Books and dogs have a lot in common. That’s why we have a podcast about dogs, life, and writing, right? Shameless podcast link is right here. Please listen.
Anyways, now that my shameless plug is over I can get to my point, which is that you can apply some of the lessons of training your dog to training your book. Really. Read on.
Find a space to write
Just like training a dog requires some dedicated space if you’re working on agility or sit/stay commands, your book can blossom if you have a dedicated place to write.
This space needs to be what works for you. Kid free? Kid friendly? Music? No music? Cozy? Standing? Surrounded by books? Surrounded by nothing?
Create a space where writing happens. Kindly boot out the old plates, the yelling kids, the licking dogs if you need to. Or hoard them. There is no one right way to create your writing space.
Here’s the thing:
Your book and your writing is important. Create a space for it.
More on that: Make the space for the book
I’m not just talking about the mechanics of writing the book. I’m talking about the space for it to breathe. Books can be brats. They need room to grow and breathe. Make sure you take time to step away from the actual physical writing of your book so that inspiration can hit, problem solving can happen.
Sometimes stepping away to give that baby some independence is exactly what it needs to grow.
Even dogs need a little quite time and not constant stimulation. There’s a reason for that. It lets them recharge. You and your book need to recharge, too.
When we were kids, writing stories was play. It was fun. Now, a lot of us think of it as work. We think of work and play as two separate things.
They don’t have to be.
Play with your story. Enjoy it.
Dogs learn things and acquire new skills because they feel rewarded or because it’s fun or because bacon is involved. Doing work doesn’t have to be arduous. It’s okay to find joy. I wouldn’t write novels if I didn’t love writing stories and making up characters. It’s one of my favorite things in the world, which is why I put up with all the horrible parts of it (bad reviews, trolls, stalkers, random pay checks, hoping for publication, the long wait between books).
Every year that goes by where I get to be a writer I think, “Whooo, boy. I am so freaking lucky. This is awesome. I love this.”
I wouldn’t feel that way if I didn’t think of it as fun, as play, and as work.
Be Okay With Your Book Messing Up
A book is like a kid or a dog. It’s not going to always be perfect. You might think it is the most brilliant, amazing, talented child… dog… book in the world, but sometimes it’s going to mess up a bit? That rambling thought? It doesn’t belong there. The subplot? It’s a bit junky.
That doesn’t mean the book is a failure.
That doesn’t mean you are a failure.
It just means that you have a place to tinker with.
Do Good Wednesday!
Gabby the Dog loves kids. She loves books. And she loves doing good. If you’re like her at all, you’ll love BOOKS BETWEEN KIDS, “a non-profit organization founded in 2012 to serve Houston’s at-risk children by providing them with books to build their own home libraries.”
That’s pretty cool. Check out its website to get involved.
Random Marketing and Book Things
My nonfiction picture book about Moe Berg, the pro ball player who became a spy was all official on March 1 and I’m super psyched about it. You can order it!
Kirkus Review says: A captivating true story of a spy, secret hero, and baseball player too.
I’ll be in Exeter, New Hampshire, on a panel for the release of THINGS WE HAVEN’T SAID.