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It probably won't surprise anyone when I say that Cassie is a spoiled dog. I can't seem to go anywhere without bringing home a toy for her. A couple doors down from Hicklebees, my local independent children's bookstore, is a thrift shop. First I buy books for me then I go next door to buy her a stuffed animal. I don't think she ever had toys when she was a puppy so I find myself wanting to give her back her puppyhood. Of course I can't do that but it doesn't seem to stop me from bringing home toy after toy after toy. It took us a while to figure out what toys she loved best. Stuffed ones. Big ones for gutting and little ones to carry around and use for playing fetch.

I love to watch the way her eyes light up when I ask, "Did I bring you something?" She dances around on her hind legs like I'm waving a steak in front of her nose. When I give her the toy she runs off to the other room, tossing it into the air then stomping on it to hold it down while she growls and barks at it. It is a pure joy moment, much like those writing times when the idea captures us and we write for an hour or two or three with no knowledge of how much time has passed.

Cassie has so many toys that I think it starts to boggle her mind - what do I play with next? So periodically I gather up a bunch of them and put them in a box in the laundry room. A week later I can take a toy from the laundry room and introduce it like it is a brand-new, never been seen before toy. Her eyes light up and she is off and running.

Ideas are like that. Sometimes I have so many of them that it's hard to focus on what to write next. I dance from fiction to poetry to articles. I open files, reread old pieces, old beginnings and get excited about the piece as if it were a brand-new, never been seen before idea.

We writers get a lot of advice about powering through no matter what and how we need to get a crappy first draft down so we will have something to revise. Most of the time I agree that it's the right thing to do. But not always. I put Hugging the Rock away several times because I couldn't find out the right format for the story and then, once I had that figured out, I had to put it away because I was afraid to write it the way I knew it had to be written. I've put Flyboy away a dozen or more times over the last twenty years.

It might make me a slow writer but it doesn't make me a failed writer.

If a piece isn't working for you, for whatever reason, it's okay to put it in the box for later.

Perhaps a little time is all that's need to make it seem like a brand-new idea, the idea of a story that will bring you pure joy to tell.


There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 8 comments — Leave comment )
May 14th, 2009 10:46 am (UTC)
Great post. Thanks for the reminder that it's okay to put ideas away until they're ready. Love picturing Cassie getting excited about her toys.
May 14th, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jama.

Some ideas need to simmer a little bit longer than others. :)
May 14th, 2009 12:20 pm (UTC)
I absolutely LOVE these posts!!
May 14th, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Barb. I love that you love them. :)

It's a challenge to figure them out each week but I figure I have a lot to learn from that dog of mine.

May 14th, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
>>I figure I have a lot to learn from that dog of mine.<<

I know this sounds SO corny - but your relationship with dogs says so much about you to me. I absolutely love how you love them and interact with them and, most of all, learn from them.

You have a lovely soul.....I just know it. Cassie is so lucky.
May 14th, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
Okay...no fair making me all teary-eyed. Thank you.
May 14th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
It makes you a writer who knows there's a lot more to this writing thing than sitting down at a computer than producing and changing words. Hugs!
May 14th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's quite a process, isn't it?

Last night I laid awake for I don't know how long because I figured out that I would go back to my basic, original idea and then came face-to-face with a big brick wall. Again. LOL
( 8 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties."
--Bonnie Friedman

"As writers, we must be willing to feel our sadness, our anger, our terror, so we can reach in and find our sweet vulnerability that is just sitting there waiting for us to come back home."
--Nancy Slonim Aronie

"Writers write about what obsesses them. You draw those cards. I lost my mother when I was 14. My daughter died at the age of 6. I lost my faith as a Catholic. When I'm writing, the darkness is always there. I go where the pain is."
--Anne Rice


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