As some of you will know I recently welcomed a puppy into my life. A puppy + writing = zero productivity (in my experience so far!) so why would I suggest writers can learn anything from puppies?
My puppy is intrepid. She is stubborn. She is strong and she is determined.
These are all qualities we writers need by the bucket load.
Willow is also a problem solver. I screened off various parts of my garden to prevent her from getting into areas where she might get into difficulty. These naturally became the only parts of the garden she was interested in playing in. It was fascinating to watch as she quickly worked out various ways to scale walls, belly flop through trellises and jump through wicker hurdles. Personally I think she has been watching too much of the Olympics on TV! She thinks she’s a gymnast not a dachshund.
It is her absolute determination to overcome the obstacles put in front of her that has been so captivating. She would try the direct approach and when that didn’t work she would come at the problem from a new angle until she figured it out.
As writers we face a lot of obstacles. Some are common to all writers. Some are specific to trad published or indie published. One thing is for sure we have to be expert problem solvers. Leaving aside the complexities of managing characters and plot, finding your genre, finding your home, takes time.
We have to be prepared to travel down a lot of roads. We start out full of expectation but quickly discover we have either wandered into an impenetrable forest or wound up at a dead end. Time to retrace our steps and start over.
It’s the writers who keep trying to solve the puzzle, who are determined to figure out a way round or through the obstacles, that succeed.
It’s only natural to be frustrated when something you thought would be a slam dunk turns out not to be. It’s all grist to a writer’s mill. Just keep going.
So far as Willow is concerned all the barriers in the garden have now been removed. There was no point in keeping them. She was just too smart but above all her persistence paid off. I guess it’s why they call it dogged determination!