Ashley Franklin

Note to self:Don’t get lost in animal stories.

I feel like I am truly getting closer to my dream. Thanks to my overactive imagination, I can almost smell the picture book newness with my name on it. In real life, while I’m waiting to hear back from publishers, I am continuing to write. After all, that’s what you do to avoid stalking your email. Seems logical to me.
I’m drafting 4 new picture book manuscripts at once. (I can’t think one story at a time.) I realized that 3 of them have a non-human main character. For me, this is problematic.
I grew up loving animal stories. They were my comfort zone. Why? They felt like a safe alternative since I didn’t see much of me in the stories I loved. I’ve said before that I had copies of folk tales and all that. Still, I could only relate to them but so much.
Today, I made a vow to draft a manuscript focusing on a human character for every non-human character driven story. That might not mean much to you, but it does to me. To me, it matters. For the little girl whose imagination readily filled with White characters and animals but struggled to imagine someone who looked like her doing similar things, it matters. For the little girl who will always remember being told that she could only be the neighbor or the dog when playing “house” at school because she didn’t match, it matters a lot.
 
 

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Write? Get an accountability partner.

As writers, many of us want the same things. We want to get published. We want that feeling of knowing we have completed something that many others dream of. While on our writing journeys, many of us also want critique partners. (I too have to round some new ones up from time to time.) But, I think an accountability partner is an overlooked gem of an idea.
My accountability partner and I keep in touch weekly. We email each other our goals for the week and do a follow-up once the week is done to see how things went. It’s pretty much a “Way to go, you!” or a “Hey, life happens. Try again next week.” type of thing.
Does this seem overly basic? It’s not. With critique groups, seminars, webinars, conferences, contests, and oodles of other obligations we take on as writers, it’s nice to have someone you can go to that simply encourages you to tackle all of your obligations like a boss. 
If nothing else, you don’t want to look like a chump in front of someone else, so that also increases the chance that you’ll be more productive than usual.
Go on and get some accountability. You might like it.

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