On Dog Walking and Creativity

For over two years as I’ve been working on my novel, I’ve also been working as a dog walker. My hours vary depending on how many doggies need walking or cats need caring. Sometimes after a busy day, I just want to fall on the floor and never get up again. But, in general, I think this physical job has helped my writing more than hinder it.

 

Get Out and Get Going

 

Physical activity that doesn’t require critical thinking is a known way to combat writer’s block.

 

Writing is all about what’s going on in your head, very cerebral. Getting out and walking for hours a day means I can turn off the part of my brain that does all the writing. This allows the creative juices to work in the background and solve the plot issues I was having troubles with, or think of new scenes and characters.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-25,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Physical activity that doesn’t require critical thinking is a known way to combat writer’s block. While writer’s block hasn’t been a major problem for me recently (knock on wood), being able to put writing on the backburner means I’m not getting creatively drained.

 

Interesting People and Places

 

The people we pass and sometimes talk to, add to my internal catalog of character traits.

 

My job involves spending lots of time with many different types of dogs with lots of personalities. I’ve dabbled with an idea about a dog-walker having to save a dog that secretly belonged to a secret service agent.

But mostly, it’s the places we walk and the people we meet along the way that offer the inspiration.

While out with my fur friends, I’ve discovered many a favourite tree and plenty of inspiring scenery. The people we pass and sometimes talk to, add to my internal catalog of character traits; whether appearance, mannerisms, or personality based.

People are endlessly interesting.

 

Nature and the Creative Soul

 

Being in a happy place is great for motivation. Motivation is great for writing.

 

In my last post, I wrote about the healing power of nature. Especially when it gets warm (for like two months in Canada), I find the green trees and the bright sun fill my soul with bliss. Even though I find winter a little soul-crushing after December, I can still find the beauty.

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Even without the direct inspiration, nature is what keeps my state-of-being in a happy place. Being in a happy place is great for motivation. Motivation is great for writing.

I will always find joy in nature and my job allows me to be out in it a lot. Sometimes I do end up a sweaty, dog-hair covered mess, but there’s always an underlying joy that allows me to keep writing.

Thoughts from Away ~ Healing Nature

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.” – Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

 

I spent the past weekend frolicking in the forest up north in Algonquin Park. My family usually spends a weekend there in early May in the hopes of seeing moose. Early May is a good time to see moose.

When the snow melts, the salt from the roads creates salty puddles that the nutrient-deficient moose like to drink from. If you have luck on your side and are strong enough to get up early, there should be an abundance of moose to view.

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Unfortunately, we only saw one moose this year.

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(I’m so sorry for this crappy picture)

Despite a lack of moose, I still enjoyed myself immensely. I’d been feeling a bit rundown at work and was in need of a refresh.

I personally believe in the healing power of nature. Something about being under the sky, surrounded by fresh air, trees in all directions, is good for the soul.

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Obviously, it’s not a catch-all solution; I’m a full supporter of getting proper treatment for mental health problems whether it’s medication or not. For my personal brand of high-functioning anxiety and depression, I find time away from civilization to be beneficial.

People aren’t meant to be so disconnected from nature.

I also firmly believe that if you can get out into nature, you should. It can’t hurt. Simply going to a local park might be enough, or even standing under a tree (it would probably appreciate the company).

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Coming home is always bittersweet because I could just spend forever up there surrounded by woods. I definitely want to come back as a tree. A big oak tree.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-25,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

*In all these pictures, the lakes are still partially frozen. The upsettingly sad April we had meant the lakes up north have only started melting. It was interesting though, seeing all the chunks of ice.