While watching I was also doing homework in the Writer's Market book for Children's Books Illustrators and Authors. I read the chapter that included a Q&A with several agents, outlining what they do and do not like to see in the submissions that cross their desks. One agent said (I'm paraphrasing): be authentic; write what you know; there's nothing more unique than your own experience.
That's when it hit me: this is why I love Jane Austen (one of the reasons...I could go on for days). She was true to herself, her perspective, her experiences, even the banalities of her daily life. How refreshing.
I don't know why this struck me as so inspirational. Perhaps it's because...well...I can do that. I can be who I am. I can write what I know. My characters can laugh at the things I find funny and cry at the things I find sad. I don't have to overcomplicate; I just have to write.
So, for those of you who are interested, here's an update on my writing career:
- I have submitted five children's picture books and received two rejections & one offer (which I rejected). I'm waiting to hear on three of the five, and I need to resubmit the other two.
- I have started a middle-grade fantasty fiction novel. I'm very excited about it and plan to finish the outline, story plot, and first three chapters during a writing retreat to Marfa, Texas this spring. I want to be able to submit it to agents beginning in May (feel free to hold me accountable to that timeline!).
- I'm submitting a decade's worth of poetry to a publisher this month (wish me luck!).