I just finished rereading The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald. I first read it when I was nine years old and it’s the reason I wanted to become a writer.
It was first published in 1871 and I’m not sure how I got my hands on it but I’m so glad I did. There were other books I remember before it of course, but when I got to The Princess and the Goblin, something went off in my brain. Kings, Princesses, goblins and magic, I loved it so much, I wanted to write my own novel.
So, I did. I wrote anywhere, anytime and on anything. I’d hand my scribbles over to my grandmother, who lovingly typed out every word for me. I remember her asking me not to write in yellow pencil crayon because it was hard for her to read. I haven’t looked at the old “manuscript” for dozens of years, but I’m pretty sure the story was almost exactly the same as George MacDonald’s. The best part was that I didn’t care if it was good, if anyone would like it, or wanted to read it. I just wanted to get it on paper. I was driven to do it, loved doing it and felt great pride and satisfaction in every page.
My purpose in rereading it now was to see if I could reconnect with that earlier passion for writing, for putting a story down on paper, not caring if anyone else would read it or not. We get so bogged down in whether our writing is good enough to get published, whether other people will like it or not, sometimes the earlier passion escapes us.
It’s been an interesting experience for me, mostly to open my eyes to what kind of a child I was to have read it, loved it and been fascinated enough by it to want to write my own stories. I highly recommend this to any writers out there, to look back and reconnect with their original love and fascination with writing. What was it that sparked it in the first place? Is it still alive and well or could it use some refuelling? I’m now fired up and I can’t wait to get writing my next novel. It’s no coincidence that in that novel, there will be goblins.