Almost a year has passed since I first attended the regional New England Society Children Book Writers and Illustrators conference. Three overworked manuscripts that I tinkered with over 10 years, and a colorful but lackluster portfolio were my body of work. This is not self-deprivation, just honesty that has helped me move forward.
During the conference I noticed women far outnumbered the men. 80/20 would be my guess. As I researched Picture books I found that male authors contributed far more than 20% to the shelf. In fact most of my favorite P/B authors are men. I began wondering why men seem to have a higher success rate.
My theory: Women write like Moms – Men write like Dads. Simple I know but major. Moms are the nurtures, teachers, instructors and disciplinarians and Dads have a more playful roll with children. (Please do not get upset by these comments I know Moms and Dads are a LOT MORE, and this is not war of the sexes just general observations)
Six months after the show I had a dream: I was pitching an idea and I said “my general hook for my stories was friendship” A booming male voice said “What the heck are you writing about friendship for?” Weird, I know but it got me thinking about how my behavior changes when I want to delight children. I am goofy and without self-consciousness. I get down on their level and play. This is what I needed to bring to my work.
As 2015NESCBWI conference approaches I reflect on my professional growth and know that I am closer to publishing because I am producing new work. This year I will have four fresh stories written to fulfill my life’s mission of spreading joy.