What Your Dog Can Teach You About Writing

January 17, 2014

My latest up at Ploughshares:

Six New Tricks Your Dog Can Teach You About Writing

Posted 17 Jan 14by Kate Flaherty

Fans of the Ploughshares “Writers and Their Pets” series have probably noticed the majority of those blogs are about writers and their dogs. In my view this is because dogs are the best writing companions. For one thing, they never ask, “What’re you working on? or “Aren’t you done yet?” or “Why don’t you just write books like [insert any best-selling author name here]?” Cats may not ask these questions out loud, but their faces say it all. Makes you wonder how on earth Hemingway managed. More importantly, however, dogs are also terrific writing teachers. Below I’ll illustrate why, with the help of one of my current canine companions, Sadie.

snack1. Go with your gut.

As Karen Shepard so aptly illustrates in this poem from Amy Hempel and Jim Shepard’s Unleashed: Poems by Writer’s Dogs, dogs are often driven by an overwhelming and indiscriminate appetite:

 

Birch

You gonna eat that?
You gonna eat that?
You gonna eat that?

I’ll eat that.

Dogs take it all in, and if it doesn’t set right, they throw it back up, feel sad for a minute, then move on.  Or they throw it up, take a sniff, and give it another go. Writers can learn from this.

For the rest of the blog click here:

 

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