Monday, November 2, 2015

What Writers & Hamsters Have In Common

Authors are creatures of habit and consistency.  They are curious and willing to explore new things but they don’t often go out of their comfort zone.  So what do authors do when their entire world shifts and they have to start anew?

I was lunching with a former high-level publishing executive last week when he told me his briefcase was stolen.  It contained a manuscript that he was editing for someone.  He never recovered it.

Thought the manuscript wasn’t lost, his work was.  For some writers, their work gets lost or stolen.  Computers crash, files get corrupted, laptops get pilfered.  Fires, floods, and calamities don’t discriminate either.  Bad things happen to good writers.

How do they start over?

If you recall watching The Brady Bunch, classic family television fare about two single parents coming together with their six kids, there was an episode where the dad, Mr. Brady, an architect (who by the way failed to design a house that improves upon three people sharing a room) worked hard to create design plans for a client, but lost his plans when one of his kids mistook them for a poster at an amusement park.  Mr. Brady couldn’t imagine how he’d meet his deadline and recreate his masterpiece but he ended up putting together an even better design the second time around.

It may seem frustrating, demoralizing, and impossible to create what was done and then lost, but many writers use the loss to drive them to excel beyond their perceived limits.  No one wants their work to go missing, but should it happen, writers dig down deep and craft their best work.

Writers will fall into depression from time to time, but then they have an awakening, and start to get used to the new landscape before them.

On a small level, I saw this happen with our newly purchased pet, one I never thought I’d get – a hamster.

Chip, a four-week old hamster, came into our house via Petco. When he first entered his little home, he was frightened.  Everything was new to him – from the surrounding sights and sounds to his food bowl and sleeping area.  He was the writer who lost his work, who had to start over and find a comfort level in his new situation.

I was the writer, too, dealing with my home’s new landscape.  The terrain was disturbed and forever changed.  I too was transitioning, having my small world altered, though granted, Chip underwent the greatest transformation of all.

Maybe the analogy between hamster and writer doesn’t end there. I noticed how he explored every inch of his new world and interpreted it to meet his needs.  He had no manual or mommy to explain things to him. He was on his own, in uncharted territory.  Writers sniff out and nibble at the world they are thrust in, too, seeking to define and make sense of all that happens to them.

I’ve had many pets over the years – turtles, fish, rabbits, parakeets, cat (for six weeks), and dogs.  But now I have a hamster.  He’ll help me re-write a chapter in my life as he writes his own world in my home.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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