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Writer-Talk Tuesday: When the Contract Ends

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

image from mbeckerlaw.com/

image from mbeckerlaw.com

As I posted about last week, I am now no longer under contract for future books. Although it was a few months between the end of my contract for the Matchmakers series (I turned in Turnabout’s Fair Play in May 2011) and when I signed the contract for The Great Exhibition Series (August 2011), at that point, I never felt like I had come to an “end”—because I had three series proposals out with different publishers (two contemporary, and the GE series) and I knew eventually I’d sign another contract.

But what happens to an author when her contract ends and there is nothing else immediately on the horizon?

Well . . . we take naps, first of all, to catch up on all the sleep we lose when we’re on deadline. 😉

In truth, I don’t have an answer to this question. This is the first time I haven’t been contracted—or actively seeking a contract—in almost seven years. And for two years before that, I was in graduate school, working on Stand-In Groom as if it were under contract. Writing for publication, writing on deadline, has been my life for almost ten years now. And I have four series, of which I am very proud, to show for it.

But is this it? Is this all I have to offer the world?

Are these twelve books to be my legacy?

As a single woman who’s known since age twenty-nine that I would never have children, the idea of leaving a lasting legacy for me has been different than it is for most people. I will never have a son or daughter to “carry on the family name.” I will never be like my grandmother, surrounded on her 90th birthday in 2011 by her six children (and spouses), 20 grandchildren (and spouses), and 20+ great-grandchildren (and growing) as a visible, vocal, and vital legacy. Nor like my mom and sister who, next week, get to watch one of their legacies, my niece, graduate from high school (I get to see my niece the week after when we’re both at my parents’ house in Arkansas for vacation).

I’ve known, ever since I started the pursuit of publication, that my legacy is my books. My legacy also includes the people I’ve taught and mentored over the years—even those who might not remember my name. Though my father does not have a son to “carry on the family name,” I’ve managed to do so by having our family name—one that, let’s face it, isn’t well known—out here in cyberspace and on bookshelves. So I feel like I’ve done my part to carry the legacy of my parents. But are the books I’ve written so far enough of a legacy for me?

I know, this sounds like a massive existential crisis—a quandary with no viable answer.

This is but a milestone.

We cannot go through a year without the changing of seasons (some more dramatic than others, depending on where you live). Nor can we go through life without the changing of seasons.

It is a truth universally acknowledged: I will never stop writing.

Even though I’m so happy to be out from under the pressure of contractual deadlines and looking forward to taking a break from writing for a little while to allow myself to recharge my creativity and decide what I really want to work on next, I know that I’ll never be able to stop writing. Writing stories is one of the main ways in which I connect with and understand both myself and the world around me. I’ve been doing it since my early teen years (and coming up with stories long before I started writing them down). It’s the only thing I know, the one constant in my life that has never faltered—even when I’ve been in the pangs of the worst writer’s block I’ve ever experienced.

So . . . what happens when the contract ends?

The same thing that happens every other day of my life. I keep writing.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Melissa Doll permalink
    Tuesday, May 14, 2013 9:47 am

    And what a legacy it is! You are blessed. Thanks for blessing us all with your creative gifts. Praying for God’s guidance as you step into the next season of your earth-walk.

    Hugs & prayers~

    Melissa

    P.S. I am your polar opposite–blessed with many children and NO published books due to time & life demands required to support, raise, and nurture these children!!!

    Like

  2. Tuesday, May 14, 2013 11:47 am

    I want more than 12 books from you. Just saying. 🙂 I finished Follow The Heart last night. Sigh, enjoyed it tremendously as I expected I would and now look forward to the next one. That’ll be the one with Chris Hemsworth starring, right?

    Like

  3. Amber permalink
    Tuesday, May 14, 2013 12:00 pm

    I love this entry. So glad to hear you’ll never stop writing!

    Like

  4. Michelle permalink
    Tuesday, May 14, 2013 7:12 pm

    Kaye, glad to hear you’ll never stop writing. Your books are some of my favorites, and all are on my keeper shelves.

    Like

    • Monday, May 27, 2013 9:31 am

      I Feel The Same Way Michelle. I’M Excited About The “FOLLOW THE HEART” Series.

      Like

  5. Tuesday, May 14, 2013 9:28 pm

    It sounds like you are in a bit of a funk and I don’t blame you. I would be in one also if I were in your circumstances. In my Bible study time this morning I read the secret to getting out of a funk is thanksgiving. Each time we get frustrated we want to say, “Yes, this circumstance is a bummer. But since we are a child of God, our position allows us to see past the circumstance and find reasons to praise God and thank Him anyway.” As I see it thank God, He has given you this creative writing talent that so few people have, thank God for the 12 published books that are out there in the real world for people to read and enjoy, ( which I am one of your fans by the way) and last thank God you have decided to continue writing. I know you can probably think of a lot more things to praise and thank God for about your life. The point is we need to praise and thank God daily for what He has blessed us with and look past our circumstances. God will put you with another publisher. I know He will. You still have many more stories for me and others to read. Thank you Kaye for your willingness to share your talent with others, including me.

    Like

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