Monday, August 16, 2010

A Writer's Best Friend?

This guest post is from Kim Van Sickler, another fabulous member of my critique group.

Her story really resonated with me, because it's how I feel about my own chocolate Labrador named, Reilly.

Kim writes middle grade an Young Adult fiction and critiques like nobody's business.

Here she is with her pretty doggie, Peter:
Thank God For My Dog

I wasn't going to get one until I was a "traditionally published" children's author. That was the carrot I held out to myself for motivation. But...this formerly abused Labrador mutt who couldn't live with his rescuers any longer because of his Alpha Male Syndrome needed a home.
So I cheated and nabbed him early.

Thank God I did.

For any one out there who dreams of writing for an audience, you know what I'm talking about when I say writing can sometimes suck the life out of you. What a needy group we are: begging friends, family and strangers to read our diamonds in the rough, hoping that they see our potential to dazzle like Suzanne Collins.

But in my quest to be discovered, I'm lonely. I spend hours every day in front of my computer or my Alpha Smart writing and re-writing. And when I'm living those other non-writing parts of my life, nobody wants to hear about the breakthrough I made in that mermaid fight scene that was keeping me awake at night.

Except my dog.

I bounce ideas off him on our daily walks. Or when he follows me around the house. Or when I'm gardening, or throwing the ball for him, or even picking up his dog doo. He never changes the subject, texts while I'm talking to him, or looks miserable when I brainstorm ways to make my troubled MC more likeable.

He listens patiently.

When I'm writing, he lays beside me. He lets me read passages and even whole chapters to him without a grumble. If I speak in a higher pitch I even get a tail wag out of him. He wouldn't dream of acting bored (like the kids) or suggesting ways for me to be more like Lee Child (that would be the husband).

Sometimes, though, he does want to be petted.

An author's diet must consist of constructive criticism. I get that in my two critique groups. They keep me humble, yet encourage me to keep plugging away. I appreciate everything these other fledgling authors do for me. We're all in the same boat, trying to keep one another afloat.

But thank God for my nonjudgmental, tolerant, friendly pooch.
He's my life preserver in a sink or swim profession.
So true Kim! Thank You!


Melissa said...

What a sweet guest post. I know what you mean about your pet being a good non judgmental sounding board. I am not ashamed to admit that I use my cat for much the same thing.

Unknown said...

I hope my husband doesn't read this, then again maybe I do want him to. I talk with my cats but they don't really listen, however this dog thing sounds like something I should try and I know my husband would love it... he loves dogs.

Walks and talks with the pup would be really nice. Who better to bounce ideas off of? Besides they'll always know what to say and be your biggest supporter. Wow I think you're onto something here!

Thanks for posting!

Matthew MacNish said...

This is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing Kim and Christina!

Andrea said...

Oh yes, my dog really is a best friend. When I was pregnant and so sick, she never left my side. She would not even make a fuss to go outside and didn't have an accident! So sweet and loyal.

Laura S. said...

Awww, this is so sweet! Peter is a beautiful dog. My hubs and I live in an apartment where no pets are allowed. :( We both grew up with big, lovable dogs and can't wait to get a house some day so we can have dogs again!

Maddy said...

What a aweet post about her pooch! This just reaffirms why I need a puppy in my life :)

Anonymous said...

i have a white lab and i feel the same about him. :D

Tahereh said...

awww what a lovely post!

thanks so much for sharing!!

Talli Roland said...

Great post! I think I need a dog, too. Or some animal who will patiently listen to me - without telling me to suck it up 'coz my life is fine! :)

Lourie said...

Now that is good thinking. And what a great post.

Hardygirl said...

Too cute!

We have a lab rescue dog--he was hit by a car in front of our house, we took him to the vet, nobody claimed him, somebody had to pay the vet bill and take him home . . . Alpha Dog all the way.

I've never even thought about bouncing my ideas off of him. I think I'll try it. The problem is, with any attention, he thinks it's time to play. He probably wouldn't let me get any writing done!


Angela Ackerman said...

This is such a great post. I think you rescuing him will translate into good book karma mojo, but it sounds like he's really filling a needed part in your life already, so everyone wins! :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Little Ms J said...

Aw, great post! My little Ginger sits on my legs while I write.

WritingNut said...

Aww.. this is so sweet!!!! What a great post :)

Sharlene T. said...

I know just how she feels, I couldn't imagine not being able to test my ideas out on my own favorite critic, my dog, Angel… What a lovely lady you have to critique your work… I'm just so tickled for you with your new agent…

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