When you pose the question “What makes an artist?” you are bound to get a wide range of answers, depending on who you ask. For those like author Nicholas Goudsmit, the answers is simple. Passion, dedication and love for his craft. Growing up in Massachusetts, literature came naturally to him in a way that science did not. “I adored reading as a child, [but] it wasn’t until around my sophomore year in high school where I became obsessed with putting words on paper,” Goudsmit said. Encouraged by an English teacher to continue with writing and to follow his interests, he “was hooked, primarily due to the freedom that writing presented me that other classes failed to do.” This journey has brought him to the University of Utah to study English and has provided him with opportunities and outlets to share his work, like publishing his first novel.
The Process — An Art Form In Itself
Goudsmit’s authorial debut is a fiction novel entitled “Dear Vanity.” Set on the small island of Trinity, Ireland, the story follows the fictional travels and trials of its young narrator exploring coming-of-age topics such as purpose, pride and honesty. “I wanted to present some of these concepts in a less direct, more captivating fashion, so combining my love for fiction and gripping setting with some real-world issues was the goal here,” Goudsmit said. The story originated in August 2018, and while most of the original storyline has transformed into what is now published, that framework of this particular hero’s journey has created something unconventionally beautiful. Goudsmit said, “What’s so beautiful about writing is the evolution that your work takes on throughout that process, and accepting that fluidity early on was critical for me.”
To publish his book, Goudsmit worked hand-in-hand with Mindstir Media, a beneficial partnership to help him stay on his feet throughout the process. “The team that I worked with was extremely personable and reliable, which I learned right off the bat is hard to come by in the publishing industry.” The publishing process for “Dear Vanity” was relatively fast. The concept took shape early last year and the book has now been released. Even with something that appears so seamless, Goudsmit acknowledges the challenges along the way. “Every preparatory step, every revision and every bump in the road can feel like a grave setback when in reality, everything is progressing properly.”
This struggle to get published isn’t unique to Goudsmit. Many authors describe this struggle in their work — having to give away a story that was only yours, placing your trust in the hands of those who will produce it and believing in the story you want to tell. Something that sets Goudsmit apart, however, is his grounded passion for his work. I was struck by the way that Goudsmit described the entire process of writing and publishing simply as a “labor of love.” He put a lot of his time, talents and self into creating something beautiful simply because he loves it, even if seeing it to the end takes patience and time. That kind of passion and drive is what makes or breaks freelance artists and Goudsmit is on the rise.
Dedication to the Craft
Between school, work and personal pursuits, Goudsmit writes anywhere from three to four hours a day. Not only does he find it invaluable to his work, but he loves doing it. “I have found that making a routine of sitting down and hashing out even 50 words a day contributes to the joy I find in writing my pieces.” This concept of working at your craft hour by hour is popular jargon in productivity and psychology as of late — ever heard about the “10,000 hours” it takes to master something? It makes a big difference in Goudsmit’s work. “When you start to waver from that pattern, your motivation takes a nosedive, as does your composition,” Goudsmit said.
I was curious to explore more of his writing before I could get my hands on his novel. I found a shorter, non-fiction work of his on Medium entitled “Grade A Incompetence,” detailing his journey through the American education system to emerge as a confused, desensitized master of none — something that many students and peers may understand. The piece is a great read, breaking down the progression away from individualistic advancement and identifying the constraints of unification. Even with a topic so weighty, it’s clear in the way Goudsmit writes that he is passionately motivated to speak in a way that challenges our perception of the world.
In Goudsmit’s own words for his next ventures, “the best is yet to come.” He’s actively working to publish more non-fiction pieces online through Medium and Wattpad. Beyond that, he is looking to start on his next fictional novel. “I am currently shaping the foundation for one based on a personal life story,” Goudsmit said. “I now live by an understanding that everyone has a story to tell, and I am dedicating my life to sharing mine.”
“Dear Vanity” is now available wherever books are sold, and you can find Nicholas Goudsmit on his website or as @nicholasgoudsmit on Twitter, Instagram and Medium.