Posts Tagged ‘Dog Writing’

A dog’s take on writer’s block

In Being Cute, Dog Writing, Shelley and Zoey, Shelley Widhalm, Uncategorized on May 18, 2014 at 11:30 am

Zoey is experiencing writer's block, but not toy and treat block.

Zoey is experiencing writer’s block, but not toy and treat block.

I am experiencing doggie block, just as my BFF Shelley goes on and on about writer’s block. For that reason, I thought I would share her blog this week.

Here it is at shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com:

Mastering something like writing is like mastering the wheels of your life.

Once you know how to ride a bike, you don’t forget—and the same goes with writing. The old skills are stored away as you move on to the bigger wheels, except in those cases where you get stuck, or experience writer’s block or burnout.

For me, I started with a big-wheel bike—a four-wheeled, pedaled toy I rode in the driveway because the road I grew up on was on a hill.

By four or five, I upgraded to a tricycle and then to a bigger tricycle, which now hangs upside down in my younger brother’s garage, a sentimental reminder of our childhood. We both rode the red trike, and we both started with training wheels on our bicycles—a step up in our wheels with our father running behind us, yelling to keep straight, turn, pedal or brake.

At 17, I got “real wheels” with my first car (a bright orange Mustang), followed by a pickup truck and a trailer, but never equipment, semis or boats because of fear and a lack of desire and skill. I arrived at a stopping point in my growth, similar to how I got stuck by writer’s block or writer’s burnout in a creative shutdown.

These shutdowns caused guilt, fear and curiosity about why it was I couldn’t write. I stopped and reflected, questioned, got edgy and waited, eventually learning that I could take steps to get out.

Writer’s block—temporarily being unable to produce new work or come up with new ideas—can stem from a sudden lack of confidence, a fear of completion, the seeking of perfection or taking on a project that seems too daunting.

Alternatively, burnout is long-term exhaustion in writing, work or even a hobby involving disengagement, a lack of energy, diminished interest and a reduced sense of accomplishment. In a job situation, it can be caused by constant stress and feelings of helplessness, such as working for low pay without hope of a raise or promotion.

The key is to realize that writing is a process of discovery. It’s a growth of experience—taking on larger and larger wheels as you put in the hours—and it’s a relationship between you and your world, you and your characters, and you and your creations. A blockage or burnout, once over, can help you feel revived and re-energized to return to writing, having stepped back to think about why you couldn’t do what you loved and figured out a few methods and techniques to go forward.

Focus on the process, not on the final product through freewriting, journaling, brainstorming and engaging in nonjudgmental writing with the inner editor turned off until the editing stage. Focus not on writing to get published but for the internal rewards.

Just like riding each level of wheels, realize it was all about play until you got to the vehicles that require state-issued licenses, or the Big Wheels. Enjoy the little wheels as you experience them, instead of putting so much expectation on each word that you write, type and think out during the process.

At the end, you’ll have both the little and the Big Wheels, the process and the product.

Canine Writing Prompts

In All About Me, Being Cute, Shelley Widhalm on May 4, 2014 at 11:30 am

Zoey the Cute Dachshund chews on some good ideas for writing.

Zoey the Cute Dachshund chews on some good ideas for writing.

This week, Shelley (my BFF) is going on and on about writing prompts, but I think she should consider these photos as prompts toward happiness. The truth of the matter is that I am very, very cute and looking at me prompts feelings of glee.

If the pictures don’t work, here are some other writing prompts for writing about dogs:

• Describe your dog’s looks and compare them with his/her personality.
• Look up a fact about dog behavior and describe what your dog does that’s similar.
• Try to see the world from the eyes or the nose of a dog. What do you smell that you normally don’t notice?
• Pretend you’re a cat and don’t want to have anything to do with dogs. What will you do, especially if a dog is brought home to live with you? How will get along?
• Recall memories of your dog’s puppy years and tell those stories.
• Pretend your dog can talk back when you talk to him or her. What about when you say, “No, don’t do that,” or “Come here,” when there are more desirable things elsewhere.
• What does your dog do on a typical walk? What does he/she notice?
• Does your dog like rawhide or a particular treat? What does this say about him or her?
• Write about one of your dog’s favorite toys. What does it make you think about and what emotions does it evoke?
• Walk down the aisles of a dog store and see what happens.
• Explain what happens when you try to dress your dog.

These prompts are just a start. If you want to see what kind of prompts my BFF Shelley came up with, go to shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com.

A Dog Blogger’s Platform

In Dog Writing, Shelley Widhalm on April 27, 2014 at 11:30 am

I am on a window ledge as I blog about platforms.

I am on a window ledge as I blog about platforms.

My platform is simple.

I am a cute dachshund, and people love me, so those who aren’t familiar with my cute dog looks should realize they’re missing out. What they’re missing is called puppy love, loving your dog and the dog-BFF friendship.

That’s why I blog. I want to let people know how to care for and treat your dog (i.e. giving your dogs lots of treats, playtime and love), tidbits about dog behavior and an insight into how dogs think.

As I provide this invaluable information, I also want to tell a few stories about my life and my relationships with my BFF Shelley, other dogs (I don’t like big dogs), cats and all animals and birds. I like things that move (except for those big, scary dogs).

This is what I learned from blogging:

• Blogs should be updated often, so I blog weekly, just like my BFF at shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com.
• They need to have passion, and that’s what I have. I’m passionate about getting attention and being recognized for my 10-plus level of cuteness.
• They need to be creative and distinct from other blogs. How many dogs do you know that blog? And how many of those dogs have been blogging for three years?
• And they should build an audience of readers. I guess I need to work on that one, although everyone should automatically want to know about me.

A Dog’s Nose for Freewriting

In Dog Writing, Shelley and Zoey, Shelley Widhalm on April 20, 2014 at 11:30 am

I have a journal for freewriting.

I have a journal for freewriting.

When dogs do freewriting, this is what happens.

We write like we sniff, wandering in our steps as we chase the smell. We don’t get distracted from our mission of getting to the source, and we keep on going … well, until we’re called back inside, or our leash gets pulled because our owners think we need to get a move on.

My BFF Shelley, a writer, said that “freewriting is a useful writer’s tool to get out of writer’s block, to tap into memory or to get started on a writing project, like those runners who first walk a lap or two as a warm-up exercise.” She said, “The only rule of freewriting is to not stop writing.”

So, here goes:

In the long, wavy grass of Shelley’s dad’s backyard, I am crouching (this was last summer, not now when there’s all that snow stuff). I’m waiting for the baby bird to come down and play, the one up in his parents’ nest-home. I bark and turn circles, yelling, “Come play Come play!” By the way, I like birds of all types, geese (both tend to fly off when I say hi), cats (they turn up their snouts when I bark a greeting), and dogs my size (until I get bored). I like this bird, and I want to be friends. The bird’s parents are circling up in the sky, making this awful squawking sound, and Shelley’s Dad is snapping, “Zoey, come inside. Now!” I’m not listening because I want to make friends with the baby bird. The noises from the birds above stop when I feel a man’s hand under my belly lift me up, take me inside and ruin my fun and chance at another friend.

Not fair.

Outlining Techniques for Dogs

In All About Me, Shelley and Zoey, Shelley Widhalm on April 13, 2014 at 11:30 am

My dog stories are pretty as a picture.

My dog stories are pretty as a picture.

My BFF Shelley is going on and on in her blog this week about the outlining process for writing novels.

The only outline I think she needs to write is the one about my exciting life as the cutest dachshund this side of the Mississippi River. I think I’ll help her out in getting started.

Title: The Very Exciting Tale of Zoey the Very Cute Dachshund

I. Basic premise: Very cute Zoey wants to make more animal friends (excluding all big dogs), but life’s forces get in her way from getting what she wants, causing her to realize she likes people best.

II. The hook: Zoey is out on a walk during one of Colorado’s rare sunny winter days, when Cricket the Pawn Shop Terrier jumps on the door, welcoming Zoey inside. They do the sniffing routine, but Zoey is more interested in the people who drop to their knees and pet her, telling her how cute she is. All Cricket does is jump up and down and show her jealousy.

III. Introducing the main character(s): I, Zoey, am the main character, and other than learning about my status as the cutest dog this side of the Mississippi, I don’t need an introduction. My looks say it all.

IV. The inciting incident: Zoey’s BFF Shelley tells Zoey they need to go on their walk, so she gets exercise. Zoey doesn’t want to go after getting all of the male attention from the pawn shop owners.

V. Big Plot Moments: Zoey digs in her paws, but Shelley picks her up and sets her back down a block away. There are no people. Zoey pouts. She encounters a cat, but the cat runs, and then three big dogs that all look at her when she barks loudly, apparently thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding.”

VI. Consider the point of view: Zoey’s, of course.

VII. Resolution: Zoey gets to go on more walks, more trips to stores, more places and wherever she desires, all for the purpose of meeting more people. That’s what she wanted all along. She pretended she wanted to meet other animals, but as a people dog, she’s all about the people.

The end.

(See Shelley’s blog about outlining at shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com)

A Dog’s Take on Bee Hives

In Being Cute, Shelley and Zoey, Shelley Widhalm on March 16, 2014 at 11:30 am

Here I am among pretty flowers. No bees, though.

Here I am among pretty flowers. No bees, though.

I don’t have much to say about the birds, the bees and writing, like my BFF Shelley, given that I had a big spay surgery when I was just a pup.

Here’s a cute photo of me with a cone around my neck following my surgery in spring 2009.

Afterward, I was brought to Shelley in a big blanket. I looked very sleepy and went home and took a big nap, cuddled in Shelley’s lap.

Now, I’m in good health, probably because I have pet insurance and you know how that goes.

If Shelley stops my pet insurance, then something, like an injury or health care, will happen to me, I’m sure.

In her blog this week, Shelley compares writing to hive activity. Here’s a link to her blog:


A Dog’s (Good) Life

In All About Me, Being Cute, Dog Writing, Shelley Widhalm on January 19, 2014 at 11:30 am

Zoey has a journal at the ready to tell her stories.

Zoey has a journal at the ready to tell her stories.

I don’t exactly consider myself a memoirist as I write about the dog’s life.

My name is Zoey.

I am a very cute miniature dachshund.

I just turned five.

And I weigh 10 pounds.

I like to write about what’s happened to me and what isn’t happening that should, such as receiving an endless supply of treats (wait, I do get them from the mysterious cupboard I can’t see into) and engaging in endless playtime. (Sometimes, I start to play and stop when I hear a noise, getting distracted about the who-what-when-where-why of sound.)

My life was dramatic at the beginning but now has settled into somewhat of a routine.

I was born on December 20, 2008, and at the tender age of nine months was sent to a pet store. Just a couple days after my arriving, my future BFF Shelley held me and fell hard for my adorable self as I leaned my head against her chest, claiming her.

Oddly, she put me back and didn’t rescue me until the next day. (I realize that I’m not a rescue dog, but I wanted her and only her, even though she wanted to do the right thing and get a puppy from an animal shelter or rescue group … until my cuteness won her over!)

Shelley trained me, and I sort of learned what she wanted me to do.

And then she sent me away while she moved. I lived with her dad, so I didn’t know who my BFF was for awhile. She took me back after a few months, but the tension and conflict of not having a secure home caused some issues for me.

For instance, I don’t like letting her out of my sight when her dad visits or she visits him. What if they do the switcharoo thing again?

But despite this rising and unsettling action, I’ve settled into a happy ending of sorts – except for the part when Shelley leaves me five days a week to go to work. I get great treats, OK dog food and lots of play time, plus walks (except when it’s raining or snowing, because I have princess feet).

Anyway, it’s all good, me living out my dreamy dog life.

Dog Blogger to be cont.

In All About Me, Being Cute, Dog Writing, Shelley Widhalm on December 29, 2013 at 11:30 am

I have a bone to pick with cats.

I have a bone to pick with cats.

I blogged my way through 2013, letting the world know about my interesting life as a miniature dachshund.

My name is Zoey.

But you can call me Zoey the Cutest Dachshund Ever, or Zoey, the CEO of Cuteness.

I earned this title in 2013 and will continue demonstrating why I’m cute, lovable and in need of constant attention in 2014.

In 2013, I blogged once a week for 49, not 52 weeks. I got too busy those few times to sit down in front of a computer and write about life, when I was out living life.

I wrote about the qualities of cute dogs, gave advice on how to take care of and love pet dogs, and told stories from my own life.

I wrote a couple of poems (called canine poetry) and retold a few fairy tales so that they starred me.

And, occasionally, I wrote about cats, but not too much because I’ve been noticing that they’re not that friendly. I tried to befriend the neighbor cat, Cheddar, an orange Main Coon, but he hissed and backed away every time I tried to say “hi.” Gee, as if “hi” is a mean, threatening word.

And then there’s Kiara, a princess of a cat who sits on her pedestal and glares at me whenever I’m over for a visit. Each time I invite her to play, she hisses and hunches her back or scratches at my nose. This behavior is not very nice, especially considering that her owner is always saying to her, “Nice kitty.” More accurate would be to say Rude Cat, because she isn’t nice and she isn’t young.

I don’t understand why cats have to be so cliquey, telling the world, “Well, if you’re a dog and not a cat, I’m not interested in your being seen and heard.”

Alternatively, I’m a very nice, equal opportunity dog who wants to be friends with dogs my size or smaller (not big dogs – too scary!), cats, birds, geese and anything else in the animal kingdom.

Anyway, in 2014, I’ll blog about the dog life, my life and life without cats. If they don’t like me, I don’t like them (imagine my snout turned skyward). Humph!

Golden Dog Books, Book 4

In Dog Tales, Uncategorized, What's important on March 3, 2013 at 11:00 am

Zoey uses her laptop to write another children's/puppy story.

Zoey uses her laptop to write anothyer children’s/puppy story.

Zoey White and the Seven Little Dogs (Zoey’s Version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”)

Once upon a time, long, long ago, a lovely maiden sat by the window, sewing. As she worked, she thought, “If only I had a puppy, I would be so, so happy.” She got her wish when a dachshund puppy named Zoey entered her life.

But unfortunately, the maiden died.

The puppy got a new owner, an ugly, crooked lady who kept asking her mirrors to make her the fairest of them all. Meanwhile, the puppy grew into an adorable, beautiful creature with black-tipped ears and a long, fluffy tail. Everyone loved her, well, except for the crooked lady.

The lady took away the puppy’s leash and clothes and put her to work, not allowing her to go on walks or see the outdoors. The puppy wished for a handsome prince, but the lady wanted her to be very ugly, so that nobody could love her.
Not liking the competition, the lady sent the puppy into the woods. The puppy found a sweet little, tiny little doghouse and fell asleep on seven tiny beds.
The seven little dogs who slept in those very beds, smaller even than Zoey, came home singing about hi-ho, hi-ho stuff.

Zoey saw them and cried, “I know who you are” (having seen their names on their tiny little bed frames) “Zippy and Zappy and Pretty and Pappy, and Play, Jay and Fay. Hello, I’m Zoey of a beautiful Maiden.”

After telling the little dogs about the crooked lady, they guarded her and wouldn’t let her eat a poisoned dog treat. Alas, when Zoey’s love, a handsome dog prince named Zach, came into her life, the little dogs served as groomsmen and bridesmaids.

And so, Zoey and Zach lived happily ever after. They had puppies they named after the seven little dogs, minus one.

Zippy, Zappy, Pretty, Pappy, Fay and Play Jay, these are the names of the new loves of their lives.

How nice!

Zoey Writes a News Article

In All About Me, Being Cute, Dog Writing, Shelley Widhalm on September 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

Zoey the Lapdog uses her laptop to write a barking news story.

News flash: Zoey the Cute Dachshund is the cutest dog in the world, according to the scientific measures of cuteness, research on the topic and personal anecdote.

Double news flash: When it comes to Zoey’s cuteness, there needs to be a flashing banner across the top of this webpage, stating “ZOEY IS DARN CUTE!”

Zoey, a clever dog who blogs, wrote a news article:

LOVELAND – Zoey the Cute Dachshund reeled in the praise with her cute looks as she strolled downtown. (THIS IS MY LEAD)

Without too much fanfare, the Loveland dog, 3, willingly accepted the praise from the newest addition to her fan club. (SO FAR, I’VE ANSWERED who, what AND where)

“I can’t resist petting her when she’s wagging her tail like that,” a woman said Monday morning as she left a newly reopened coffee shop.

The woman proceeded to pet Zoey, remarking to Zoey’s lucky pet parent about her high level of cuteness.

“She just loves people,” said Shelley, __, the pet parent. (The “__” is because Shelley won’t let me tell you her age – insert doggie eye roll here.)

The woman left, but more fans stopped, asking if they could pet Cute, Adorable, Darling Zoey.


“I am a dog, and therefore I love to be petted,” Zoey said with her eyes. (Humans don’t get dog speak.) “I am not an aloof, snout-in-the-air cat. See my belly. Pet here!”

Shelley, the lucky one, worked on her laptop (writing boring stuff because it wasn’t about me), while Zoey continued soliciting pets.

Zoey averages about 10 to 12 pets an hour in Loveland but about 20 in Fort Collins.

“It’s because I’m cute and people can’t resist a cute pup!” Zoey said in an exclusive interview.

For related writings on Zoey’s writing talents, see Zoey’s personal essay, memoir and canine poetry.