Monday, January 31, 2011

Write Like a Dog

Coco Doing His Writing on Solana Beach, California


This is a tip we can take from writers I heard from this past week. First, congratulations to them. Suzie let me know that she finished her 127-page life story and gave it to her sons for Christmas. Bambi wrote that her life story has been published, The Uncrushable Rose, is for sale, and she has several signings planned.

Suzie came to a class about three years ago. She is a busy woman, and while she participated and seemed mildly interested, I didn't see a burning interest in writing. However, she continued writing on her own until she had finished her project. Bambi came to a presentation I did and then came to one or two meetings of a class. She was in a big rush to write her story, but she had many other things going on in her life. I wondered if she would actually write her story or just talk her story.

Last Tuesday I was very happy to hear from both of them and enjoy their sense of accomplishment.

And then there's Paul. He answered the question about what he basks in. Actually, he took me up on the "in what do you bask" variation of the question because, as he wrote, that is "so much better than ending a sentence in in." Paul wrote about basking in his long-standing friendships with very special people he has know as he lived around the world. In writing about his friends, he did a great job of also revealing himself and various phases of his life.

And what does the photo of the dog on the beach have to do with any of this? This part-standard poodle (let's call him Coco) was playing on the beach at Solana Beach when Gentleman Friend and I were there a couple of weeks ago. He ignored his people, ignored the beach patrol that stopped nearby, ignored me as I called to him. He was intent on his run on the sand and in and out of the water. He loped in big curves, into the water and out. He galloped into deeper water and then splashed along the shallows where the water just lapped the beach. Then he reversed direction and did it all over again. He knew what he wanted to do and nothing was going to distract him. When we left, he was still galloping in and out, up and down. Focused, he stuck with it.

If we all focused on our writing as he did, I think it would be a lot more fun. Tune out everything else and let your fingers lope across that keyboard, into the shallows and deeper. I think it will feel good.

So -- what's the tip? The tip is: Stick with your writing even if it seems to be taking a long time. Stick with it.  

Thank you, Suzie, Bambi, and Paul for staying in touch. And congratulations.


Think back to when you were about ten years old. What did you like to do then that you have stuck with? When I did this, I was surprised to remember that I loved to take pictures with my little Brownie Hawkeye camera. A few weeds stuck in a Coke bottle, a snap of the shutter, and I had art. Also, I liked to cut pictures from magazines and make greeting cards. One of my favorites was made with the flowers cut from a Four Roses bourbon ad. And here I am, mumble mumble years later, taking pictures of flowers and making cards. What is still in your life from when you were a child?


I loved it when I was ten; I love it now. Chocolate. How perfect to have this recipe this week. And, you can prepare it for those you love because it is a healthier version of a familiar cookie. Found this recipe on the Dove candy Facebook page.

Dove Love Cookies


1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup natural peanut butter
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cup pastry wheat flour
1/2 cup ground golden flax seed
1 package Dove heart shaped chocolate pieces


Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream softened butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.

Step 2: Add peanut butter to butter mixture and mix well.

Step 3: Add pastry wheat flour, flax and all purpose flour, salt and baking soda and slowly mix until all combined.

Step 4: Using a cookie scoop put cookie dough 2 inches a part or 12 balls to a cookie sheet. Pat the center of each ball down with the back of the scooper, sprinkle with sugar if you’d like and bake for about 11 min. at 350 degrees.

Step 5: While cookies are baking un-wrap the chocolate. When the cookies are done immediately put chocolate hearts in the middle of each cookie and gently press down. Cool on cookie sheet 5-10 min. then transfer to a cooling rack. Be careful to let the chocolate hearts harden before storing cookies other wise the chocolate will get smeared.

Find more great writing tips, prompts, life story writing answers, and resources at

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