Why Writing a Book is Like Walking a Dog


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I was walking my dog the other day when all of a sudden it occurred to me that writing a book and dog walking are actually quite similar. At first glance, this might seem a bit strange. How can walking a dog be anything like writing a book? Well, I came up with four reasons why writing and dog walking are similar.

You have to do it every day. A dog needs regular walks, preferably every day, so I have to take the dog out regularly for its exercise. In the same way, I have to sit down to write regularly, again, preferably every day. A book only gets written when its author sits down and works on it regularly. I have to put my fingers on the keys often, writing and editing and spending time with my book in order to get it finished.

It’s not easy to do every day. Some days I really don’t want to take the dog for her walk. It might be so cold I can see my breath misting in the air, or so windy I’m getting blown about, or maybe I’m just feeling too lazy. But the dog still needs to go out. And there are also plenty of days when I don’t feel like writing. I might want to watch Youtube videos, or read books, or I might just feel lazy. But, no matter how hard it is, the book needs to be written whether I feel like it or not.

Your mood is important. On the days I’ve been out with the dog and I’ve been grumpy about it, everything seems worse than it is. The dog seems to misbehave more, or get distracted, or simply not want to walk. But on the days when I make an effort to enjoy the walk, things always seem to go a lot smoother. The same is true for writing. If I go into my writing session feeling grumpy that I have to do it, then I’m unlikely to get much written. But if I make an effort to be in the right mood, then I am far more productive, and might even end up enjoying the session.

The dog/characters will get distracted. My dog is still only a puppy, so she tends to get distracted very easily. She will want to eat things, or carry rubbish in her mouth, or sniff in the bushes instead of walking. And sometimes, the characters want to do their own thing. They want to go off on wild goose chases and down rabbit holes. And it can be very frustrating. But, just like I have to be gentle with my dog and persuade her to walk the way I want to go, I have to be careful with my characters and tempt them back to the plot.

What would you compare writing to? Do you, like me, find it difficult to write every day? And does walking (even without a dog), help you come up with ideas?

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  1. Wow! I never thought of that. You have me thinking now:)

    1. It's funny how many things writing can be compared to. I saw someone who compared it to gardening, but I don't like gardening, so dog walking made ever so much more sense to me. Thanks for comment.


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