Sunday, my Other and I adopted a puppy. She is a 3 1/2 month mutt and she now has a home with us. We named her Lana. She is gentle, sweet, and starting to get into trouble but we all keep teaching and learning. Even if it would make a good excuse I can’t give up my writing schedule with my new arrival. Instead, I’ve adjusted to writing when she’s napping. (Puppies nap a lot). While going through the puppy training steps I couldn’t help think it’s like the writing process. (Now, bear with me.)
Have a safe place. For Lana, it is her crate, under a table, or behind a Christmas tree. I am happy to report by day three her safe place is her pillow, carpet, and crate. And this shy dog just needs a few minutes to adjust to new situations. For me, it’s my desk, the living room couch, or Starbucks (I like the hustle). I find my distraction is less in these places but it took me some time and experimenting to figure this out. I remember trying a local library once and it was a waste of time for me. One time the librarian working knew me and wanted to chat. I tried to explain what I was doing but it leads to more conversation. Another library I happen to run into someone who remembered me and wanted to catch up. Trail and error but we are finding where we are most comfortable.
Set a schedule. It’s best with a new puppy to set schedule for walking, feeding, and playing/training. With writing it is best to set a schedule, for writing, editing, and story outlining. Maybe morning you write best, and after lunch, you edit the piece from three months ago. Great! Keep it up. You’ll start to notice you write or edit most those times with speed and ease. Both schedules teach the puppy or brain when it is time to do your business.
Be consistent. My puppy is improving every day with her daily schedule of walks, encouragement, and training she has learned her name and where to pee/poop. I constantly struggle with being consistent with my writing schedule but I have been improving. I know I need to keep up writing five days a week (for you maybe writings every other, after or before work) but I seem to do that for a month and stop. But I keep trying and I’ve seen improvement. Also, I see what my writing is like after a long dry spell. Less description and imagination. It is best to keep writing so your brain knows when it’s time to turn on and get those creative juices flowing. Don’t wait for inspiration. Your work will be few and far between. Write every day and inspiration will come more often and when there is paper and pen.
Don’t overdo it. Lana training has gone far in the few days we’ve had her but we have tried to limit what we teach and for how much time. She’s not going to learn anything tired. We try to not train for too long and try to notice when she is tired. A tired puppy won’t learn anything. Don’t want to stop all the good writing vibes but your brain needs time to rest and reboot. Sometimes when I finish writing a scene I put the story away. If I have more ideas in what direction to take the story I’ll write a next section outline and step away. Be patient. By letting my brain rest I find the next day I can write that scene longer and with more excitement then if I kept going. This is not always true. I have written two or more scenes in a row but after many writing sections, I have learned to listen to my writing brain and sense if it’s getting tired and if it can go the distance of the next scene. It’s exciting but remember, it takes time. Don’t want to give up completely because you’ve mistaken overwork for writer’s block.
The puppy is waking up and it’s time for my writing brain to rest. Below is a picture of Lana (the real reason you’ve been reading). Enjoy and continue writing.