I have taken on some paid projects and it does not surprise me to say that my name does not appear on any of the paid writing. I have of course become a ghost.
So, in September I met someone on a Septa bus who had a story that he needed to tell. He had just that day received a contract to turn some of his writings into a real deal published book with a paid contract complete with professional marketing and support. I extended my business card and suggested I could help with editing and have since entered into a business relationship to get the words strung together for a publisher to green light the whole thing.
Now in September, we estimated a month to edit the already written words and compile the pages and photos for this very light and fun book that he is convinced is going to be New York Times Bestseller. Needless to say, it's six months later, the book has turned into a completely new story and truly is my interpretation and retelling of his search for nourishment and connection to his mother who sadly passed away a few years ago.
There are days when I grumble looking at the fragments of his memories and fret how I can make this work and keep it on the lighter side as requested by the publisher. There are days when I look at the work I've completed, think about the work that will be out there soon in between pages and feel a sense of pride when I think about how others may be struggling with food and connections with their past as well as moving forward after grief.
And then I get thrown for loop. Every time I feel comfortable with the progress of the project, I swear I open an email or have a meeting and I feel like throwing in the towel - never mind this is six months longer than I thought I would be invested in these words.
At any rate, the latest loop thrown at me was this: I have been requested to have my name on the book as the author. I said earlier that if my name is on the book, it should be written As Told To, but no. I've been asked to have my name in what I believe to be a disclaimer, that this is completely my interpretation of his story.
In short, I have one more thing I'm avoiding writing because I feel very uneasy about it. At the same time, I've worked so long on these words that I do feel like the story needs to be told. It is important and it may be important to folks in ways I can't even imagine. I need to write what will be an introduction or a forward (gonna ask my writer buddies what the difference is to assure I do the right one). And I am going to do my best of course to introduce this story that is complete and being proofed as I type these words. But I remain uneasy at the thought of putting my name on the completed work. I almost feel like I've been paid for the job asked of me and that's it - we're even. At the same time, there is a piece of me that thinks maybe this will be the catalyst to actually being recognized for some writing.
I know I'm floundering here, but that's what is going on in my brain - a floundering with the question why I am working on writing for which I will not be recognized with comfort and why I would not take the recognition for the work when it is being offered to me with a real deal publishing contract - even though it did not originate with my words?