WWFC: The benefits of four-legged friends

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Nicole Schroeder

I must admit, with National Novel Writing Month coming up, I am quickly growing frazzled in my attempts to balance school and writing time, especially as the end of the semester looms closer with each passing day. Even if you aren’t participating in NaNoWriMo or planning to write over the holiday breaks, the stress of the season can easily begin to take its toll on whatever project you’re working on, making it hard to focus and keep a steady stream of words flowing onto the page.
Of course, I highly recommend taking advantage of the many long weekends and breaks that are marked on the calendar for the next two months. They are a great time to enjoy some holiday food and a festive environment and make the perfect setting for scribbling out a story or two. If you find it hard to clear some time in the day for your writing, however, it can be infinitely more difficult to calm down long enough to really focus on the words you want.

Photo by Nicole Schroeder
In my experience, the best way to wind down from a day of stress and allow your mind to focus on the story rather than your to-do list isn’t necessarily a pair of headphones or a dark corner in your room. Those things are helpful, yes, but not nearly as much as cuddling up with a furry friend can be.
Pets are a wonderful way to calm your mind and direct focus toward your writing, providing a sense of happiness and calm that is hard to match. If you don’t own a pet that’s willing to sit with you for any length of time while you write, stuffed animals can also make great substitutes as companions and snuggle buddies when you need the extra motivation and encouragement. So, if you find yourself needing a way to relax in order to break through your writer’s block this month, find a four-legged friend that is willing to endure a few cuddles– you might even find they make great listeners, too.
[divider top=”no” style=”double” margin=”25″] [box title=” Today’s Excerpt: ” style=”glass” box_color=”#431505″ title_color=”#e7e2da”] “‘Do you guys wanna practice cantering?’ Angel asked after a moment. I nodded, eagerly wanting to show Colby my bravery. Jessica nodded, too, and the three of us took a brief second to adjust our seats and get ready. Then, in a flash, Hootie flew forward into the canter, Cinda quickly following with a fast trot. I turned back to Legs, digging my heel hard into her side as I commanded her to canter.
With a sudden jolt, Legs took off, her hooves thundering on the gravel. I leaned back slightly as we rounded the corner of the arena, steering her back to the rail as I clucked to her. I felt the misty morning air sting my cheeks and chill my toes through my wet boots, but I didn’t care. The world had become a muted watercolor painting around me, our speed making the whole scenery into a blur of blues, greys, and greens. The only sight that was clear were Legs’ ears, twitching back in forth in front of me as she took in the sounds around us— my commands, the chirping birds, the wind rushing past.
After a few laps around the arena, I felt Legs’ gait falter as she grew tired. I let her transition back down into a fast trot before pulling back on the reins and telling her to walk. I watched the other girls do the same with their horses, listening as Legs and I worked to catch our breath once more.” [/box] By Nicole Schroeder