Writing Excuses

The title is borrowed from a podcast on writing I mention regularly, but in this case it refers to the various things that being a writer excuses me to do. One of those things is to learn about anything that catches my fancy. Not that I really need an excuse, I suppose, but it’s easier to explain to people that I’m researching for my book than to just say “Well, because I can.”

Take my latest indulgence. I recently came to the conclusion my next novel needs a sentient race of big cats. Why? I don’t know. It just occurred to me I needed to include at least one non-human race, and the first thing that came to mind was cats. Perhaps it’s because cats look more intelligent, I don’t know. Anyway, the more I thought about it the more it fit the setting.

The next day I was browsing pictures of big cats during my lunch hour when I encountered a picture of a Canadian Lynx. My son has a picture of one on his bedroom wall, and it’s always struck me just how wise that cat looks. But it takes more than one picture to convince me. Our dog Sofie can look wise on occasion, too, but most of the time she just looks goofy. But here I found picture after picture of a very beautiful, very smart-looking species, and I was hooked. Canadian Lynxes are awesome!

So now  I get to do some research on lynxes and cats in general. I’m excited! Our team at work recently underwent a Strengths Finder program to identify the top five strengths for each of us. My top strength, not surprisingly, was “Learner”. I love to learn, and often simply for the sake of learning. It’s true. I seldom consider an experience wasted so long as I learn something interesting in the process.

I just hope my enthusiasm for preparing for this next novel comes though in the writing. Nothing would please me more than to have all of you read my novel in a couple years and think, “Ah, I remember when he got that idea! So this is what he did with it!”

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