Friday, January 20, 2012

Signing my First Contract

My birthday was on Tuesday, and I received a special and unusual present in the mail: a contract from Highlights Magazine to purchase one of my short stories.

I have to say, I thought that when my first contract showed up for my fiction work--and from competitive Highlights, no less--I'd feel this tremendous validation. And hey, when I opened the letter, I definitely fist pumped the air. Yes!

I'm ashamed to admit how soon it took me to go from elation to "I can't believe I haven't finished the next scene in my novel, I have so much revision work to do, I wish I was a better, faster writer!!"

So here is a message to my internal editor: Look, you stupid internal editor, Highlights wants my fiction story. Say "congratulations," internal editor. I know it's killing you, but say it anyway.

I think many of us feel this way. If I get an agent, if I get a contract, I'll be a "real writer." Then the goal we work so hard to achieve happens, and we're like, huh, I have a lot work to do. In a way, it's a good thing that the work itself is our true validation. If we waited for encouragement from the publishing world to keep us going, we'd never get books written. The thing is, the story was just as good before I received the contract. I was simply fortunate that an editor liked it.

Thank you very much, Highlights, for liking my story. And thank you for teaching me a small lesson about motivation.

-- Kate


  1. "The thing is, the story was just as good before I received the contract. I was simply fortunate that an editor liked it."

    Remember that. :) And very well-put. Congrats!

  2. Awesome, Kate. Take a moment to celebrate. You deserve it!

  3. I think your internal editor and mine must go out for coffee behind our backs. :-) Good for you for remembering to celebrate and for reminding us that validation needs to come from within.

    And congrats again on this awesome milestone!

  4. This is so true. And since your internal editor won't admit it, I'll say it! Congratulations!

    Sometimes I think it has to do with timing. For example, if a contract was a bolt out of the blue, a happy editor calling and telling me right away that she loved my story and was emailing a contract, and then seconds later it was in my mailbox, maybe I would be happier. But reality seems so much slower, and all sorts of lovely things can happen, but they're so drawn out in between with waiting. Or maybe I'm just defending my obnoxious internal editor! ;)

  5. It's the "just a little further" mantra. Times like this call on the internal Buddha and be. Maybe Buddha can sit on your internal editor.

  6. I like this. Just a little further!

  7. YAY!!!!! I'm so happy for you Kate. What an amazing accomplishment. And I totally understand what you mean. I think yay, this is amazing and then ten minutes later, I'm already thinking of what else I need to do. I'm glad I'm not the only crazy person in this world.

  8. This truly gave me a idea on how i need to go with Sample Contracts!@bose


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