One of my best friends says it’s about time I write a post inspired by him.
Every single morning and afternoon, I clip a leash on Winston the Wonder Dog and we stroll the neighborhood. Mornings are our long walks: that’s when I mentally solve world problems and writing problems. Afternoon constitutionals are for sniffing every little clump of grass and hunting for pinecones (Winston, not me).
Every once in awhile, especially on our long walks, for no apparent reason, Winston will stop and come over to me, asking for a pet. Once I give it to him, he’s perfectly happy and off we go. But if I don’t give it, he won’t keep walking.
I admire this about my dog. He sees nothing wrong in asking for a little encouragement, a little moral support, a little hug. And, once he gets it, he can get on with things.
I want to be more like that. Especially in my writing life. Crummy stuff happens all the time, doesn’t it? Some of it we can’t even put a name to. But some we can: an unkind review, a hopelessly tangled and mangled work in progress, the news that a beloved book is going out of print.
I’ve felt shame in these situations, which has led me to hold them in. But they’re so sharp that they start to poke right through my flimsy writer’s confidence. It’s taking me years, but I’ve learned to follow Winston’s lead and ask for a hug when I need it. And I am so lucky for dear writing friends who are willing to give those hugs — and pep talks and sometimes much needed kicks in the heinie.
I’m curious: what do you do when the crummy stuff of the writing biz starts to weigh you down? Please share.