Having a Daisy means twice daily walks.
Fortunately, I love being outside and I adore my dog but not all days are created equal. Some are jam-packed with obligation, others bursting with snow, still others are teeming with lazy. Doesn’t matter, Daisy needs to walk.
We have our familiar routes. The short, the medium, and the long with the “wooded” jaunt mixed in. You would think being the human in this equation that I would control which path we take. That would be too simplistic a conclusion.
Daisy has a decidedly determined nature. She is not easily taken off-task.
When we get to the milestones, the obvious decision points where Daisy knows left means long and right means short, if she doesn’t agree with my decision, she plants her behind on the sidewalk and motions with her neck to say, “This way.”
She’s so darned cute and stubborn.
Most days she nudges me toward the larger loop—which means more exercise and fresh air for both of us. Occasionally, I pull rank with a “Nope, not today” when work or dinner or new episodes of Ozark are calling.
Whichever route we take, I never return home thinking, “Wish that walk was shorter!” It’s always the other way around.
As motivating as Daisy is to get me outside and moving, she is the opposite when it come to my writing. In that process, she is my…detractor, preventor, saboteur.
The warm snuggler that begs me to hit the snooze button again. The tap, tapper, wanting me to play or go for a walk. It takes willpower to say no to that face.
Words and I have a mutually beneficial relationship. After tossing them around for any length of time, I’m happier, more content, energized. And the world makes loads more sense to me.
That said, I am, as the writing community calls us, a “pantser” which means that while I have a general idea of where the story is going, the characters give me the details. I fly by the seat of their pants as I write.
Unlike the tried-and-true routes that Daisy and I have carved out for our daily walks, storytelling necessitates taking unknown paths—ones filled with heartbreak and possibility. Not knowing what will happen next is exhilarating.
Until it’s time for editing. That’s when we—the characters and me—must sort out if we like where they landed or if there is a more genuine destination.
Editing usually feels like walking in circles looking for potholes that go deeper, then clawing my way out alongside my characters, the whole time wondering…do we always have to go the long way? It’s a fraught process.
And just as I am about to throw my hands up and stare off into space wondering, “Why?”
Daisy comes tap, tapping and it’s my moment to decide.
Keep going in here or out there?
Luckily, either way I win.