Exploring those mysterious, underlying forces fueling a writing life

Uba 9wksA puppy touches something very deep in us, and when we first hold one in our arms it is easy to be swept away with blind enthusiasm. Who would suspect the challenge that awaits us? – The Art of Raising a Puppy

Meet Uba, a recent addition to our family. Having never raised a puppy before, I was not quite prepared for the challenge. While extremely frustrating and stressful at times, the experience has also been enlightening and rewarding.

Much like writing a novel.

Both require patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement.

Patience is a key virtue in nurturing a relationship, to keep us relaxed and moving forward step-by-step. With patience, we can stay in touch with the bigger picture…  – The Art of Raising a Puppy

Writing a novel, training a puppy takes time and patience. Neither can be rushed. Some days will be better than others. Some days Uba will pee on the rug, without ever indicating he needs to go. Some days I can only manage to write only one sentence. Other days, Uba will sit when told, come when called, and defecate where he should. And I am able to crank out 1000 words without crying. The only way to get it done is step-by-step, day-by-day, word-by-word.

Bad habits develop quickly… Whatever your specific desire, obviously they won’t transpire by magic but will require consistent and conscientious work to make them a reality. – The Art of Raising a Puppy

It’s easy to let Uba sometimes lead the way or run into the house without my permission to enter. It’s hard to ignore an excited puppy, jumping on me because he hasn’t seen me for awhile. It’s easy to slack off, hit that snooze button a couple more times, convince myself that I’ll work on it later that night instead.

The consequences?

One unruly puppy. One unfinished novel. One stressed-out, discouraged, possibly deranged writer.

…motivating and rewarding particular behavior is an essential part of good training. – The Art of Raising a Puppy

He sits. Give him a treat. He comes. Give him a treat. He stays. Give him a treat.

Write a paragraph. Get a treat. Write a scene. Get a treat. Finish a chapter. Get a treat.

Uba likes dog treats. I prefer chocolate.

Dog training actually goes beyond the elementary instruction of basic obedience commands; it must encompass a whole new attitude and lifestyle with your dog. – The Art of Raising a Puppy

Writing goes beyond the simple act of putting words on paper. It’s the attempt to use your memories, thoughts, knowledge, experiences, etc. to create worlds that readers will want to visit over and over again.

Neither is easy.

Both can be rewarding.

And now, as a writer with a dog, I know there are two things I must always carry: a notebook and a plastic bag. I never know when an “idea” will suddenly drop.

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Comments on: "The Art of Raising a Writer" (10)

  1. Madeline Flood said:

    Michele, I am amazed by your ability to find a relationship between so many everyday activities and the frustrations of writing. Watching a herring fight its way upstream, raising a puppy, and so many more! Keep writing. We so enjoy reading your blogs!

  2. Michele,
    I loved the ending–great sense of humor through it all. I look forward to more parallels.

  3. Love it (especially the chocolate treats)! What a great way to think about writing!

  4. […] The Art of Raising a Writer (michelemanningwrites.wordpress.com) […]

  5. I love the comparisons you made! So eloquent and accurate. I am also glad the Uba is creating a little soft dpot in your heart 🙂

  6. Hahahaha! Love this! Especially “…but will require consistent and conscientious work to make them a reality.” I recently came across a quote that said something like, “sooner or later, everyone has to lay down in a bed of consequences.” The little steps we take to do the ‘right’ thing WILL pay off…someday!!

  7. alicekuzel3 said:

    Keep writing!

  8. I must say that this one is the result of great creativity. Also useful, plus cost is also less for this.

    Kind Regards,

    Elayne Taylor
    hop over to this site

  9. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this. I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. Thanks!

    Kind Regards,

    Elayne Taylor
    Dog Training

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