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Writing Tip #19

You have time.

No, no. Hush. You do. Believe me.

A while back, my husband and I had a puppy stay with us for a few days. A delightful (read: destructive) bundle (read: beagle) of joy (read: of havoc). “I’m ready,” I had said. I had poured over hours of information on dogs. I had had dogs, years before. We had discussed the breed at length. It was the perfect, serendipitous situation to see how things would go – we had wanted a dog, maybe it would work – and we prepared our home as much as we were able and welcomed the puppy with open, eager arms.

It was not at all what I expected.

Every second belonged to the puppy. The few minutes we had here and there were on loan from the puppy. We had time to do other things because the puppy said it was so. We grabbed at the quiet moments that he was finally asleep because it was what we could steal to do human things, like shower or eat or talk.

Wait, no, there was no talking because you would wake the puppy.

Listen. Listen to me. You have time. If another life isn’t reliant on you, you do have time. And if you are taking care of something, those moments should seem all the more precious, and if you don’t take those sand grains of seconds and make something with them you’re going to regret it.

I took a day off to work on my novel while we had the puppy, and I got 500 words written. I hoarded them like motherfucking gold.

Still don’t believe me? Still talking about, oh, I have a life and work and friends and school and no. Just no. No. Go over to someone’s house and borrow a puppy – if you’re feeling really ungrateful, grab a baby – and try to work on anything.

You’ll see.

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