Writers and Pets

My cat Phoebe finds a cat-friendly nook in my home office.

My cat Phoebe finds a cat-friendly nook in my home office.

I want to give all my readers a heads up about Maurices’ Rescues and Runways initiative. The kick-off event is this Wednesday right here at my homebase of Duluth, Minnesota, but Maurices stores throughout the country will be holding Rescues and Runways events. Along with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Maurices is hosting a series of fashion shows featuring models wearing the latest Maurices clothing and walking a pet who is up for adoption.

So, I’m passionate about giving shelter pets good homes. But what does this have to do with writing?

If you haven’t noticed already (which most writers have!), writing and pet ownership make a fantastic combination. Here’s why:

  • Best-selling author Michael Connelly is oft-quoted for his insistence that one only needs “butt glue” to make it as a writer. To write, you need to stay put long enough to produce something. Well, I don’t have butt glue, but I do have two cats who like to sit on my lap while I write. And a purring kitty on my lap makes me much more reluctant to get up. Instead, I keep at whatever I’m doing just a little longer–at least until the kitty gets bored.
  • Writers often cite getting up and “going for a walk” as a good cure to burnout or writer’s block. If you have a dog, you can consider those daily walks your “writer’s block busting time.”
  • Writing can be lonely, but people are distracting. A pet can stave off the loneliness–but s/he WON’T try to engage you in conversation when you’re trying to write.
  • Several studies have revealed that owning a pet can improve your health and add years to your life. The longer you live, the more you can write (or the longer you can enjoy your fame!).  So far, cat ownership is a better predictor of health/longevity than dog ownership.
  • Writers have to face it: rejection is part of the game. But your pet doesn’t care how much you write, how much you sell, or even if you haven’t showered in ten days. All writers deserve a total “rejection-free zone” in their lives.
  • Pets provide “material.” Writing an “animal character” can be a challenge, but it’s much less so if you live with one. Believe me, pet owners know when authors get their favorite animal “right”–and when they don’t. There’s also a good market for pet-related content. A quick search found me this call for submissions, for example. My cats provide endless content for my ehow articles.
  • Pets are cheaper than kids or therapy, and easier to come by than a good life partner. That may not seem directly related to writing, but it is — because unless you’re JK Rowling or Stephen King, you probably don’t have a ton of cash to spare.

So, what are you waiting for? Get thee to an animal shelter!


6 Responses to Writers and Pets

  1. Jenna says:

    Dude, you’re almost as bad as that Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial. I’d take more pets if I could.

    I want to add to your list and say that animals can also help you come up with characters! In one of my NaNos, Lauren’s ferrets Travis & Meeka were inspiration for human supporting characters known Travis Traver and Mika Chu. :p

  2. Cool!

    I’ve never seen the Sarah McLachlan commercial, but I don’t mean to make anyone feel guilty. I can’t take any more pets right now, either. That’s all the more reason to encourage people who don’t have too many pets to do it. 😉

  3. Jenna says:

    The commercial has Sarah’s song “Angel” playing over photos of sad-eyed doggies and kitties. I have to change the channel every time it comes on.

  4. Aw, I hear you. I’ve been “window shopping” dogs online as I fantasize about getting my own doggy, and just reading the little descriptions always chokes me up. I went to the Rescues & Runways event tonight and was choked up the WHOLE TIME. And these dogs were probably all gonna get adopted (the place was PACKED). I think maybe those were happy tears?

  5. Jenna says:

    I think they were tears of you wanting to take all those doggies home. 🙂

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