OK, OK, I did it again. I lost my poop. I took my eyes off the pleasure of writing and started fretting about how to publish–who would accept me, how would people regard me if I self-published, and on and on and on. This is what I call The Dark Vacuum of Joylessness. I just get sucked into it, and my insecurities take off like a spaceship into hyperdrive, when the hyperdrive actually works, that is. (Star Wars nerd!)
After chatting with loved ones and fellow writers, praying to God, and then just being quiet, I realized one thing: It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of me. I just have to believe in myself.
Sure, this is a new project to me, but writing is not new. I’ve been writing for decades. This is just the first time I’m prepared to go all the way. (Saucy thing, I’m talking about completing a writing project and then holding a book in my hands!) I began ‘Cosm in May 2014, just as something to take my mind off my chronic pain. Then it became something more, something special, and I really started caring about the characters and the story. Writing made me happy and it took me to a different place where I didn’t have to think about my disability. It gave me joy.
My ambition was never to get traditionally published and be famous. I just wanted to write. I always have to remember that. Of course, it would be marvellous if people loved my story as much as I do, but I suppose every writer wants that. It’s like having kids. Other people might not love them as much as you do, but they are yours, and you’ll love them no matter what.
When we create art, I think we should do it for the sheer pleasure of creating, and not for getting some sort of validation. When I write songs, I don’t think they are less legitimate because they aren’t produced by a record company. A song is a song whether EMI knows about it or not. So, why would a book be less of a book if a major publisher didn’t print it? Oh I know, you get more exposure and perks for sure, and it would be awesome, but before that happens, your work is still a book! That makes you a writer.
All that matters is that I take myself seriously as a writer. If I don’t, then why would anyone else?
When I asked my husband what’s the worse that can happen, regarding my writing, he replied, “That you don’t finish the book.” He’s constantly redirecting me to complete the story and not worry about anything else for the moment. Good advice, actually.
To date, I’m past 100 000 words, hoping to keep the project under 125 000. But for now, I’m just going to focus on finishing the draft.
And I’ll remember to keep feeling that joy.
Cait Gordon has been a senior technical writer in high tech and government organizations. She is currently a Web Developer consultant for Dynamic Canvas Inc., and assistant to the Executive Director at H’Art of Ottawa. She also enjoys her crafting business, Cait Cards.