Author Paul Jennings reveals the two words that prompted him to become a professional writer

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Beloved children’s author Paul Jennings spoke about what led to his decision to become a professional writer at the age of 40.

During an interview on The Project on Monday, the 77-year-old revealed he was put off pursuing a career as an author at the age of 12, after receiving a rejection letter.

He confessed he didn’t write again for decades, with a renowned writer telling him two words that gave him the confidence to pursue it again: ‘You’re good.’

Career change: Beloved children's author Paul Jennings spoke about what led to his decision to become a professional writer at the age of 40. Pictured at his home in Melbourne in May 2005

Career change: Beloved children’s author Paul Jennings spoke about what led to his decision to become a professional writer at the age of 40. Pictured at his home in Melbourne in May 2005

Paul said at the age of 12, he decided to send a story into The Australian Women’s Weekly, hoping they’d publish it, only to receive a rejection letter in return.

‘I was so hurt by it that I thought they’re all geniuses, writers, I could never make it,’ he confessed. 

He added: ‘I didn’t have another go until I was nearly 40.’

Devastated: During an interview on The Project on Monday, the 77-year-old revealed he was put off pursuing a career as an author at the age of 12, after receiving a rejection letter

Devastated: During an interview on The Project on Monday, the 77-year-old revealed he was put off pursuing a career as an author at the age of 12, after receiving a rejection letter

Paul said he was experiencing a lot of changes in his life, including the breakdown of his marriage, which left him caring for his four children.

He said he was working as a lecturer at the time, while also studying, and told his boss he wouldn’t have the time to finish his Master’s degree.

His boss told him the lack of a degree would cause him to lose his job, and suggested he pursue something different instead.

Quite the resume: The author eventually went on to write countless children's books. Pictured, some of his stories

Quite the resume: The author eventually went on to write countless children’s books. Pictured, some of his stories

It was then that Paul came back to writing, enrolling in a course in Melbourne, after his boss generously loaned him his car to get there.

He said the course was being run by author Carmel Byrne, who asked everyone in the class to submit a short story.

‘She said, “They are all good, but one has got something special. I’m going to read it out.” I thought, “Please let it be mine.” As we left the class, she said, “You’re good,”‘ he recounted. 

Starting over: He confessed he didn't write again for decades, with a renowned writer telling him two words that gave him the confidence to pursue it again: 'You're good'

Starting over: He confessed he didn’t write again for decades, with a renowned writer telling him two words that gave him the confidence to pursue it again: ‘You’re good’

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