Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Writing is often a very solitary act. We writers need to be able to focus on the task at hand without any distractions. Just one interruption can send our entire train of thought careening off the tracks into unknown and unwanted territory. Thus, the need for isolation. We lock ourselves in our rooms, put on some headphones, and get to work with the hope that no one will bother us until we finish this next chapter.
This isolation works really well in helping us get stuff done. However, it also can get pretty lonely. This is why everyone needs a writing buddy, and I’m not talking about a human one, though those are very nice too. The buddies I’m talking about tend to come in the four-legged variety. Everyone needs someone to keep them company, and sometimes, all you need is a cute furry companion.
The Pros of a Furry Writing Buddy
Pets can make great writing companions for the following reasons:
They keep you company, even on late nights. Pets don’t care how late or early it may be. Often times, they just want to spend time with you. If you are sitting in one place for long periods of time, chances are your pet will be right there with you so you don’t feel alone.
They can keep you warm. If you have a smaller pet, like a cat, then they can lay in your lap as you work. This way your lap feels nice and warm and your pet gets some much-needed cuddles. Even big dogs can keep you warm if they lay at your feet, giving you a cozy footrest.
Writer’s block is the worst, and sometimes all you need to get past it is to talk it out with someone. Pets can be that someone, even if they can’t give you any real feedback. Even just vocalizing the thoughts can help you process things. Pretending to have an argument with your pet can help you see multiple sides of the conversation, and hopefully, come up with a solution without looking too crazy.
If dialogue, or some other part of your story, isn’t working for you, try reading it out loud to someone. Sometimes just hearing the words out loud will help you find the problem. If you don’t want to read to another person, your pet will happily listen.
Lastly, but most importantly: Pets are cute. I think this point explains itself nicely.
Unfortunately, pets do come with their own set of cons to go along with the pros. Some of the downsides to furry writing companions include:
Are often so fluffy and cute that they become distracting. As nice as it can be to have a cat sleeping on your lap, they can often be very distracting. Suddenly you’re typing with one hand because you are using the other to pet them. or they have such a cute look on their sleepy little face that all brain functions cease and you just end up staring at the cuteness until… wait, what was I talking about again?
Pets, dogs especially, aren’t always quiet. They make a lot of noises that can be very distracting from barking and meowing, to hacking something up, at which point you end up running through the house in order to find them before they puke on something important.
Claws hurt. Some animals are good about keeping their claws under control and others aren’t. Sometimes when cats are happy, they like to flex their claws in and out, which can be very painful if they are laying on you.
Demand food at certain times regardless of the workflow. Dinner time is dinner time, regardless of how well you are doing on your writing. Once the pet is aware of what time it is, good luck getting any peace and quiet until their food bowl has been filled. Even if their bowl already was filled. Just because you can see the bottom in some places does not mean your bowl is empty Mitten!
May like to hit buttons on keyboards and computers, threatening hours of work. I mean, buttons are fun to press and we spend so much time pressing them, that our pets may want to join in on the fun. Unfortunately, they don’t understand why we hit the buttons, and so they hit them at random, which can lead to entire sections of work being deleted or lost.
While pets are great at keeping you company and listening to your various problems, they can’t provide any real advice. For that kind of writing help, you are going to have to talk to actual people. Scary, yes, but very helpful.
My Writing Buddies
When it comes to my furry writing companions, I have two. Both are cats because cats rule and dogs drool. One is a chunky calico who thinks she is the queen of the water bowl, as well as the rest of the house. Her name is rightfully Cleo and she is a champion cuddler. If she wants to lay on your lap, she isn’t asking for permission. She is the queen, after all.
My other cat is a gray tabby who is afraid of everything and is a little broken at times, but I love her all the same. Her name is Mitten. It was supposed to be a placeholder name, because it rhymed with kitten, while we figured out a better one, but it eventually stuck. Mitten likes to pretend she doesn’t like attention but secretly does given that she is often nearby whenever I’m writing.
Pets Are Amazing
Admittedly, pets don’t play into writing a lot, but they can make what is often a very lonely job into a more enjoyable one. I’ve had plenty of late nights at the computer that were made more bearable by a cat on my lap or sitting close by keeping me company.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone should get a pet because pet ownership is a big deal. It is not something that someone should get into lightly. Pets are a big responsibility and not everyone is cut out for it. However, if you are ready for a pet, by all means, get one. Preferably from a shelter. I recommend cats, but I’m a little biased.
Having a writing buddy is great, and pets can fit that role nicely. Unfortunately, they can’t replace actual people, which I guess means I’ll have to write about real writing buddies soon.