Writing for the Cat

Writing for the Cat

I’ve seen plenty of advice on creating and making that, in one form or another, advocates that in the absence of an audience, you write for yourself. Or, in another vein, we’re advised to avoid trying to make things we think the market wants. I’m going to go against one and clarify the other: Create for others, but be your most honest self.

And if you don’t have a specific audience in mind to write your novel to, write to your pet. Your job is to get to the deepest parts of you in making your work. Getting it out is paramount, and if you can’t overcome the fear of making it for other humans, you can start by making the things for your fur-person companions.

Your cat is a valid substitute to create for, at least for now. What you’re aiming to do is take the focus off yourself.

The point of art is to illuminate the human condition. Art is better shared. Additionally, creating for others can keep us honest. Nobody wants to be thought of as a hack or careless. We can give ourselves permission to be shitty, as long as we care about what we’re doing and want to get better. Facing the fear that someone else won’t like the stuff we do is a necessary step in creating for other people. What matters is that it’s out there, and we contribute our own small offering in tribute to the art we’ve absorbed ourselves. Sometimes to its ultimate sacrifice, I agree, but fire can be cleansing as much as it can burn us.

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