Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Apparently, Everything I Know About Writing I Learned From My Pug

So, I seem to be on a lessons-I’ve-learned-from-my-pug writing kick.  I wrote about Igor in terms of writing blocks earlier this week.   This morning I was finishing up putting on my make-up when the pug started scrabbling on the door, wanting to be let in.

Igor’s scrabbling consists of scraping a paw against the sliding glass door.  Loudly.  When he gets good and frustrated, the whole back of the house shakes.  It sounds remarkably like someone knocking on the door, and I’ve always been convinced that it is a sign of his superior intelligence that he scrabbles instead of barking. 

Because he is blind visually impaired, we generally leap to take care of his every whim (and believe me, he is good at milking it).  Igor is, I’ll be honest, a spoiled, coddled pug, and he generally will not linger outside unless it is say, 70 degrees and sunny.  Today it is cold, though not raining, and I thought the pug could stand to man up a bit and stay outside. 

So I told myself I’d wait until he scrabbled one more time and then I’d let him in.  And then the thought occurred to me–what if he gave up before he did that one last scrabble, never knowing how close he was to attaining his goal? 

And then the thought occurred to me that we writers probably often do that.  We send out stories and get a couple rejections and give up, never realizing that if we scrabbled just a little longer, we would find success.  How can we ever be certain that the next submission won’t be the one?  Isn’t it worth taking the chance?  I always remember the story that a writer told of sending out her story 35 times.  On the 36th time, the story got accepted–and went on to read a Pushcart prize.

What did it take for her to send that story out?  It took:

  • Confidence–that the story was good
  • Clarity–that the story was finished
  • Discipline–to keep at it
  • Acceptance–that the process might take awhile
  • Commitment–to see it through

In other words, she had to keep scrabbling. 

By the way, Pug kept at it until I finally gave up and let him in.  Now he’s downstairs barking because it is time for lunch (yes, he gets lunch.  He’s on a special diet food plan for fat muscular pugs) and he doesn’t really give a rip that I am writing about him.  So it it time to close and go feed him.

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