It's okay of you cannot be productive right now. Just focus on staying healthy and taking mental-health breaks.
Editing, Health, Tips

Being Productive During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In short, it’s tough. Really tough.

Because of my health risks, I’ve been at home for a while now. It’s difficult not to be distracted by articles of people blatantly ignoring the mandates to stay home. Even to this day, some people are just not understanding how important it is to flatten that curve. COVID-19 might not present symptoms right away, so by gathering in groups, people are not only risking their own lives, but others as well. This is the information health experts are telling us. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even said today, “Enough is enough. Go home and stay home.”

My husband Bruce and I are both working from home these days. While he’s been extremely productive, my productivity has taken a different route. I started off in 1000% Disability Advocate Mode, imploring people to think especially of seniors and/or immunocompromised people of any age. I even asked some contributing authors of the Spoonie Authors Network to make a video with me, so watchers can see we’re humans, not statistics. I’ve been communicating with other advocates, bouncing ideas off them as to how best to flatten the curve and make wise choices.

This video has closed captioning on YouTube.

I’ve also advised fellow authors not to be hard on themselves if they can’t write at this moment. It’s perfectly acceptable to not be okay right now. It makes sense to have one’s brain occupied by making safe practices a priority.

That being said, I feel it’s also important to give ourselves mental breaks. Some of my friends are sharing their art online, others are performing live readings, others are bingeing their favourite shows or diving into books. I’ve been attempting to draw again, using a tablet this time, to ease my fingers that don’t fing.

Today, after a week’s delay with my client’s approval, I decided it was time to resume my editing work again. I’m glad I did because it’s the second in a cozy mystery series by Laurie Stewart writing as Delilah Knight. The characters are humorous and charming, and the pace of the story is just right. Also, editing takes my brain to a different place. The news can wait for a few hours. I need to do this.

Be gentle on yourselves. While being at home is not new for me, I recognize it’s new for many. There will be adjustments. You’ll do it! And remember that the more we keep on with social distancing, the better chances for our medical staff to remain healthy and be able to treat those who need their care.

I wish you well, folks. Be safe and be wise.

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Stay safe and stay home to protect yourselves and others during the COVID-19 pandemic!

Dynamic Canvas Inc. offers editing and web design services for artists, independent authors, and small businesses. Contact us today!

Part of the book cover design from Michele Sabad's First We Eat, the Wolf Flow Press logo, and the first book cover of Delilah Knight's Miss Vee Series
Editing, Web weaving

Looks like 2020 is off to a flying start!

Wow, it’s only February 5, and this year is already off and running. In January, Cait edited the second book from author Michele Sabad. First We Eat is a charming food-based memoir (but don’t ask for “real” recipes), and it should be available in March 2020. You can follow Michele’s blog for more information. We wish her as much success as with her first memoir, Camp Follower: One Army Brat’s Story.

Author Jamieson Wolf asked us to do a refresh of his indie publisher’s website, Wolf Flow Press. You can find his memoir Little Yellow Magnet and his bestselling poetry collections among the titles!

Book cover: Miss Vee and the Lecherous Lawyer, by Delilah Knight. A woman with grey hair and glasses, wearing a purple and black dress stands in front of a green shed that's beside a russet farm house.

We have a new author client joining our Dynamic Canvas Inc. family! Speculative fiction author Laurie Stewart is writing as Delilah Knight to bring us the Miss Vee cozy mystery series. Cait will edit the first two books in the series in February and March. We hope this is the start of a beautiful business relationship!

Book cover: A brick wall with faded beige, russet, yellow, and aqua paint has Nothing Without Us spray-painted in black.

Cait and co-editor Talia C. Johnson were over the moon to find out the Nothing Without Us anthology would be part of the syllabus of a Canadian disabilities study this winter semester at Trent University. The course is being taught by eight-time Prix Aurora Award winner Derek Newman-Stille. So, that was great news because having this work taught in universities was a much desired goal!

Not a bad beginning! Can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring!

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Why be static when you can be dynamic?

Dynamic Canvas Inc. offers editing and web design services for artists, independent authors, and small businesses. Contact us today!

We're the heroes, not the sidekicks. Nothing Without Us cover shown on a cellphone, tablet, and as a paperback.

Where did I go in 2019? Well, I’ll tell you!

Whew! It’s now 2020, and I’m back to my regularly scheduled program as a freelance editor. But where the heck was I for most of 2019? Assigned to an amazing project!

In 2017, I pitched an idea to the Director of Renaissance press about an anthology where all the authors would be disabled, in order to elevate their voices, because our representation is often so poorly written in fiction. By the summer of 2018, we were given the okay to post a call for submissions for the Nothing Without Us anthology that fall. The title was inspired from the anthem “Nothing About Us Without Us.”

Stories poured in for co-editor Talia C. Johnson and me to read through. We were specific in saying we wanted protagonists who identified as disabled, Deaf, blind, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or who managed mental illness. We ended up with 22 own-voices, multigenre short stories that we simply loved.

Working with a small press meant we needed to crowdfund the project to pay our authors. In April of 2019, we exceeded our goal on Kickstarter, which meant we could pay our contributors professional rates! Talia and I were so thrilled. Nathan Fréchette of Renaissance had been instrumental in the success of it. It’s so nice to have an expert by your side when you’re a crowdfunding noob.

But wow, I had no idea being a co-editor in chief of an anthology was year-long work. From this point forward, if I meet an anthology editor, I think I’ll salute them or bow or something. Still, it was a labour of love, and now Nothing Without Us is available on Kobo (ebook and audiobook), Amazon (ebook and paperback), and of course, from Renaissance (audiobook, e-book, and paperback). It’s also sold at Glad Day Bookshop (499 Church St., Toronto) and will soon be at Another Story bookshop (315 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto).

Being a disabled and neurodiverse author and editor myself, it’s fantastic to meet creatives with similar lived experiences and with other lived experiences, so we can grow in knowledge. The authors of this anthology were also really excited for each other’s stories. We built a little community that’s supportive and accepting.

What a wild and wonderful ride.

And now, back to nurturing the upcoming works of my lovely clients!

Happy new year, everyone! May it bring joy and peace to you.


ID: Person in a business suit holding a sign that obscures their head. The sign says: THEY
Customer relations, Editing

A few words about using the singular they…

We will respect your gender and your pronoun.

That’s it. No argument or debate from us.


Cait Gordon
Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is Madam President of Dynamic Canvas Inc. She is also the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers (2019). When Cait’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She has recently teamed up with co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (call for submissions are ongoing until January 31, 2018.)

Woman typing on laptop on a wooden desk, with a coffee.
Editing, Tips, Writer's cramp

Editors aren’t your friends. That’s a good thing.

What makes me laugh about the title of this article is that I am friends with many of my clients. However, when I’m editing their work, I put away my friendship hat and don my editor’s cap. Once my red computer glasses go on, I’m all about making things professional.

While it’s great to have buddies who will encourage your writing no matter what, if you’re an indie author who’s serious about publishing a polished product, you need an editor. I’m not saying this because I want more clients; I’m an author myself, and I cannot edit my own work like someone else can. The reality is that after a while, you don’t recognize your own manuscript’s flaws anymore. You’ll perceive what you’ve intended to write and not what you’ve actually written.

Editors who are worth paying for will be on board with you, so you have a shared vision of making your manuscript the best it can be. That might come with a sting at times. I’ve had to deliver news where I needed to request a resubmit, because there was too much to change. Sometimes there’s homework the author must do to get a manuscript editor-ready. (By the way, I wrote Seven Tips for Preparing a Happy, Shiny Manuscript to help authors with this!) Other times, I’m marking up my findings and adding comments in the margins when I need to question things, make suggestions, or explain my reasoning behind changes that I think should happen.

My job is to tell you what your friends might not want to say. You want that, trust me, because if I spot things, then most likely people who aren’t your friends will notice, too. The last thing an author wants is for someone to leave a bad review or put away your work altogether because it read poorly. Unedited pieces often become distracting to readers.

I do know that it’s expensive to hire just one editor, even one who has reduced rates. But these days indie authors are using crowdsourcing tools like Kickstarter to help raise funds to pay for their team (editors, proofreaders, interior layout designers, and cover designers). I’ve seen successful Kickstarters and think they’re an awesome idea. My client, Dianna Gunn, ran a great one for Moonshadow’s Guardian.

Writing takes a lot of time and effort. Your manuscript becomes your baby. Best not to do shortcuts but have it professionally edited. It’ll read so much better and hopefully will lead to shares and positive reviews!

So, if you have a friend who’s an editor, make sure they are committed to putting their professionalism above stroking your ego. Like I said, sometimes editorial comments can throw you off guard, but a good editor will deliver the news in a constructive and helpful manner.

Don’t be afraid to ask for references! You want to make sure other authors have been happy with the editor you’re considering. A serious candidate will be happy to supply you testimonials from their clients.

Even if they’re your friend.

Cait Gordon
Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is Madam President of Dynamic Canvas Inc. She is the author of Life in the ’Cosm (Renaissance) and The Stealth Lovers (Renaissance 2019). When Cait’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. Cait has also recently teamed up with co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (call for submissions are ongoing until Dec 31, 2018.)