The Dog Ate My Homework

The Dog Ate My Homework
August 8, 2016 No Comments » Uncategorized admin

naughty dog with chewed homework

As a book coach I hear it all the time: the all-too-common, weak-kneed, the-dog-ate-my-homework type of excuse as to why my client did not keep their promise to themselves. The promise was to write; the agreement to sit down to rewriting, or the embrace the tedious task of creating an outline for a new book. Instead, I get a last-minute text saying they have to cancel our appointment because they did not get anything written…again.

The primary reason people hire me as a book coach is they hope that by giving me some of their hard earned cash that I will be the whip that finally ensures that their book gets completed. A coach’s job is to provide inspiration, encouragement as well as sound writing advice in addition to helping them create a well-defined plan so that they can finally see their book in print.

So why the excuses?

Believe me, the last thing I want to be is some grown person’s version of their grade school teacher, “Tommy, why didn’t you get your homework done?” That is not very interesting and it’s counter-productive. The magic, sunshiny perfect day for writing will elude them forever if they don’t make a commitment and discipline themselves to undertake the less than fun aspects of writing when the muse seems to have left the room forever.

Discipline is a hated word for many, I’m sure. But if you consider the roots of the word discipline, you discover that it means the practice of a being a student (disciple). And a disciple is always in service to a higher authority. For the sake of argument, let’s say that the higher authority for a writer is the creative force that runs like blood through humanity. In many cultures this is personified as a goddess who embodies beauty, knowledge and creativity. Aphrodite, Venus, and Saraswati are some of her names. Rather than writing being simply an ego-based activity, what if we saw the vocation of writing as being in service to the wisdom, ideas and images that wish to be born into the world through the words that we write.

When we sit at our computer or notebook not simply in praise of my own genius but rather like a disciple sitting at the feet of the goddess of art, wisdom and beauty. All she asks in return is commitment. That means that when the going gets hard, we stick with it. It means having the discipline to sit down when we say we will and committing to the daily word count or pages that we said we would. Yes, there will always be the pull of the world. The laundry, the kids, the aging mother, the visitors from out of town or the long hours of my job that will demand our time.

Nonetheless, we are writers. And despite everything we must write. And this is what we must commit ourselves to: to be in service to a higher creative force that is more interesting and more magnificent than our small, distracted, self-doubting, unworthy selves. Let us take advantage of the opportunity that we were born into: that as individuals, as human beings we were created to be creative.

This is why I am committed to be a disciple of the Goddess of Writing.


To discuss your next book and how I can support you getting it finished, please contact me.

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