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What Our Pets Teach Us About Creativity

Writing and creating is an arduous process, and our pets can teach us a lot about some much needed skills to help the process along. Life buzzes along all too quickly, and we can easily become consumed with the bottom line. But, if we take a moment and consider our most loyal companions, we can pick up on some tips for a better creative process.

1. Nap

Why did we ever stop napping? Our pets know the value of a power nap to rejuvenate. I’m always so envious of seeing a cat curled up in a window, sleeping in the sun, or a dog cozied up in his favorite corner of the couch. Of course, working adults can’t always nap every day, but when we are working on a writing piece, a power nap might be just the ticket. We’ve all had the “staring at the screen” zombie mode moments, and when our eyes and brains have glazed over, a short nap (usually no more than 30 minutes for maximum effect) can jump start our brains again. 

2. Feel the wind in our fur

Nothing is cuter than a dog or cat lifting their faces to the wind. My dog spends a lot of time lying in the sun, just being. I don’t know what he’s thinking, but he looks so relaxed and happy that it must be something good. As a writer, I think a lot about the process of writing and how we make it harder. To create, our brains need down time, free of distraction, free of pressure…just like when our pets lie in the sun, gaze out the window, and roll in the grass (that one, I won’t be trying, though). Like our pets, maybe we should put down our work and…gasp…our phones, and just take a look around and enjoy our surroundings.

3. Curiosity

Our pets are endlessly curious. A bug, a dandelion, a bird outside, a passing car, a weird smell…every tiny thing gets their attention. Writers are always trying to think of new ways to say old things, and new ideas to spark a great piece. Curiosity is essential, and curiosity about small things, even everyday things and the new possibilities they can present, adds a crucial element to our writing process. Sometimes those internet rabbit holes and random articles we read add more to our idea bank than we may realize. A quick detour to check out an interesting little store or a new bakery could be the spark of curiosity needed to electrify our writing.

4. Be in the moment

Pets have an enviable ability to enjoy the moment and live it to the fullest. Humans often do not. By watching our pets, we learn to, as Henry Thoreau wrote, “Suck out all the marrow of life.” Cheesy? Maybe. But essential to a writer. My dog approaches an ear scratch, a milk bone, a random cheerio under the recliner, and a dropped stuffed animal with equal levels of excitement each time. He lives in the moment–as we should!

For an optimal writing process, our brains need rest, relaxation, fun, curiosity, and contentment…all lessons we can learn from our pets! (And to further ease the process, we can help too!)