Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Pets and Writing

Posted: January 25, 2014 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

ReesesLast weekend we lost my dog who was more than just a pet; he was a member of the family.  Some people disregard the pain of losing a beloved animal.  “It’s just an animal.  It was bound to happen eventually.  You can always get another one.  Blah blahblah blah blah.”  Thankfully, I wasn’t surrounded by people who said such things.  Most of the peopl  e I talked to about it are either animal lovers themselves or they knew how very much I loved Reeses.

But that’s not the only thing I realized in the aftermath of that horrible visit to the vet. I realized that animals are huge inspirations in pretty much every area of life.  My dog hated my computer.  He would try to walk on the keyboard when he saw me typing, just like he would try to sit on my books or swat them out of my hand if I dared to pay attention to something other than him when he wanted petting.

Despite that adorable distraction, he was a wonderful writing companion anyway.  He was my sounding board all through junior high and high school whenever I had a writing assignment.  I could tell him anything and he wouldn’t judge the stupid ideas that came first, though sometimes I swear he gave me a “Really? That’s your best idea?” look.

He also inspired happiness and creativity in my writing.  His energy and random antics gave me a much-needed happiness during my teenage-slightly-depressed stage, which was good since I was writing for a newsletter for a large homeschool co-op and couldn’t write about blood and guts and vampires.  There were two huge ways he tried to cheer me up: He would bring me his rope and do a puppy bow to get my attention when he wanted to play.  If he realized that I was unhappy, he would simply curl up next to me and lay his head on my leg.

My best friend and I called Reeses a “hobbit-elf” dog.  He was small and had furry feet (like a Hobbit) and skinny and had pointy ears (like an elf).  He inspired at least one little creature in a fantasy story we were attempting to write.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember what they were called anymore, but I know they were there.

Reeses was way more than just a writing companion throughout his 14 years.  He was a friend, a comforter, cuddler, a listener, a child, a distraction, a companion, a foot-warmer, a food-stealer, a trickster, a pet, and a member of the family.  He was my baby and my dog.

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How does your pet affect your writing?  Tell us in the comments.

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While reading the latest Writer Unboxed blog post about music, I got to thinking about my own distractions.  I recently moved in with three other people, my two best friends and their 6 year old daughter.  We do everything together.  When we’re not working, we’re on our back porch talking and eating and drinking or we’re in one of the bedrooms playing video games or watching movies.  You’d think this would be a very bad environment for writing and yet I’ve written more in the last three months than I did in the prior six months and, if I do say so myself, it’s better writing.  Maybe not grammatically, but editing is for later.  At the moment, I’m sitting on my roommates’ bed watching them slaughter zombies and I just wrote almost 2000 words in my WIP in about an hour.  Yes, I should be able to do more and I have done more in the past, but I’m enjoying it more now.  Writing does not need to be the activity of a socially-inept hermit.  For some people, silence is necessary and socialization is death to the written word.  I understand that. 

However, I’m finally realizing that I need noise and people.  Especially noise.  My characters are in a post-apocalyptic world; they’re not exactly plugging in their iPods.  Even if they were, they would never be listening to Top 40.  My playlist is a Pandora station based on Within Temptation.  It plays everything from Evanescence to Blackmore’s Night to Loreena McKennitt to Skillet to Linkin Park.  That is my perfect mix.  The songs help me get the right emotions for my characters.  Normally, I’m happy and optimistic, which works well at times for one of my MCs, but most of the time, I need dark, sad, and/or angry songs to put my mind in the right place.  Some of the music is actually quite wonderful and inspirational, but somehow it still works for me. 

For myself, I now understand that I will never have a quiet life.  I don’t think I want that anyway.  Maybe I’ll demand quiet time when I finally get to the editing stage of my WIP, but for the first draft, music and other distractions are an absolute necessity.  Surrounding myself with noises forces me to focus on just one of the many voices in my head at any given moment. 

And that may be the best form of silence in the world.