I’ve been up since 5:15 this morning. And not by choice. Mosey decided he was ready to roll full-force then, and so Meander and I got up to play with the little man. Now, of course, at just before 7am, he’s sound asleep, and so is Meander. Alas, I must begin work and farm chores so . . . coffee here I come.
But this morning, as I refereed puppy wrestling, I realized a few things that are essentially the same about the writing life and the puppy-raising life. So here, from my only as yet slightly caffeinated perspective, 5 lessons on writing as it relates to puppies:
1. A schedule helps, a lot. If you have a schedule for when you write and do your best to keep to it, you will often find yourself doing more work than you imagined because, well, you won’t let other things take over that time.
Puppy Perspective – Eating on schedule and sleeping on schedule means that you poop on schedule. This is not a minor thing.
2. A schedule does not always work. Sometimes, you have to do something else in your writing time. Sometimes, your washing machine spews suds all over the house 5 minutes before your writing time. Sometimes, you have to let the schedule go.
Puppy Perspective – See this morning at God’s Whisper Farm.
3. Unexpected time can be a blessing. On occasion, you might end up at, say, a mechanic’s office with only magazines from 1989 on the coffee table and a stack of old Target receipts and a pen from some agricultural show you never attended in your pocket. Use that time. Fill up those receipts with observations or notes for your work in progress. Or just empty your mind of that giant to do list that you keep swirling there. Those small moments can add up to lots of words.
Puppy Perspective – Exhibit A – this blog post and the 25 work emails I took care of before the sun came up.
4. Play matters. Sometimes, what you really NEED to do is go have a drink with your friend, or just lay in bed and read a book for fun, or put your face on the rug that really needs a vacuum and let a puppy lick your chin. All that playtime is fuel for your soul and rest for your mind. Your words need soul food, and your mind needs to take a break.
Puppy Perspective – Mosey and Meander recommend ropes and long ears as the best toys.
5. Discipline makes the difference. Inspiration is a bunch of hooey as far as getting writing done. What matters is that you sit down and work. As much as you can. On the projects you care about. Inspiration and ideas will come when you are ready for them, and ready means at the page.
Puppy Perspective – It can seem a lot of fun and simple to let a tiny puppy bite your fingers or sleep when he wants or eat on his schedule, but then, that dog gets big, and he’s drawing blood and keeping you up all night. Discipline now means good results – and far less poop inside – later.
Writing is a glorious gift we give ourselves and, hopefully, our readers – much like a puppy. But it doesn’t come without effort, just like a well-behaved basset hound doesn’t overrun his own cuteness with bad manners as he grows up.
What are some of the ways you help yourself be disciplined about your writing?
Also, any puppy tips to share? 🙂