Writing, organization, and giant balls of dog hair

Fellow Patheos blogger Nancy French posted a photo today of her novel in progress, note cards spread across the table in perfect organization as she works on plotting her story.

 As a writer always working on book and article ideas, all I could think when I saw the photo was … man, she’s got a clean house. Where are the paw prints on the table? Where’s the cat rearranging the notecards while the dog is shredding couch pillows?

I’m always amazed to see other writers’ creative process, especially the successful writers because, usually, my life is the total opposite.

I’m completely disorganized – but adding to my own organizational challenges are two dogs and a cat. I sit down to write and Murphy is rolling all over the laptop. I get up to make tea and Bailey shreds my notes. I get Murphy and Bailey settled and Bandit looks in the sink and runs around the house with whatever he thinks will make me get up to chase him.

Bailey likes to keep my chair warm when I get up to make tea. Then when I go to pick up the papers she's shredded, she drinks my tea. Who says we don't have a routine?

We go in and out a hundred times a day. I have odd items of clothing and even shoes tucked in strange places around the house, because when I take them from a dog I just hide them wherever I happen to be (since in addition to being disorganized, I am also lazy). I’ve stopped sweeping and vacuuming because as I move from one room to the next, the animals are following me, shedding the whole way.

But then I remember: I write about animals! I write humor! Yay for me, that I have a never ending well of story ideas and article fodder! Who cares if I have dog biscuit crumbs on the laptop keyboard and giant tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling around the house? How boring my life would be without muddy paw prints on the sheets!

My own publishing journey has its own twists and turns and stalls, which frustrates me. I’m jealous of people who manage to keep things neat and clean, especially with large families and full time jobs. I wish I accomplished more.

But let’s face it: Even if I did manage to write a book, the dogs would just eat it.

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