As I mentally prepare for our new puppy arriving in March, I contemplate how my writing life will be affected by the upcoming change. If I recall correctly, the last puppy (now all grown up) was a handful. I didn’t write much during that time, but it was also summer, a slower writing season for me. Still, I wonder how much I could have really accomplished, between all the potty training, puppy classes, and general daily busyness of puppyhood.
And then I think...wait a minute, this puppy thing could really work to my advantage as a writer.
First of all, having a puppy will force me to be organized and productive with my day. Unlike summer, spring is a busy writing season. I can’t make excuses for not using my time wisely because, frankly, there’s no time for that. When the puppy naps, I will write. I can use the longer naps for intensive writing and the shorter snippets for more menial tasks. Chores can wait till someone else is home to puppy sit. Those chunks of quiet time will be the ideal, if not the only, times to write.
Having a puppy will also force me to take breaks. Sometimes, I find myself sitting for too long, agonizing over a word or sentence. But when the puppy needs my attention, I’ll have to break away from my work—unless I want to deal with the consequences of ignoring her. More than likely, the puppy won’t be the only one profiting from that break. I have discovered that often the best way to get “unstuck” when writing is to walk away from it for a period of time. Those forced breaks will also give me a chance to stretch, hydrate, exercise, and refresh.
A third way the puppy will benefit my writing is by giving me something to write about. Puppies aren’t just cute; they’re incredibly interesting. Spending time with a puppy can unlock a goldmine of writing ideas. Just think of all the topics that relate to puppies: names, habits, temperament, toys, safety, separation, breed issues, sleep patterns, diet, accessories, training, vet visits, car travel, and on and on. Having a puppy is a surefire way to end writer’s block.
Finally, for those of us who work in solitude, puppies help alleviate loneliness. Lucky for me, I already have one dog. Adding another will double the company.
But what about the puppy? How will she benefit—or will she—from a writer’s life?
Hmmm…I would have to say an enthusiastic yes! And here’s why:
Puppies do best when their owners are at home. They can move about freely without being restrained by a crate and can have daily human contact. Further, dogs (like humans) benefit from routines. Once I set up my new routine, the puppy will learn to follow it and—just like my current dog did—will develop a sense of structure to her daily life, too. Mostly, though, my puppy and I will have more opportunities to bond, whether she’s sleeping peacefully next to my desk or chewing on the leg of my chair to alert me it’s break time.
Together, we’ll learn to co-exist, doing what we do as a writer and a puppy.