Happy birthday Jane Austen! My favourite author would have been 240 years old today, which is pretty damn old. If you’re not currently wearing a party hat, you need to click over to my post about how to fall in love with Jane Austen, and then come back with the appropriate level of excitement. I’ll wait right here.
Ready? OK. There are a ton of things I have Jane Austen to thank for: Northanger Abbey got me through a miserable home-sick month when I first started au-pairing in Italy; Sense and Sensibility inspired me to write pages and pages of my own (pretty rubbish) fiction as a child; Pride and Prejudice gave me a repertoire of hilarious lines to quote at my father. But there’s another thing that Jane Austen gave me: pretty much every job I’ve ever had.
It started with Bustle—and a piece I pitched them about how, secretly, all Taylor Swift songs are about Jane Austen’s men. At that point, I was hoping to change my career path to pursue writing, but had no idea if anyone would even want to read my stuff. So when Bustle responded saying they’d like to publish it, I knew I was ready. I quit my job in film, and never looked back.
Then I pitched to HelloGiggles—and once again, Jane Austen took a central role. I had just read an article about a secret kiss in Jane Austen’s Emma, and I couldn’t wait to share the news. HelloGiggles published it and invited me to become a paid contributor, and just like that, Jane Austen had got me another writing gig.
Since then, almost every publication that has contacted me to write for them has cited one of those first articles as the reason they’re interested. I mean, you could say that suggests my writing hasn’t improved over the last 7 months… but I’m choosing to believe it’s just because Jane Austen is that powerful. Right?
Now, I write full-time, and get to read books as part of my job. Dream-come-true—and it’s all thanks to my pal Jane. So, happy birthday Jane Austen, and thanks for getting me where I am today!