Monday, December 01, 2008

The fishless fisherman

I visited a local PetSmart yesterday to soothe a gnawing irrational ache to adopt another pet. First we went to one store but found out the volunteers from a local rescue shelter hadn't brought the dogs.

So then we drove a few miles away to another PetSmart and discovered about ten dogs from a different rescue group camped outside the front doors with their volunteers.

I coaxed my husband to pet a few of the dogs with me.

When I finally asked about the adoption requirements I was told I needed to have vet references. I said I hadn't had a pet in ten years and that was in a different state. The woman in charge said I could apply but rarely do they make exceptions.

Okay--by this time I was feeling a little frustrated. I love animals and suddenly felt like my former pet owner status meant nothing.

So I went a little further and asked her what they would do if I'd never owned a pet before but I wanted to adopt one of their dogs.

She said they would refer me to another rescue shelter.

By this time, my husband had stopped petting the dogs and stood quietly by my side.

So what does my pet search experience have to do with writing, you ask?

Quite a lot.

This pet rescue group probably dreams about adopting out their dogs. They probably even sit in meetings discussing all the pets they will save and put in good homes. They might even buy a fancy van to transport their dogs back and forth to the store every weekend. When they show up with with their dogs and fold up chairs, they smile when people tell them what a great group they are for doing what they do.

But rarely do they adopt out any dogs.

Ok--what about writing?

Think about this. How many people show up at their desks every morning? They probably even turn on their computers and check their emails. I bet they even thumb through a few pages of the The Writer magazine. They might even go so far as to meet with other writers at a writers' group. When people ask what they do, they proudly say "I'm a writer."

But rarely do they write any stories.

Now maybe like the dog rescue group, they have these rules that make it hard for them to do what they want to do. Maybe a publisher doesn't pay enough or the word count is too long. Or maybe the genre is one that they don't care to try or maybe, just maybe . . . they are afraid to get rejected.

They call themselves writers but never write.

Are your restrictions holding you back from accomplishing your goals? Are you spending more time thinking and dreaming about writing than actually writing?

An editor is waiting to adopt your story, your article or your book. Don't make them go to another writer.


Angie Ledbetter said...

What really good food for thought, Terri. Thanks for this post.

giddymomof6 said...

what a thoughtful post! It is frustrating and irratating to think of all the red tape to help nowadays, but then at the same time, it was amazing to see it put back into our own lives. I mean, how many times do we make thing so much harder for ourselves in the long run?

Sassy Granny ... said...

Like a nearly full term pregnancy, the saga that strains my writing belly is about to experience the pressures of labor. I write simply, quickly and sporadically today ... but then it will be a sure labor.

It's coming ... The House of My Pilgrimage

Be blessed,

Pat's Place said...

What a terrible dog adoption group! Bummer! How do they expect to place dogs with those kinds of rules? And that was a nice analogy to the rules (inner critic?) we impose on our writing.

Janna Qualman said...

Terri, you are SO good at tying real life in with the writerly world. So refreshing!

Melissa Marsh said...

Wow. Terri, this was an awesome post. And how frustrating for you with the whole adoption process. Sometimes the rules that are supposed to keep the "bad" eggs out keep the good eggs out, as well!

Jessica said...

Wow, very thought-provoking post. And I can't believe you wouldn't be able to adopt one. We got our cats from the PetSmart years ago and didn't have to go through any of that.
I guess they just want to make sure the animals get a good home?

Great way to tie it into writing!

Anonymous said...

This post does make one stop and really think. And I have to say, sounds like the group is really not interested in finding the dogs a home at all. I can understand being careful about placing them but that seems way too extreme.

Susan Storm Smith said...

Thank God I did my writing assignments this morning LOL
Excellent food for thought!!

Patty H. said...

That's odd to have that kind of policy in place. I'm sure it's out of concern of animal abuse.

Writing-I'm not much of a writer, just can't get my thoughts out the way I want to.

As for why I've been out of work-I have been out on medical leave.

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

I'm sorry you were unable to adopt a pet. I hear what you are saying. Another correlation some might pull from that is: a writer cannot publish without experience and references. It is rare that a person who has never been published writes a big hit on a first try. They usually have to build a resume first doing just that-writing piddly things that aren't on their perfectionist list.

Rachel Eggum Cinader said...

I always love your posts! I'm back from Uganda and working on lining up speaking engagements for 2009! Love your Christmas tree too!

Walk said...

I thought I was in church cuz my toes got stepped on so much. Ouch! Ok, you've got me pegged, I shall set writing goals and keep them. Now where did I put my to do list?

Oh, you have something at my blog Romantic Walk,

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Perfect thoughts...

I must admit, it's been tough to write during the holiday week. I think a pause was my necessary, but I am struggling in my "dream" of being a publisher writer these days. Something has shifted in my spirit. The process has been draining, and I've lost a little of my fight. I don't know what God has in store for my dreams, but keeping to Him and his path is the only course of action that assures me a completed one in the end.

You're such an encourager, Terri. Thanks for adding your words to my life.


AnooCre8ion said...

Very encouraging words Terri. A lot to think about as well.