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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Which Tires Me More? Revising The Novel Or Training The Dog?

The jury's still out on that one. 8-)

Well I've finally gotten my momentum going over the last couple weeks and begun sorting through crit feedback and revising the novel. But it's slow going. Lots of other things going on in life, including what I hope is a new and wonderful phase of life with my dog.

Long, dull story short, severe back pain in recent years has really squashed my ability to walk the dog. Which means for the first 2 years of her life, she hasn't been well trained and hasn't been properly socialized, which makes for a myriad of problems.

But the Lord heard my pleas and eased the back pain to the point that I'm able to get out and get moderate amounts of exercise (not like I used to, alas) but still very good. As I've stated here before, you can't possibly know the joy of freedom of movement until it has been taken away from you.

Anyway, the ginormous task before me now is correcting 2 years worth of ill-trained dog. Someone told me about a show called "The Dog Whisperer" and while I don't have cable, I found a DVD at the library featuring episodes on aggression (one of Aztec's issues). Based on that, I've learned that I've been doing just about everything wrong in interacting with my dog. One of us has been the pack leader in my apartment and as you can guess, it wasn't me.

So I realized I needed to start at square one - squelching the hyperactivity when Aztec sees me putting on shoes and socks in prep for going for a walk. Takes LOTS of repetitions for her to lay down calmly and do what I want. Add to that, several times we've gone out today on short leash training jaunts. I revise a little of the novel, then go outside for a training period with the dog. Then I repeat the process over and over throughout the day.

I'm finding that both activities require vast amounts of patience - something which I never had much of to begin with. In terms of mileage, Aztec and I didn't get very far because I have to stop cold every time she begins to pull on the leash.

As to my writing, I've been at it a couple weekends now and I'm STILL revising chapter ONE! OYE!

But they are both very worthy endeavors and I'm going to persist. No one could understand the great joy I will feel when I have Aztec trained to the point that she walks properly on leash and I can trust her around other people and animals. And I'm excited for Aztec too - thinking about how the world will be opened up for her when she's a good canine citizen!

Likewise, my joy will be off the charts when this novel is finally tweaked for the last time and I send the little darling off to agents and editors to do with what they will.

I'm anxious for lots of neighborhood jaunts with the dog and lots of other Arizona based novels are bouncing around in my brain hankering to get out - if I would just finish this one and put it to bed.

Bed. Now there's a tempting thought. But I think I've got just enough energy for one more round of revisions and one more dog walk tonight...


Patricia PacJac Carroll said...

Good post, Brenda,
Praying for you, Aztec, and your book.
God's Favor and blessings,

Kathleen L. said...

These are such great metaphors for persevering through life. It just so happens, they are the same two things I am dealing with--tho not as diligently as you on the dog training end. LOL I admire your persistence. It gives me hope that my unruly two Newfoundlands might someday be trustworthy to take out in public, beyond their fenced yard.

AS far as the manuscript, I find that doing revisions as the suggestions come in from my crit partners helps greatly. Then it never gets overwhelming. Keep us posted on your progress with Aztec and the 'script.

B.K. Jackson said...

Thanks for the prayers, Pac. Aztec and I need them (me more than her as it's always the owners who need the serious training, not the dogs).

Kathleen - I LOVE Newfoundlands! Oh those dogs are just gorgeous! But sadly, A Newfoundland would not be a good match for central Arizona weather. Much too hot for them. I'm sure there probably are people who have them here, but they probably have a humungous pool or some other way for them to keep cool. Give them a doggie treat for me!