Before I got my first publishing contract, I dreamed of the day I could call myself a bonafide “author”. I thought my life would be transformed. Transformed how, I wasn’t sure, but I’d walk down the street with a dignified air.

Of course, I got my first contract and I was like Samantha Baker on her 16th birthday. I looked in the mirror and nothing had changed. (And, I will note that the cream they say diminishes dark under-eye circles doesn’t work.) Sure, I was happy—thrilled—but the Tara remained the same. For instance, nowadays:

  • I don’t wear tweed jackets with elbow patches.
  • I don’t sit in Queen Anne chairs, sipping Darjeeling.
  • My toilet doesn’t magically scrub under its rim.
  • I haven’t taken up pipe smoking.
  • I still don’t use words like “forthright” and “verisimilitude”.
  • Joyce Carol Oates has not invited me to dinner. (But I’m only 45 minutes away, Ms. Oates!)

Nope. In fact, I still:

  • Remain in my jammies for 2-3 days at a time.
  • Drown my eggs in ketchup.
  • Do a spot-on impression of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Elmo and Fozzie Bear—while I’m buying groceries.
  • Have zero confidence in my writing at times.
  • Fall into creative slumps.
  • Wear my hair in pigtails.
  • Question my significance after viewing Hubble images.

So, I’m here to say…if you haven’t gotten a publishing contract yet, don’t sweat it. You’re still an artist. You’re still a writer. Heck, you’re even an “author”. Life doesn’t really change when you sign on the dotted line. But…

…maybe it changes after the book is released?!