Posted by: petsweekly | April 13, 2012

The thought process of a writer (why we are always broke)

Super-dog-JCCarpenterToday I had the opportunity to speak with the Principal Nutritionist at Hills Pet Nutrition. His name is Bill Schoenherr and I was seeking information on labeling requirements for a nutritional series I’m writing for PetsWeekly. The conversation was fascinating, but as I hung up the phone, my mind immediately turned to how I can present this wealth of information to my readers.

That got me thinking that you might be interested in ways I come up with articles, write novels, create new worlds, and drop marketing ideas potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars into the laps of people who are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to come up with marketing ideas while I remain broke. So here’s a run down of my thought process this morning.

9:05: Tell the marketing director (also on the call) that he should create a series of “tweetable” pet food facts that can be distributed to writers and bloggers (Idea 1). He seems thrilled with idea. Hang up phone with Bill and begin thinking of nutritional labels and how complex they are. Think about how to best present the information to people in a way that they will understand and read.

9:06: Decide the best way to present info is through an interactive infographic (Idea #2) that can be easily shared on “pinterest”. Decide I should email and give them that idea.

9:07: Think I share too many ideas and should be paid for ideas once in awhile. After all, these groups have full time marketing people – why shouldn’t I be paid for consulting? Figure they probably won’t pay me.

9:08:  Begin thinking of information that should be included in infographic for food labels. Remember info on AAFCO and start thinking about nutritional guidelines.

9:11: Decide to take shower because that’s the best way to process information.

9:16: Wait for water to warm up. Decide on concept for infographic. Think I should find some sort of government funding or primary funding for a big company to develop their own information. Wonder how I can charge for development of this information.

9:17: Wonder if AAFCO regulates all food, specifically tiger food.

9:18: Remember seeing an ad about a group manufactures tiger food, but can’t remember which company. I will look it up after shower.

9:19: Wonder if jaguars eat the same thing as tigers. Seems like they should because they are both apex predators and both hunt in similar ways. Realize I don’t really know if they hunt similarly – I should look it up. Wonder what would happen if a tiger and a jaguar lived in the same geographic area and decide that would be a bad idea and they probably don’t live in the same area. That’s why you probably don’t see tigers in South America.

9:18: Think I need to research jaguar food because Modnik is a jaguar-shifter in Shepherd’s Moon. Also, she’s feeding her jaguar cubs Pasha and Tau. Try to remember if they are on solid food yet, determine they probably are, and wonder if they should be getting a special “baby jaguar” diet.

9:19: Think that someone in the novel is going to have to feed this diet, so they should be the ones researching food for jaguars – probably either Jace or Aida. Since Jace is a horse-shifter and Aida is a wolf-shifter, maybe that’s not the best idea. Need another big cat character to feed jaguars. Unless Alex tells Modnik not to eat Jace or Aida. Too many characters as is, don’t need another one, so I’ll have to remember to tell Alex to tell Modnik not to eat anyone.

9:20: Think about how the kittens are aging in the book. Realize that they shouldn’t Shift until they hit puberty. That way, the pack avoids the annoying crying baby stage and gets to enjoy the cute kitten stage. Works perfect because they can help Alex once they shift. Make that my rule for Shepherd world.

9:23: Wish I had bought the pens that you can use to write on walls of bathroom because that’s the place you get the best ideas. Think about person who told me that idea (Sonja from PawPosse). Wonder if she and her fiancé left for Europe yet – they just got married. Wish I could go to Europe.

9:25: Think I could probably set one of my Shepherd books in Europe. When the Shepherd’s Series finally hits the NYT bestseller list, I could afford to go! Think I’ll need to have the kittens grow a little more in the next book and wonder when jaguar kittens hit maturity. Decide I should research that.

9:27: Begin drying hair. Think about the Unleashed event and fundraiser for the AAWL that I attended last night and how the puppies there were really cute. Think I need to call and get the photos from yesterday so I can do the next article. Remember I need to profile a pair of pups that haven’t been adopted yet and need to find new home. Wish I’d bought those pens. Happy about being invited to agility event with Amy at Cactus Canine.

9:30: Remember how much the agility teams like the Tagg t-shirts and their slogans and think that Tagg should sponsor an agility person because they travel so much and all agility people seem to love the Tagg t-shirts and slogans. Figure I should tell Tagg because it’s a good idea and wouldn’t cost much (Idea 3). Hope I remember to tell them.Wonder who I should suggest they sponsor. There are some really good teams out there. Amy would be good, maybe her international instructor…

9:40: Start curling hair. Drop curling iron. Burn myself. Think I need to get a hairstyle that doesn’t require curling hair. This is the 3rd burn in a week.

9:50 Get back to computer. Read press release about a Mexican wolf pup from Hawk’s Nest pack that was shot and left on side of road.

9:53 Write article about wolf and post on Examiner. Think about rewriting for posting on PetsWeekly – decide against it because it’s so sad… But, my readers could use the $57k that is rewarded. Wish I knew who shot wolf. Then I would use the $57k reward to set up new protections for wolves. Think if my readers saw a wolf being shot, they wouldn’t even bother to claim reward. Decide it’s not a necessary article for PetsWeekly.

9:55: Get email from Tammy at Grammatic Effects  saying I have typo on reward. Should be $10,000 not $1,000 (thanks Tammy!) Hurriedly fix error and repost.

10:00: Wonder if anyone else thinks like this. Think I will probably need a nap before long because it’s been a busy morning.

10:15: decide to post thoughts on blog. But, the post is super long. Decide it doesn’t matter – it’s my blog and I can do what I want.

And what was your thought process today?


  1. You reap what you sow! 🙂

    My thought process is: School’s done, now on to more editing, and then housework, and then editing, and then housework. And Facebook. And Twitter.

  2. Thought process of the day:
    0800 hours: Gotta get to the bank with that deposit before those checks I wrote this week start to hit.
    0830: News report that I-405 has a 3-mile backup due to a multi-vehicle accident. Gotta plan an alternate route. Thank the gods for an iPhone w/ GPS.
    0845: I-90 smooth sailing. Will be at the bank in 10 minutes, but they won’t be open, so I’ll have to sit there.
    0848: Incoming phone call. Pull over to answer it so I don’t get (another) ticket for illegal phone use. I have won $2.5 Million and a new Mercedes. All I have to do is hand over my credit card info to pay $650 in “processing fees.” Bummer. Wish I had $650.
    0900: Made the deposit. Gotta check my mailbox and head back to the office. Check email. Miss Steward in Houston wants to order a shampoo bar but doesn’t have the internet. Need another assistant.
    0925: Drawbridge is up. More waiting. Thinking about huge order for local pet store chain. Must ship today. Wondering if we have enough samples to include in order. Need another assistant.
    0945: Office at last. Phone messages stacked up. Website needs an adjustment. Must send email to webmaster to fix.
    0946: Hungry. Forgot to stop at McDonalds. Too late now for breakfast and will be listening to my tummy growling until lunchtime.
    … and so it goes.

    Dear Pack Leader, no… you are not the only one… But all my good ideas come in the middle of the night. Must get pen and paper for night stand.

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