Writers probably shouldn’t have pets. Or kids. Or significant others. Or anything that requires, you know, actual interaction outside the imaginary worlds spun out between our brains and the computer screen.
Then we could just sit at the keyboard, alone, pounding away, until our butts merge permanently with our chairs.
Okay, so scratch that. Writers desperately need at least pets.
I’ve read more than once about writers who let their cats jump up on their desks to purr around their keyboards, like some sort of furry anti-Muse. I don’t have a cat, so I decided to try it with my dog.
Well, that’s annoying. But she did have these insights to share about the writing process:
- Spelling doesn’t matter that much.
- Eventually you have to get up and go pee.
- Walks are good.
She also had something about how writing a book is a lot like chewing a rawhide stick: You just have to keep gnawing at it, and it’ll get squishy and gross, and if you swallow it too early you’ll have to regurgitate it and work on it some more, and if you bury it in the yard, it turns a weird shade of green… Yeah, I didn’t think that analogy worked either.
If I didn’t have a dog, I’d at least need a twice-a-day timed kill switch to force me to leave my computer and go for the aforementioned walk in order to reboot. Walks clear the mind and body. Plus, you get mud between your toes and a wild wind up your nose. A good walk requires all your senses be engaged.
Because I write mostly at night (stoopid day job), I have a nocturnal friend too.
Galahad the Golden Gecko trundles around his tank under his heat lamp, eating bugs and occasionally escaping. He likes when I type fast, probably because the black text across the white page looks a lot like scuttling bugs.
- In addition to inspiring me to type faster, he’s taught me a few other writing lessons:
My pets — like my XY, my family, my non-writing friends, my stoopid day job — remind me to look up from the keyboard sometimes. At least when there’s a wild wind and the silvery moon is shining.
What lessons have your pets taught you?