Dads and their Daughters

When your a working father who comes home only to be greeted by two playful sheepdogs and a toddler who has a craving for cuddles and being hoisted into the air (much to the horror of my other half), it can seem quite mad to even consider the idea of creating something for your kids.

For me, my writing passion truly started when I was holding Ziva for the first time in the Maternity Ward. She was wrapped up in a white blanket and I was just staring at her closed eyes with a big smile on my face. I began to dream about all the activities we were going to do together as we got older. I always had a passion for the outdoors and I could see us going on bike rides, camping trips, stone hopping over fast flowing rivers and one day complete the ultimate challenge of building a cubby house. But somewhere in my mind their was this ‘voice’ that said to do something more that would help bond us even closer together.

A year later I was reading a bedtime story to her. It was a short book, only about 20 pages, and it was about a girl who had ‘lost her name’. The book was quirky, funny and when Ziva had fallen asleep, I investigated and found that it was written by a group of dads who had given up their regular jobs and decided to start a business writing children’s books.

The idea was starting at me straight in the face. Write Ziva a children’s book.

Simple. In my mind, I thought I was a creative kind of guy and after further research I learnt that most good children’s books are only about 600 words long. How easy would that be? Well, I can tell you now that trying to write a children’s book is a lot harder than writing a long novel. It is incredibly hard. After weeks of scribbling and turning my waste paper bin into a health hazard for an environmental conservationist, I learnt that I simply did not have the niche for it. But was I going to give up? Not a chance.

I began to look back at my own life and I realised I had a great childhood. My parents were never wealthy, but they took every opportunity they could to see that my siblings and I would succeed. It was just unfortunate that I didn’t take advantage of that. From playing computer games to simply not putting in enough effort I soon wished, when I was in tertiary school, that I could restart my life and change a lot of the decisions I had once made.
So I then transferred my ideas from a children’s book to a novel. Now, I’ve mentioned before that when you work during the day and come home to a very demanding child, it can seem hard to even consider the idea of writing a book, especially if English isn’t your forte.

But I gave it a good go. There were times when the only opportunity to write was when it was nearing midnight, and that was for only about forty words before my eyes started to close. Weeks turn to months and you soon realise the momentum you are on and you somehow get this crazy drive that makes you continue writing. In nine months, I completed my first draft. Then I looked up what the next stage was and the standard advice was to go back over it and rewrite it. Painful experience. But it also helped me realise that I was no J.K. Rowling. Some of the sentences I had previously written were just plain awful. I put the blame on little sleep, thanks to Ziva’s part, but the truth goes back to the fact that I simply didn’t study or try hard enough in school. Life lesson #1.

And so that’s what Ziva’s book was all about. Life Lessons. And I would encourage every other parent reading this to have a go at doing the same. Write your children a book. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to have fancy illustrations (the front cover of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ is a stick figure!), and it certainly doesn’t even have to make sense. It’s a book that is between you and your children, and that is something that no one can ever take away from you.

Remember, don’t ever think that your not educated enough for this sort of project. I’m your typical blue collar construction worker and I gave it a good go.

Still not convinced? Got an idea but don’t know where to start? Send me an email. I’ll gladly send you a PDF of Ziva’s book and some ideas on how you can self-publish your own book, without it costing you a cent. I’ll even try to write the first chapter for you. A friend of mine from church taught me how to self-publish. It’s only right to pass that information on.

We need to create a ‘DAD’ momentum in today’s world gents. Writing for your kids is one great way of doing it.

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