Walking the Walk: How to be a Great Pet Writer Without Sacrificing Your Own Pets
As I sit to write this piece, my Boston Terrier is morosely eyeing her pink, paw-printed leash where it dangles, unused, from the front doorknob. My Akita-Boxer cross has positioned herself on the rug near the kitchen sink, sighing like a seasoned Shakespearean actress, announcing to all who will listen that it is an hour past dinnertime and the dog bowl remains alarmingly empty. I say this, not to engender sympathy for them or for me, but to let the other professional content writers who read this know that I speak from hard-earned experience: It’s not always easy to balance the needs of your pet-writing career with those of your pets.
That being said, there are a few tricks of the trade that I have learned while fighting the good fight in in my own personal fur-lined trenches. Here are a few tips that can make the balancing act between pet writer and pet parent a bit easier.
Set Your Priorities
There will be times when your pet’s needs must take the top spot on your to-do list. Pets need food and fresh water; that can’t be ignored. They also need love, affection and exercise. Recognize when these needs cannot be set aside and lay down your writing and meet them.
Conversely, your writing has its own needs. When your pets are simply bored and vying for some attention, you can safely move your latest writing project up the list. Close the door of your office if you need to so that cute little face peering around the doorway won’t distract you from you mission. Make sure your pets have food and water and maybe even a new chew toy. They’ll be fine while you write for a while. And, you can assuage your guilt knowing that you will give them undivided quality time later, and that the money you earn with your writing will pay for their kibble.
Capitalize on the Symbiosis
Owning pets uniquely qualifies you to write about them. You’re passionate about your pets, of course, but you’ve got the inside track on health and behavior issues, too. You know their needs and housing requirements, for example. There are, however, other ways that the two activities can mesh, and beautifully. For instance, use your own experiences with your pets in your writing projects. Their adorable antics can provide dozens of blog post ideas. You also probably spend time with other pet owners at the pet store or the dog park. What are their opinions and concerns? Use those for project ideas. In the vet’s office, you’ll have access to pet publications looking for writers. Jot down those addresses. And, if you own a dog, what better way to give a rough draft that all-essential percolation time than a long walk in the woods?
Taking My Own Advice
There. This article is done. I closed my office door and gave it the time and attention it needed. I even used my own experiences with my pets in my introduction. I hope you found the information I’ve shared useful. Now, come on Tess, let’s take that walk. You and Roxy can have dinner when we get back.
Kate C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.