Omaha – The story of the struggling writer is common. Aspiring novelists and poets are often rejected time and time again before they find success, if at all. That’s not the story with Britny Cordera Doane. She’s already the youngest published author in UNO history, and she is just getting started.
Doane, a junior creative writing and religious studies double major, wanted to get her major in violin performance at first. To her surprise, it was actually her violin teacher that told her that she should pursue poetry as a career.
“He read one of my poems and said that was what I should be doing,” she said. “It was like an epiphany.”
Doane has already found success as a writer, despite the fact that she is still a student. In February she launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $1,000. She exceeded her goal by $175 in less than a month. The money will be used to buy the first batch of copies to be sold at local bookstores, and Pinyon Publishing has already agreed to do the publishing.
The book, titled Wingmakers, is a collection of poems and illustrations about winged-creatures from Greek and Roman mythology. Never did she imagine that the book would actually be published right away.
“It just sort of happened,” she said. “I went to the publisher that some of my professors had gone through and they just so happened to want it. Usually you get thousands of reject letters before you ever get published.”
Doane, also known as the “Old Market Poet,” can often be found in downtown Omaha with her 1930s Remington Rand typewriter. She sits at a small table and writes about what she sees. Eventually people get curious, they come up to her, and she will write them a poem. She doesn’t have to wave down unsuspecting shoppers to get their interest.
“I may stand obtrusively in the way,” she laughed. “In fact, I kind of like it when not too many people come up.”
Money might not be her motivation, but people are more than willing to pay for her poems. After the customer gives her an idea or inspiration they can choose if they prefer the poem to be handwritten on a canvas, or printed on the typewriter. After about 15 minutes, the piece is finished and is ready to be given as a gift, or hung on the wall as a decoration.
Doane said that people in Omaha have been very receptive to her work. “It has been my platform,” she said. “It’s the city of opportunity. There is so much potential in this place to start something new. For example, like the Old Market Poet, nobody has done that before in Omaha. There are street poets in other cities, but never in Omaha.”
Doane is truly a self-made artist. She credits her success to reading and writing everyday. “It doesn’t take going to workshops, or taking poetry classes,” she said. “I always try to write at least one poem each day. And you can’t let the idea of an audience intimidate you. Write for yourself and let the inspiration come to you. Don’t force it.”
A message from Britny to young, aspiring artists: “You have to be your biggest supporter. There are going to be a lot of people that try to push you down. Some people will tell you that you can’t do something because you are too young.
“Stay true to yourself and have integrity with your art and with your expression.”
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