Sunday, December 23, 2007

Take Advice with a Grain of Salt

I rarely post links to the big blog dogs, mostly because they're doing just fine without my help and there are so many great small blogs out there that deserve the attention. But every so often one of them jumps out from behind a virtual bush and demands some attention.

Copyblogger attacked me thus, recently, with a post about how writing is like a dog. Okay, it was actually called, “3 Writing Lessons I Learned in Dog Obedience School”. We'll ignore the fact that Mr. Morrow should have spelled out three, because that's not what this post is about.

I wanted to say that, if these tips work for your life, they are excellent. If you have the flexibility and time to set and stick to a writing schedule in your daily life, it's a fantastic way to discipline yourself and your muse.

I also wanted to remind people that it may be impossible to follow this advice at certain points in your life. Right now, I work full-time and have a husband, two small children, four animals, and a blog. Those things use my “spare” time and oblige the time that isn't spare. I rather like it that way, even if I can't set a writing schedule and whip my muse into shape.

I write when I can, and I find enjoyment in every moment of it. I write in my head when I'm trying to get to sleep or in the shower. I play with words. My muse jumps through hoops and sits up and begs whenever I have a few minutes to put her through her paces.

But my muse has never wet the carpet in my head or chewed up my mental couch. The same cannot be said for my two dogs, who early trained me to follow their schedule for letting them out to do their business. Jonathan Morrow came up with an effective metaphor and some good advice. Just don't take it too much to heart if you can't follow all of it to the letter. Not everyone can dedicate eight or more hours a day to reading and writing. But we can all dream about it.