[Yes. It’s come to this. I’ve gone so far as to write a blog post about how to write a novel while raising a puppy to promote my novel
. I am a publicity monster.]
Before I get started let me be very clear about the fact that I DO NOT recommend writing a novel while raising a puppy. It should be avoided AT ALL COST, unless the cost is the puppy you and your husband brought home two months prior to selling your first novel in which case please go buy a case of wine and follow this well-tested advice.
STEP ONE: Find a puppy training class
It is really nice to have a well-trained puppy in life. It is absolutely mission critical to have a well-trained puppy when writing over (more than? literally no idea) 3,000 words a day. Also you’re going to want to vent to the trainer about how impossible your puppy is being only for her to inform you that it’s all totally normal and also there’s a thing called the Terrible Twos. We worked with Auntie Lori who is an absolute gem.
STEP TWO: Find a writing spot close to your house
If you are anything like me then you will feel extreme guilt upon leaving the puppy for the first, second, 55th and 230th times. Find a cafe/library/park/bar that’s close by so you can run home when the fear that he’s somehow impaled himself on your mini cactus succulent becomes too much to bear.
STEP THREE: Schedule all time directly after he walks
A tired puppy is a good puppy and a good puppy is a puppy that lets you get your pages done. This will be tricky when he’s so young you’re taking him out every hour on the hour…
STEP FOUR: IGNORE THIS FACE
Don’t spontaneously get up out of your writing chair ten times over the course of one hour to pet it. Don’t talk out your major plot issues with it. And do not let it convince you that it needs to be cuddled for another 10 minutes before any real work can get done. You will not win. You will never win.
STEP FIVE: Learn to type with one hand
…with a dog sitting on your lap.
And when the going get real tough and your puppy is barking so loud while you’re on a notes call with your publisher that you have to take the call from inside your closet using a plush robe to muffle the noise, just think, it could be worse. You could be like my friend Margot who found out she was pregnant the same week she sold her memoir!