What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was a little, I used to love being asked the same old question a grown up asks a child when they’re not a 100% sure of what to say to them: What do you want to be when you grow up?

(This is usually a prelude to or followed by the other old classic: How’s school?)

What do you want to be … is a great question though. It’s all about dreams and who doesn’t like that?

Last summer, I watched our Year 6 children say goodbye in their final assembly. They sang songs, danced dances, they made us laugh and feel like weeping.

It’s tradition at our school for all the children to stand on the stage and say, one by one, what they would like to be, one after another.

We had lots of footballers and dancers up there that day. A forensic scientist. Two doctors. Basketball players and singers.

One girl said she would like to be a teacher. We beamed at her.

But there were no writers in our midst.

It made me feel a bit sad that no one thought that being an author would be their dream job. What’s not to like? (Maybe the test-weary Year 6s would have had an answer for me.)

But then I thought about one of the really lovely things about writing: The secrecy of it all. It all comes from just you sitting down and writing words down one day, no fanfare or cameras or microphones.

No one knows you’re doing it.

Unless you tell them, of course, but if you don’t want to, you can quietly get on with things until you might have something that resembles a book in front of you.

I like to think that there were a few wannabe authors up on the stage that day.

Maybe they just didn’t know it yet.

Or maybe they were keeping it a secret.


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