Writing Is a Dog’s Life

If you’re anything like me — and I know I am — you’re probably sick of the constant stream of “What ____ are you?” quizzes that are now ubiquitous on Facebook and websites like Buzzfeed. So forgive me as I indulge in a question for you writers out there:

“What kind of dog do you write like:

Snoopy or Brian Griffin?”

Snoopy (from Peanuts) and Brian (from Family Guy)

Some startling similarities exist between these two dogs, aside from their appearance. The most noted — and the reason for this post — is the fact that they are both writers.

The image of Snoopy sitting atop his doghouse with a typewriter is iconic. While Brian, despite his protests, never seems to be working on his craft.

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5 Writing Lessons I’ve Learned from LEGO

The LEGO Movie posterWith today’s release of The LEGO® Movie, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about what I’ve learned from building LEGO sets.

For the past couple of years, my wife and I have let LEGO sets become something of a guilty pleasure in our life. It’s a nice outlet for our creative side, and you won’t believe the crazy things we have planned.

Most people acknowledge that LEGO building is, to some degree, both entertaining and educational. There have been articles written about how LEGO offers lessons in lifeinnovation, leadership, and creativity.

I’d go a step further, however, and suggest there are layers of wisdom for writers stacked in those click-together bricks.

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Saturday Morning Time Machine

ABC All-Star Saturday advertisementMy childhood didn’t disappear. It merely went to sleep, hibernating, waiting for me to grow up and need it again. The toys and cartoons of my youth are waking up now, reminding me of what it was like to be young, inviting me to play.

In this age of information, everything is at our fingertips. If we can search Google for it, we can probably find it.

So, it’s difficult to remember a time when the stories from my childhood were impermanent. I’m not talking about books. I’m talking about the stories that aired on Saturday mornings.

Saturday Morning Previews

Saturday morning television was such prime real estate that networks aired prime-time specials (with names like “All-Star Saturday” or “Preview Revue”) to promote the new fall line-up. Hosted by the latest pop sensations and kid-friendly characters, these specials gave sneak previews of new cartoons or live-action shows.

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Luck Is Made, Not Found

Tiana, from Disney's The Princess and the Frog

Tiana, from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. ©2009. All rights reserved.

I believe in luck.

I’m not talking about the “wishing on a star,” “genie in the lamp,” or “fairy godmother sending you to the ball” variety. Though, to be honest, I still believe in that kind of luck, too. But it’s very rare.

No, the kind of luck that I’m talking about is the luck you make for yourself.

I think Disney got it right in The Princess and the Frog, when Tiana’s father told her:

“You wish and you dream with all your little heart. But you remember, Tiana, that old star can only take you part of the way. You got to help him with some hard work of your own.”

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500 A Day, Every Day

“But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more…” ~ The Proclaimers, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”

I don't always walk 500 miles, but when I do, I also walk 500 more.Before you freak out, no this isn’t one of those “I’m exercising for my New Year’s resolution” kind of blog posts. Walking is not my thing. But this is about setting goals. And my goal for 2014 is to write 500 words a day.

Last year, a lot of things happened to derail my love of writing and my desire to complete the writing goals I had set for myself. But in truth, my writing goals for 2013 weren’t that realistic, and they weren’t very concrete.

And The Universe apparently knew this.

In fact, The Universe decided enough was enough and threw a couple of heaters at my head just to wake me up. It left me in the dirt, dazed, wondering how that didn’t get me killed. Now that I’ve shaken off the near-misses, I’m back on base, bat in hand. (Have I driven this baseball metaphor into the ground? I think, yes.)

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