Craft,  Motivation,  Uncategorized

Take 5 Friday: Work Like A (Real) Dog

As a writer, you know that inspiration can come from anywhere. And, I’m sure you know that you can borrow skills, ideas, and methods from all kinds of different sources.

Today, just for fun on this first Friday in September, I have some writerly advice for you from my dog.

Since she refused to be interviewed, I just observed her and thought about how her approach to the world applies to writing.

So, here’s some advice to help you work like a dog. (A real dog, not one of those metaphorical ones that the expression refers to.)

Background images of a stack of books, a cup of coffee, a typewriter and a clock, a yellow circle in the foreground contains the words "Take 5 Friday: Work like a (real) dog'

Be curious and then follow the scent

When we go outside, Khalee likes to sniff EVERYTHING first. Then she picks a scent and follows where it leads. When she has that mystery solved, she starts sniffing everything again.

That’s not a bad way to approach your writing.

Be curious about everything. Follow one idea until the end. Get curious again.

Go for a walk

While Khalee loves a good sit, she is always up for taking a walk. After all, there are all kinds of interesting smells when you’re out for a walk. And there are new things to explore.

You don’t have to spend your walk with your nose to the ground. But, if you go for a stroll (or do any other kind of routine movement) your mind will get a chance to mull over your ideas. You may solve a writing dilemma or come up with something new.

Find some company

Khalee is okay on her own but she would prefer to hang out with one of her people when she can.

Sometimes you might need to isolate yourself to get some work done but, if you can, find some people you like to hang out with every now and then. If you can’t do that in person then hang out with a friend on Skype or join us in the 10 Minute Novelists Facebook group.

Don’t forget treats

Khalee believes strongly in the power of rewards. She also believes in getting treats just because a package is crinkly or because it seems like it might contain cheese.

You may want to be a bit more discerning about your treats but they are still a good idea to celebrate a job well done. You can even branch out beyond food for your rewards. (Rewarding Khalee with a show on Netflix is less effective than it would be for you.)

Have a rest

Even though Khalee’s schedule isn’t as busy as yours, she knows that she has to include lots of rest in her day. At any given moment, she could be curled up in a nap.

Again, you may want to be more discerning but it’s a good idea to remember that you don’t need to work, work, work all the time. Taking some downtime, or just some time away from your current project is good for you and for your brain.

I dare you to give Khalee’s method a try

A light brown and white medium sized dog stands on a driveway next to a tree, at the base of some wooden stairs. The dog is on a green leash and she is looking off to one side.

You don’t want to write doggerel or to bark up the wrong tree.

And you don’t want your writing to go to the dogs.

But I think that if you approach your writing like Khalee approaches her life, you’ll be doing pretty well.

Don’t work like a metaphorical dog, work like my actual dog.

Now, that I have followed my curiosity all the way here, I’m going to get a treat and take a nap.

Write on!

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