Thursday, March 15, 2018

LESSONS FROM LEVI: How observations of my cat remind me of my writing journey By Patti Jo Moore

Hello, my name is Patti Jo and I am a Cat Lady.  

I will admit it. In addition to being a retired kindergarten teacher and newly-published author, I will openly admit I LOVE cats. Since I also love books and writing, I recently thought about the similarities in the mannerisms of my cats (all six of them, but particularly Levi) and my writing journey. 

Whether you’re a veteran writer or brand-new to this wonderful—and sometimes discouraging—journey, you’re certain to find out that it’s not all fun and games (or contracts and contest awards), but rather a lot of hard work. And waiting. Persevering is essential, because if a writer wants to be published, she/he must persevere. When I observe Levi trying to retrieve a toy mouse from underneath the sofa, I notice his perseverance. He knows he wants that toy mouse, and he’s determined to reach it with his paw. If a writer’s goal is to be published, then in addition to learning the craft and writing the best story possible, the writer has to keep trying. Sometimes over and over. For years and years.

Developing a “thick skin” is vital—and this can be a real challenge for those of us who tend to be sensitive. Susanna (one of my female cats) adores Levi; yet I’ve witnessed a time when Susanna was quite perturbed that Levi was in her napping spot, so she promptly swatted him with her paw. Poor Levi simply turned away, overlooking his sister’s feisty mood. How wonderful if writers could handle less-than-kind comments about our writing with the same acceptance. Sometimes the comments/suggestions certainly do have validity. Other times the reader might be in a ‘feisty mood’ and the author’s writing receives comments that should not be taken to heart. And of course rejections from agents and editors can be difficult to accept, especially if we’ve gotten our hopes up anticipating a positive response. Yet if we can remember those rejections are part of this journey, so we must move on, continue working hard, and keep a hopeful, positive outlook, how much better we’d feel. (Yes, sometimes easier said than done, I know).

Not long ago I was feeling extremely tired as I strived to write a certain amount of words in one day. By afternoon I’d reached the point of feeling I was in a daze. A daze that no amount of coffee and M&Ms could snap me from, and I was frustrated. Glancing from my desk over to the bed, I saw Levi (and several other kitties) snoozing away. I simply needed a nap! No, this isn’t rocket-science, but sometimes we writers become so determined and focused that we fail to ignore what is needed at that moment. I closed my laptop, sleepily headed to the bed, and joined several felines in a nap. I’m happy to say that after my thirty-minute snooze I was refreshed and able to tackle that manuscript with a fresh perspective. And make my word-count goal. 

As a Christian, for me personally the most important aspect of my writing journey is seeking the Lord’s will and writing the stories He would have me to write. I’ll admit that as smart as Levi is, I haven’t seen him actually reading the Bible.😉 But one day as Levi sat next to my Bible on the kitchen table, it was a reminder that I’d not had my quiet time with the Lord that day. I’ve found my writing and my day in general flows more smoothly when I’ve had time in the Scriptures. 

No matter where you are in your writing journey, I hope you’re enjoying the process. And if you’re having a day that’s left you feeling frazzled and frustrated, maybe you just need to take a little break or even have a catnap. Who knows? You might return to your writing with such renewed energy it’s as if you have nine lives. 

South Georgia farm girl Emma Hopkins hopes to put her past behind her as she moves to a lovely community on the Florida gulf coast. Tired of living in fear from a past relationship, she enjoys working in her aunt’s gift shop.

For three years businessman Thomas Wilton has carried guilt for his sister’s car accident that left her in a wheelchair. When his boss insists moving from Alabama to the Florida panhandle will be beneficial for his career, Thomas reluctantly agrees, although he hates leaving his sister.

After Emma and Thomas meet, a relationship quickly develops, but is later jeopardized by a misunderstanding. When Emma’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes how much he loves her.  Can their seaside romance become a happily-ever-after?
 
 
 
Patti Jo Moore writes Sweet, Southern Stories which is fitting since she’s lived in Georgia her entire life. After teaching first grade and kindergarten for twenty-one years, Patti Jo had to retire early due to severe spinal/back issues (resulting in four surgeries). She realized the ending of her teaching career was the beginning of her writing career—and she loves what she’s doing. In 2017 the Lord blessed her with her first grandbaby and her first publishing contract—and she’s still smiling about both. Her first book is A Seaside Romance published by Forget-Me-Not books (available on Amazon in print and for Kindle), and she will have two more books in her Emerald Coast Romances series. Patti Jo loves Jesus, her family, and cats, and loves meeting new friends. Connect with her on Facebook:   Author Patti Jo Moore or her CatMom’s Corner blog: http://catmomscorner.blogspot.com
 

23 comments:

  1. I love your kitty friends! What fun companions they are.

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    1. Hi Robin! Yes, my kitty companions are a real blessing in my life--especially now that my human kiddos are all grown and live away. Thanks for commenting!

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  2. This is so great, Patti Jo, because you don't know how many times I have looked at my cat, asleep on my bed, and been envious of him! What's not to love about a cat's life, sleep all day, eat whenever you want, go find a human for attention. And yet, none of REALLY want to be a cat. We have a job to do and a purpose. The writing journey can be a tough one, but we wouldn't trade it for anything or we'd have already done that. 'Joy in the Journey' is what it's all about.

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    1. Very well-said, Cindy. Joy in the Journey---I love that. So many times I've observed my cats and thought how much humans can learn from them---somedays they act wiser than us! ;) Thanks so much for stopping by, sweet friend.

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  3. Patti Jo, awesome post! And so true, sometimes we don't notice what we need at a particular moment as we focus on the goal.

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    1. Thank you, Sally! Yes, sometimes I really do get bogged down in what I think I need to get done, and if I'd take a little time for Scripture (or even a catnap!) I'd accomplish my goals much more easily. So glad you stopped by today!

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  4. Love your precious cats, Patti Jo!

    I can so relate to everything you said. Thick skin? A must. Perseverance? I'm sure they're are a few authors who publish their first book, but that's definitely not the norm. M&M's not being enough to snap you out of a daze? More research is required on that one...

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    1. Hi Connie! I'm giggling over your M&Ms comment---it's those times when I'm super drowsy, and nothing but a brief snooze will help. Thankfully, most days the coffee and M&Ms do the trick! ;) Thanks so much for stopping by, sweet friend.

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  5. Patti Jo, Monday was nicknamed "National Napping Day." I think Levi would agree with that. Thanks for blog about learning from our animals and persevering. I've learned a thing or two from my Basset hound since she "adopted" us three years ago.

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    1. Hi Tanya, Yes, Levi (and all my kitties) would agree with National Napping Day, LOL. Of course they probably think every day should have that distinction!
      I'm sure your Basset hound is happy she adopted you and your family. It is amazing what our animals can teach us!
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  6. Patti Jo, what fun to read how your kitties mirror your writing characteristics! Your thoughts on perseverance, thick skin and catnaps are purrr-fect! (Couldn’t resist!) You have me fondly remembering my cats and how their personalities resembled the writer’s life. Pepper was a jump-right-into-everything kind of guy. Cinnamon was a cautious girl, hiding under the chair until she’d surveyed the situation. Thinking about my writing path, I’m a little of both...Pepper’s jump in and Cinnamon’s wait a bit. Thanks for sharing your advice as learned from your sweet cats....and definitely the reminder all goes better after spending time with Scriptures. Blessings to you as you enjoy your career as an author!

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    1. Hi Sherida! Thanks so much for stopping by, and I loved reading about your past kitties. I'm sure they were precious. I also smiled at those names, because Cinnamon was a sweet bunny my son had, and Pepper is my son's Cockatiel who I'm caring for while my son is in Pittsburgh. Needless to say, my kitties would love to get into the room where Pepper stays, but I keep the door closed. She's quite the entertaining bird, LOL.
      Thank you for your kind comments and for all your support in my writing journey.

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  7. Love, love your post Patti Jo! I’m a dog person but I adore all God’s furry creatures. Good luck and blessings!

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    1. Thank you SO much! I appreciate your kind comment. :)

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  8. Great post, Patti Jo. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement! And thank Levi for me, too :-) What a beautiful kitty.

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    1. Hi Laura! Thank you for the kind words, and I'll be sure and pass along your comment to Levi too---he really is a sweetheart and the most laid-back kitty ever. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  9. Patti Jo, I love Levi! Adorable. I'm a Westie lover and they nap as frequently as your cats. 🐈🐱

    Congratulations on your new book. A Seaside Romance made me long to live in a small Florida coastal town.

    Your post was spot on and I'm so thankful you spent the day with us at Seriously Write.

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    1. Thanks so much, Terri. When I told Levi that he was featured on a blog post today, he remained humble as usual. ;) Of all the kitties who've adopted me over the years, he's the most laid-back.

      I'm sure your Westies are precious! Our fur-babies add so much to our lives.

      Thank you for having me here today---I had a lovely day. Blessings and hugs!

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  10. Patti Jo,

    I loved your post. I haven't been able to have indoor kitties since both my beloved and my darling daughter-in-law were/are very allergic to cats! But, I sure can relate to all the similarities you mentioned!

    I think each of God's creatures can sure teach us a thing or two. My darling daughter-in-law owns a mustang horse that will be used in an upcoming movie called "Taming Mustangs"... it's about wild boys (the lost rebellious boys of America) and mustangs and how they help one another...and find God.

    I taught Kindergarten also! Love those little ones!

    Congrats on your new book! Looking forward to reading it!

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    1. Hi Kate! Thank you for your kind words. How exciting about your daughter-in-law's mustang appearing in a movie---Wow! The movie's premise sounds wonderful, so hopefully it will reach lots of viewers.
      I'm sure you were a wonderful Kindergarten teacher! That's such a sweet, fun, and energetic age. :)
      Thank you for stopping by!

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  11. Well, I stopped by yesterday but my comment must have been eaten by the system.

    Such an inspiring and encouraging post, Patti Jo! And who can say no to cats, coffee, and M&Ms!

    Congratulations on your debut novel!

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    1. Awww, thank you, sweet Myra. I appreciate your stopping by (and sorry your other post was eaten---sometimes technology has a mind of its own!).
      I hope your sweet kitty (Denali?) is doing well. They are such precious companions!
      I still need to get YOUR latest Love Inspired book---will order today! Sending hugs. :)

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  12. EEEEK, I'm late but loved this Patti Jo!!

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