Writer

I love writing… I love creating new characters and absorbing myself into a unique and original world that only I can understand and visualise (well for the moment anyway)… I just wish I had more faith in my abilities.

Unfortunately, the journey of creativity is fraught with challenges and one of them just happens to be self doubt. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve stared blankly at my laptop, willing words to come, before turning around and deleting them just as quickly as they’re typed. And I’m sure I’m not the only writer who feels this way. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I believe that perhaps it’s the self doubt in our ability that keeps us honest and compels us to try just that little bit harder. And funnily enough, what seems silly and a waste of time one day, actually isn’t too bad when you read it again with fresh eyes and a new attitude.

The best advice I’ve ever been given as a writer was to ‘just write’. Sit down, get the words on the page and go from there. It’s much easier to work with a bunch of words and play around with them once they’re there, than to try and work with a blank page.  Simple right? If only! Still, we persevere on our journey because some day, somewhere, someone might just think what you write is pretty awesome. And there’s no better feeling than that! Or so I’m told??? 😉

Have a great week everyone & good luck with your writing! Don’t let the self-doubt creep in! x


{July 22, 2010}   Poetry & Picture Books

Recently I started a series of poetry workshops at QWC with Poet in Residence, Emily XYZ.  For the first session, my very talented friend Robin and I sat quietly in a room full of strangers and listened carefully to everyone else read their outstanding poems. I willed myself silently not to feel out of my depth and questioned the worth of my work.  Here I was surrounded by a group of confident and talented poets, who all had important themes to impart on the world. All I had to talk about was a pair of lonely shoes. I had never felt so out of place. All too soon, it was my turn to read my poem to the group and, after giving the context of my poem – that I’m writing the text of a children’s picture book and not critiquing society – I began to read hesitantly.

There is nothing more frightening than reading your work aloud to a room of strangers and trying to stand on the virtues of what you’ve written. It’s also quite unnerving when the room is silent and remains so, even after you’ve finished. Luckily, Emily XYZ broke the silence and to my complete amazement, told me she loved my poem. A sentiment that was quickly reinforced by the other poets in the room. Even Robin, who has read the poem numerous times, was impressed by the message that came through so clearly when I read it aloud. As Emily so eloquently put it, “What I loved about it is you made me care about those fricking shoes”.  She also told me to never apologise for my work, regardless of what it is. Everyone writes something that touches someone else, and there will be lots of little girls out there who will love going on adventures with my shoes.

Now I’m inspired again to go back to this shoe series which has such an amazing personality, and keep on polishing  these texts. Hopefully it won’t be too far in the future, for everyone else to care about these shoes as much as I do? I can only dream. Have a great week everyone! x

{July 12, 2010}   The Power Of Poetry

Tomorrow I start a series of poetry workshops with QWC’s Poet in Residence Emily XYZ, and I’m a little apprehensive. I’ve never really studied poetry before, despite enjoying writing it. It is also, without a doubt, the area of ‘English’ I am the least confident in teaching – perhaps because I know so little about it. Luckily, I’ve been given the opportunity to learn more about this genre through these workshops. And hopefully, I will be able to tweak the niggling meter problems in my kid’s picture book series. Well that’s the plan anyway. I’ll keep you all posted on my progress. Hopefully there won’t be too much homework.. I have some serious tweaking to do! Have a good week everyone! 😀

et cetera