Being the Alpha Dog

On Writing: Y’all know we added a new puppy to our family. Harley Lou is the sweetest, cuddliest puppy 90% of the time. The other 10% she’s trying to establish her ranking in our “pack” and she’s not a shy little thing. So there are times during the day when I am mentally and physically letting Harley know I’m in control. Making it clear that I’m the alpha dog in her life. I hold the leash and guide her on walks. I enter a doorway first and she follows. I don’t allow her to nip at me. You get the idea, right?

Well, yesterday during one of Harley’s two big naps of the day I sat down to once again wrangle my WIP into submission and realized I’m having the same fight with my m/s as I am with my puppy. I need it to go one direction and it wants to head off in another. It gets frustrating when the changes don’t come easy. You writers know, right? Those revisions that make you want to bang your head on the desk or even abandon the uncooperative story. But just like training a puppy, if I keep in mind that I’m the one in control (when the story tries to go a different direction or worse- not cooperate!) then I will eventually prevail. That’s the plan anyhow. I know which direction my revisions need to head in and if I just stay mentally sharp and keep plowing forward I will have dragged this story where it needs to be.

I realize this is also the opposite of what NaNo represents. NaNo, it seems to me, is really all about letting the story flow freely in all it’s uninhibited, unedited glory, and just getting as much story on the page during November as possible. Hopefully even typing those magical words “The End” on November 30th. It’s a fun way to write and I haven’t totally given up on my NaNo adventure for this year yet. I am trying like crazy to finish these revisions so I can wrap up November with a mini-NaNo the last week or so.

On Writing Pitfalls: Insecurities, doubts and isolation seem to go hand-in-hand with sitting alone at your computer for hours and hours, days upon days as you sprinkle little pieces of your soul onto the pages. Writing can feel exhilarating, satisfying and therapeutic. But many parts of the writing life can also fill you with self-doubt. You might even begin to think “Is it just me?” Author Dahlia Adler wrote a wonderful blog post on this, It’s Not Just You. It’s totally worth a read for those days when you feel alone and filled with doubts or discouragement on your writing journey.