Another Cat-Sitting Gig. Another Catch Up Opportunity.


Like an oasis.

Every year around early June, I come to this house to cat- and house-sit for a week. The responsibility is an oasis that removes me from my own non-writing duties at my home to come here where all I have is the cat, picking up the mail and bringing in the trash tote after garbage day.

The writing to-do list grows.

A month prior to arriving, I make a list of books, magazines and writing materials to bring and the agenda of what I want to accomplish during the seven days I’m here.

The bad part is I delay doing some necessary writing by putting it on this list rather than getting it done at the time.

When I arrive.

I fill the dining room table with notebooks, laptop, iPad, papers and pens. The first two days are overwhelming. My to-do list may have become impossibly long, at least it feels that way when I look at it all spread across the table.

Finding the groove.

The key is to steadily work through the priority of items. Make progress.

By the second day, I love this world where it’s only me and words.

I’ve submitted short stories to e-magazines, proofread one short piece and sent it out, researched other possible submission sites, read up on blogs and writing sites.

Started a new story inspired by the neighbor’s hot tub.

I feel good.

Thanks to the cat loving travelers.

When not under contract with an agency or editor, I don’t have any outside deadlines. All is done through self-motivation.

The fear is without deadlines, I let myself get taken further and further away from the writing life. The easier it becomes to not write, to not blog, to not research sites, not submit short stories, not query agents.

What a relief that at least once a year, I count on the folks who ask me to stay in their homes, eat their food and watch their cats to provide the catching up.

Not only do I make a big dent in my writing to-do list, but I get reinvigorated about writing as well. The pull is strong enough to keep making writing a big priority when I get back home.


“Motivation will keep you going forwards. Hesitation will only drag you backwards.”   ~Mouloud Benzadi


*All images are my own unless noted.