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.

Dcan square logo

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!

ID: Woman at desk (with a cell phone, and a cup of tea) writing in a notebook.
Author Life, Editing, Writer's cramp

Indie Authors Are Real Authors

Last week I felt rather dismayed to read about a writer on Twitter who felt they needed to defend their position as being a real author. They are an independently-published (indie) author, and I can’t believe there’s still this ongoing debate as to whether indie authors are as “valid” as traditionally-published (trad) authors.

Actually, I wasn’t dismayed; I was downright upset.

My books were published by a small press, so I suppose I’m technically a trad author, but what if I hadn’t been signed by Renaissance? Would Life in the ’Cosm not be a real book just because I would have published it myself? If the book and myself weren’t real, then what were we? Imaginary?

As an editor, I mostly work for indie authors, or those who have had both indie and trad published works. Let me tell you, if they are hiring me, right from the start you know they care about their work. Anyone who employs one or more editors wants to publish a good quality product. And it’s not just editing that comes into the equation. My clients have even budgeted for cover and layout designers. One client told me they wanted to know exactly who they were working with, and fiercely chose to independently publish their book.

Are there “self-pubbed” authors who release poor product? Sure. It happens. But painting every indie author with the same brush is dead wrong, in my opinion. They work hard at writing, gathering their team, raising funds through kickstarters, and promoting their work. They are more real than a lot of people I know, and I admire the work ethic of my clients and other indie authors I know—immensely.

They’re rock stars, really.

One of the worst things we can do in the writing community is to be snobs. That is so unproductive and well, icky. What I love is to see authors—whether indie, trad, or not-yet published—coming together with encouragement and support. I’ve met some wonderful people in the Canadian speculative fiction world and on Twitter. Some Twitter chats like #JustAddTea, #HappyWritingChat, #WriteStuff, #WeeknightWriters, and #StoryDam have really fun people in it. We celebrate each other’s accomplishments and provide virtual support when one or more of us feels bleh.

But this putting-down thing? Don’t do it. It only makes you come across as snooty and frankly, is a career-limiting move. Remember that every writer you encounter is also a reader. Be kind, generous, and encouraging, and people will recommend you as a nice human. They might even signal boost your work to others.

But really, be nice without expecting that reward. Because as Major Frank Burns from M*A*S*H used to say, “It’s nice to be nice to the nice.”

So, say it with me: All writers are real writers.

Unless of course, they are imaginary. But writers in novels count, too, even though they’re not real.

Hmm. I’d better stop this train of thought before I get metaphysical…

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.)


Editing, Recommendations, Writer's cramp

Back from my spring hiatus. Guess what I did?

I received some interesting advice from a professional last year: You’re always working on someone else’s book. What about making time for your own?

Being an author in my own right, I felt that was a fair question. I’d begun a prequel to my first book (Life in the ’Cosm) called The Stealth Lovers, and as this was an origin story about two beloved warriors, Xax and Viv, reader excitement only fuelled my desire to complete the novel. I can thank NaNoWriMo for the push to write about half of the manuscript in November 2017, but I had far to go.

Then my freelance editing job kicked in again in January 2018. I’d completed style edits for A Desert Song (Amy M. Young), Little Yellow Magnet and Life and Lemonade (Jamieson Wolf), and Moonshadow’s Guardian (Dianna Gunn). All great books, but four manuscripts in three months left me a little frayed around the edges. I needed a breather.

So, I consulted with another client who had no problem with rescheduling to June. That left me with April and May for my head-clearing break.

I coined it my writing-cation. I took April to set (and achieve) a goal of 25,000 words to complete The Stealth Lovers‘ ugly first draft. Then I made it prettier in May and sent it off to beta readers. (The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive with much-valued constructive notes.)

When June 1 came around, I felt refreshed! Funny, it might seem odd that I regrouped from words by writing more words, but penning a novel is very different than editing one. My clients expect a certain kind of perfection from my performance. As an author, especially doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April, all I have to do is get the words down. They don’t have to be pristine; they just have to map the story. And yes, even though there was some self-editing in May, it’s still not the same. I made the beta-reader draft as nice as I could for this stage of the game, but I knew more of a fine-tooth-comb editing would happen after I incorporated their feedback. My deadlines with writing are self-imposed, which also takes the pressure off.

So, I’m really excited about having another book in progress. I hope to submit it to Renaissance in the late summer or early fall. If you’re interested about my life as a writer, please visit my author page!

And what am I doing now? I just started editing The Rabbit Paperweight by Robin Elizabeth, who is a most wonderful and compassionate human. Her book has me riveted so far.

All my authors are massively talented. They make my job such a pleasure. I’m glad I work for them, but I’m also glad that I remembered to work for me, too.

Such is the existence of an author and an editor.