- by Denise Dietz
My sister Marianne has always wanted to be a published author. Once upon a fairly long time ago, she phoned and asked how I found the time to write my books, especially since I had 3 kids (like she did), no child support, and I worked days at a video store and nights waiting tables.
I said, “Here’s what you do, Marianne. Every day you get up an hour before Eddie and the kids. Sit at your computer and write for that hour. Even if you write one page, by the end of the year you’ll have a book.”
“But,” she said, “I already get up an hour earlier than Eddie and the kids. I have to make breakfast for everybody and fix the kids’ school lunches.”
“Okay, Marianne,” I said. “When Eddie takes off for work and the kids leave for school, sit at your computer – every day at the same time – and work for an hour. Even if you only write one page, by the end of the year you’ll have a book.”
“After Eddie and the kids leave for work and school,” she said, “I have to straighten up the house. You know how Eddie gets if the house is messy.”
“Okay,” I said, “after you straighten up the house, sit down at the computer and work for an—”
“After I clean the house, I have to change the sheets and do the laundry, and then I eat lunch.”
“Okay, Marianne,” I said, glancing at my clock. “After you do the laundry and eat lunch, sit down at your computer and work for an hour. If you produce only one page a day, by the end of the year you’ll have a book.”
“After I do the laundry and eat lunch,” she said, “I have to walk the dog.”
Walking the dog has become a catch-phrase in my family. If my daughter says she wants to join the local community theatre, possibly audition for a role in a production of My Fair Lady, but she can’t seem to find the time, I say, “Sandi, you’re walking the dog.”
There’s a PS to my tale. I told my “walking the dog” story at a writers conference. The following year a woman came running up to me. I didn’t recognize her. I hate it when that happens. As I searched for a name, a reference, anything, she said, “You don’t know me.”
I swallowed a sigh of relief.
“I was here at this conference last September,” she continued. “I don’t remember what I ate or what I wore or what Famous Bestselling Author said on her panel, but I remembered your walking the dog story.”
She paused. “And last year,” she said, “I wrote a book.”
Every time I tell that story, it’s an effort not to bawl. Even writing it, I get a lump in my throat.
So if you remember nothing else from this blog, remember my walking-the-dog story. It’s magic. It’s Dumbo’s feather. And, most importantly, it works.
Because I didn’t “walk the dog,” my latest book, STRANGLE A LOAF OF ITALIAN BREAD – an Ellie Bernstein/Lt. Peter Miller “diet club” Mystery – came out this month. An excerpt is on my website. As always, if you’ve never read a Denise Dietz mystery, I recommend you request “Strangle” at your library.
Right now. This very minute. Don’t walk the dog