12 Thoughts On Writing by Roald Dahl - Mike Jackson

12 Thoughts On Writing by Roald Dahl

Roal Dahl

Roald Dahl was a British writer and world famous for his children’s books including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, The Twits, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach and many more.

He also wrote a series of short stories for adults. My favourite is ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ where a wife kills her unfaithful husband with a frozen leg of lamb. When the police come to investigate she offers it to them saying:  “You must be terribly hungry by now because it’s long past your supper time, and I know Patrick would never forgive me, God bless his soul if I allowed you to remain in his house without offering you decent hospitality.”

Roald Dahl is also well known for where he wrote – in his ‘Writing Hut’ or a shed to you and me. On the Roald Dahl website there are ‘10 Wondrous Writing Hut Facts’ my favourite being number 4:

‘The Writing Hut was central to Dahl’s writing process. He would go down to the hut in the morning with a thermos of coffee, sit down and pull out his custom-made writing board; the board was covered in green baize felt because he found it easy on the eyes. He would then brush off the rubber shavings from the previous day’s work with a stiff clothes brush and sharpen his pencils before starting work.’

12 of Roald Dahl’s Thoughts on Writing

1.”We make realities out of our dreams and dreams out of our realities. We are the dreamers of the dream.”

2. “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.”

3. “Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you.”

4. “Two hours of writing fiction leaves this writer completely drained. For those two hours, he has been in a different place with totally different people.”

5. “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.”

6. “The reason I collect good ideas is because plots themselves are very difficult indeed to come by.”

7. “When you’re old enough to write a book for children, by then you’ll have become a grown up and have lost all your jokeyness. Unless you’re an undeveloped adult and still have an enormous amount of childishness in you.”

8. “Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful.”

9. “A writer of fiction lives in fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not.”

“10. I go down to my little hut, where it’s tight and dark and warm, and within minutes I can go back to being six or seven or eight again.”

11. “When you’re writing a book, it’s rather like going on a very long walk, across valleys and mountains and things […] The highest mountain on the walk is obviously the end of the book, because it’s got to be the best view of all, when everything comes together and you can look back and see that everything you’ve done all ties up. But it’s a very, very long, slow process.”

12. “By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.”

Hopefully these quotes from Roald Dahl will help to inspire you wheever you are on your writing journey.

As for me – I’m off to my little shed at the bottom of the garden to write some more short stories. What about you?

Mike Jackson


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