My goodness, my puppy is seven months old! Our little Nugget has been full of what I can only describe as “spunk” and some would call “vinegar” since the day we brought him home. He has a habit of talking with his teeth (aka, he’s a bit mouthy). That’s all fine and good when he’s a puppy, but he’s getting quite big at 50 pounds and most people don’t want a full-grown dog biting at their hands. The thing is, he’s so much better now than he was as a tiny baby. That’s not from lack of work on our end either.
There were so many days of frustration, overwhelm, and outright tears that I was raising a terrible dog. That I was going to have one of the few aggressive golden retrievers mankind had ever seen. We took him to training classes. We tried to teach him what “calming down” meant. I said the word “snuggle” and “toy” more times than I could count. Then something happened. He started figuring it out.
Our Nugget now goes for a toy when we say, “where’s your toy?” if he gets mouthy. Like an, “oh yeah, play is for toys not hands” or at least an “is there something better around?” He’ll come and lay by you if you ask him if he wants to “come snuggle” when he’s listless.
Oh, he still gets mouthy if he’s too excited, tired, hungry, or needs to poo. Heck, he’s only seven months old! I’m not sure he even understands how big he actually is, much less why his stomach quivers at any given point during the day. (He’s very much still a baby in every sense of the word, but he’s thinking and I couldn’t be prouder).
What does this have to do with writing?
My book is the same way right now. I’m in the stage of nearing frustration. I feel like I might never be done with it, or it might never come around and stop biting me when I least expect it. But, I’ve seen what perseverance and consistent work can do.
You might think that writing is always exciting and never boring. Some might even think that if you’re bored with your own writing, you must be doing something wrong. No. Writing is work. It can’t be avoided that just like everything else, at some point you will want to stop and take an extended break. There are arduous tasks in writing just like everything else. There’s the dog training that goes along with the puppy snuggles; the sloughing through bad plot that goes along with sailing through fun scenes.
All this to say: I’m trying really hard not to take another extended break from my novel. It’s been almost three months of consistent work and I want to keep this up. So I might try “rewarding” myself by plotting something new to keep my spirits up. I think I’m getting that “shiny new story” itch that so many writers get.
Do you do well with consistency? Have any puppy tips for me? Any big writing consistency wins?