11 August, 2014

Why Every Writer Needs a Puppy

Strange though it may sound, I believe a puppy to be an invaluable tool to all writers, particularly those just getting started.

What are some of the basics you need as a writer?
  • a daily routine
  • sources of inspiration/information
  • regular  breaks from your computer to refresh your mind & body
Six weeks ago I rescued a 9-month old Golden Retriever and rechristned him Murphy.

If you've never had a puppy, let me tell you that they have endless energy until bed time and then they sleep like the dead.  Unfortunately this quiet time doesn't last long.  Murphy wakes up at 6:05 every morning. Not 5:34, not 6:20; always 6:05. And he immediately wants to go out.  Not in 15 minutes, NOW. Once you're out of bed, having stood outside in the cold air for 15 minutes waiting for him to complete his "business," and then made his breakfast, you're wide awake.  No sense in going back to bed, just get your coffee and start writing.  This sets a pattern for your daily routine with no effort on your part.  Score one for the puppy.

Murphy proved to be unreliably house trained, to say the least.  In order to preserve my floor and rugs I need to let him out every two hours during the day, providing regular breaks from the internet and keyboard. More good patterning for a writer. Score two for the puppy.

Want to see unharnessed energy? Believe me, you don't, but with a puppy it's a package deal..  So take the dog for a two mile walk daily.  This is your "free thinking" time, when you have nothing to concentrate on except plot issues, red herrings, and how to find an agent. When you get back, the dog will nap and  have probably solved your issues or devised a fiendishly devious new plot.

Run an unscientific test.  Leash your puppy, take him down town and see how long it takes before someone comes over to pet him and talk to you.  Estimated time: two minutes. Puppies are nature ice breakers.  Need info on organic farming?  Take him to the local veggie stand and you'll be striking up a conversation in minutes.  And before you leave, you'll have a friendly source of all things organic.  Also works in hardware stores, golf courses, laundromats, etc. I got a wonderful lesson in beekeeping last weekend - info that will no doubt find its way into a book. Also how to find a moose using a VW bug, but that's for another blog.

So, if you're a writer,  why don't you have a puppy????  And remember, adopt don't shop.