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  • August 19th, 2009 | 4:21 PM
Of Dogs and Writing - Play the Game

Cassie and I have a snack game we play every day sometime around noon. It's been long enough since breakfast and still too far til dinner that she gets a little grumbly in her tummy. So I ask her if she wants snackies and if it's time to play the game.

The game is simple. I take 3 of her dog biscuits and break them into 4 or 5 pieces. Makes it look like a veritable feast. (Sorta like putting our diet dinners on a salad plate.) Then I send her to her crate in a down stay while I go hide them. I put one under a giant pile of toys. I shove some inside the well-chewed bones around the house. I put on the chair, the edge of the coffee table. I put one under her blanket. You get the idea. Then I release her and let her go "find" the treats. It's great fun because she loves to find them and then she gets to eat them. It exercises her brain and tires her out at the same time. Bonus for me, she usually takes a nap afterward.

I may have mentioned a time or two that Cassie is a smart dog. Today I said "snackies" and "play the game" and suddenly she disappeared. I didn't think much about it at first. I just went to the kitchen and grabbed a few biscuits. Then I went looking for her. She had already gone to her crate and laid down and was giving me her best "focus" look. She was ready to play the game. She knew what she had to do before we could play. She wanted her reward.

I'm working on Flyboy's story. Now. Still. Whatever. It's gone well. It's gone, well, not so good. Some days I can write 1,000 words, solve plot problems in my sleep and craft sentences I find so brilliant I want to write them in gold. Some days I write three sentences and I call it a good day. On Monday I reread what I had written so far and decided it didn't stink as much as I thought it might. Last night it seemed like the most boring story ever. EVER. Today it looks fixable.

This is the way the game is played. I know what I have to do to get there. I have to put myself in the chair and write one word at a time. It's hard. Every day I fight it. I fight going to my office chair. I fight opening the manuscript. I fight putting my fingers on the keys. But I want that reward, the finished book.

I just need to take the first step and sit in the chair.
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 9 comments — Leave comment )
August 20th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
Great post, Susan. I'll be in my crate tomorrow, bright and early.
August 20th, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
I'm in love with your dog.
August 20th, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
My Rotti was like that. I crate trained him a a puppy - when we'd go out he had to go into the crate. This included when we'd go on fire calls (back before my son stopped me from going). Eventually he recognized the sound of our station's tones on the scanner and would run to the crate before we could tell him.

Dogs are so smart.
August 20th, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC)
Great post, Susan. I love hearing about Cassie and your writing progress.
August 20th, 2009 02:55 pm (UTC)
Smart dog and brilliant owner friend to recognize it :) Whenever people make some scathing remark about how dumb animals are, I just look at *them.* Why should an animal try to communicate with people who have no respect for them? I love how much you care for Cassie and how lovingly she responds.

Time for snackies here, too. Me, that is :)
August 20th, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)
Love those games. Wish someone would hide snacks for me to exercise my brain and my writer bones. Have you considered a side business? You visit writers, hide chocolate kisses around their houses while they sit obediently in their chairs, then you leave and let them ferret out those treats. You'd make a tidy sum, I bet.
August 20th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
Once again, brilliant...
August 20th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
Very smart dog. Good teacher. You are too hard on yourself and your own worst critic, listen to me the eternal worrier. Flyboy will come, when we want something so bad we try too hard. Take a step back actually put yourself in his shoes if you have to and it will happen. I have no idea what the story is about but I did post a comment on your last blog that may or may not help.

- Anne McKenna
August 22nd, 2009 03:38 am (UTC)
Cassie is so smart. And so is her writing friend.
( 9 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."
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"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."
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