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What Cassie loves to do more than anything else is leave the house and go somewhere. It doesn't have to be long or far, a ride in the car to go the post office is only 10 minutes but she loves it as much (maybe more) than an hour drive to Santa Cruz. (Of course when we're riding around town I can open the sunroof and let her "surf" with her head out.) A walk around the block at my pokey pace is as much of an adventure as a half hour walk with hubby walking as fast as some people run. She just wants to go, somewhere, anywhere.

Which means when we have to leave her home, she's not a happy dog. She knows when I get out of my sweat pants and into my jeans, I'm going somewhere. When shoes go on, keys rattle, when I pick up the brush to run it one more time through my hair, all of these are triggers with the potential to get her overly excited. She barks and yips and whines and jumps up and nothing seems to stop her. We can send her to her crate, tell her no or quiet or give her a time out behind a closed door. None of it worked.

I'm not quite sure what made me think that we needed a new word for her, a new command of some kind so she would know when she was coming with us and when she had to stay behind but I started telling her that she had to stay and "guard" the house. I don't think it took more than a couple of times before she figured out if I used the word "guard" she wasn't going with me. Now when I get ready to go out and she starts bouncing around I simply tell her she has to guard the house and she stops, almost like I pulled the batteries out of her. She might groan or sigh once to voice her displeasure but she settles down in her spot, ready to do her job while we're gone.

Some days I'm able to write pages and pages of crap knowing that I will be able to go back and revise them but other days I'm simply stopped in my tracks. Most of the time I can make a note in the margin that I need a better or different word so that when I come back through on revision, I can fix it but other times something about a particular sentence compels me to rework it.I'm unable to go forward or think about anything else until I fix that one word, one sentence.

Fighting it doesn't make it go any easier or any faster. It just frustrates me. I used to beat myself up for slowing the forward progression of the story while I obsessed over a single word in a sentence. Now I realize this is just one more aspect of my process and I accept it, more or less.

Once I have the right word for whatever it is that's bothering me, I'm able to sigh in relief and move on.
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 6 comments — Leave comment )
June 9th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
I like that analogy of accepting that there are days when you don't move forward the way you would like. I get incredibly frustrated when that happens. Loved the realization that it is just a part of the process and to simply accept it and move on. Nice post!
June 10th, 2010 06:12 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading. Some days are just like that, we just can't move on for whatever reason. I've finally found the sooner I accept that, the less frustrated I am.
June 9th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
When I know I need an alternate word, I circle the word I used so it's easy to come back to and revise later.
Carol Silvis
June 10th, 2010 06:12 am (UTC)
Carol, yes, I do that a lot but there are some times I just can't let it go, I have to mess with it right there and then.
June 9th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful Cassie story! Isn't it amazing how smart they are--all she needed was to be told what to do.
And I know exactly what you mean about finding that exact word--it can make all the difference.
June 10th, 2010 06:13 am (UTC)
Thank you. But wouldn't you know that tonight, when I gave her the guard word she looked at me like I was smoking something funny. Sigh.

Glad you understand my frustration/sometimes obsession with the right word.
( 6 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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"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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