Untethered Dog

An Online Journal

Writing Life

When You Are Lost

The way back to you is always available through the words on pages. And it doesn’t take long. The ultimate shortcut. You can get there from here.

A Few Extra Pounds

The memory is powerful. More so than you give it credit for. When you wade around in that pool, be careful and be kind. You are already processing so much in present time. It takes not a lot more to be too much — to be enough to short your circuits. Maintain mental boundaries as […]

Keep Showing Up

Do not doubt your decisions even if they do not produce immediate results. Keep on. It’s the daily repetitions that get you there. Nothing today does. Do enough to know you are working but not so much that you don’t want to work tomorrow. Time. Just put in the time. The results will come.

The Key

“When the ruling power within us is in harmony with nature, it confronts events in such a way that it always adapts itself readily to what is feasible and is granted to it. For it attaches its preference to no specific material; rather, it sets out to attain its primary objects, but not without reservation, […]

Embrace the Messiness

You never liked to get your hands dirty. Even as a child in the sandbox, you did not like messes. Life, of course, is not always tidy. Seldom is. Embrace — rather than run from — this fact. Illness is part of life. Illness is messy. Ergo, to be always clean is not to live. […]

Expression

Speak when it’s your turn. Not before. And only if you have something to say. Sometimes there is a delay. This is perfectly OK.

Let Go of the Good Stuff

There is a phrase that comes up in seemingly every writer’s workshop in North America: Kill your darlings. (Or sometimes the more violent “murder your darlings.”) Conjure an image of a pipe-smoking male, or a neck-scarf-wearing woman, at the front of a class espousing this unassailable mantra of good writing. In response, you can see […]

The Answer

Whenever you question what you shall do remember what makes you feel most alive and least aware of everything else: the work. The writing. What absorbs you without draining you — the body gives you the results and your mind registers the score. Trust in this absolutely and actively shun all challengers who would otherwise […]

Pleasure Principle

“Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.” -Henry Miller, Henry Miller on Writing (1964) Enjoy the process. And if you’re not remember this: you can always enjoy the process. One of the most liberating truths is the notion that you can change your mindset. Your beliefs are always on the table. For the longest […]

Stay Close

A project gets harder the longer you put it off. If you do not have the energy to tackle it just now, worry not. Then pick it up anyway. Take a look at it, even if for a moment. “Stay close to it,” a writing friend once advised. She was talking about what to do […]

Get Your Reps In

In writing, in lifting, in life, there is a tension: to do enough. Progress is most easily achieved in small daily doses of moderate to low intensity. You must push yourself. A little. Not too far. You can’t stay comfortable. But you can get so uncomfortable that you don’t pick up the pen, the bar, […]

The Dance

You only need to counteract self-restriction twice: 1. In order to begin. 2. In order to continue. Once you begin to lift or write there is usually a moment some minutes in during which you consider stopping lifting or writing. If you let this inquisition go, if you do not indulge the idea that you […]

Impermanence

As in a voyage, when the ship is at anchor, if you go on shore to get water, you may amuse yourself with picking up a shell-fish or a truffle in your way, but your thoughts ought to be bent towards the ship, and perpetually attentive, lest the captain should call, and then you must […]

Drive

Writing turns the wheel. Eating makes it go. Exercise keeps you strong so you can stay on course. Sleep allows you to recover so that you may turn the wheel again.

This Space

To journal is to make space for thinking. Give yourself permission not to produce or curate. You do well with modest expectations. A journal is a tool, not a product. It’s what it does for you — not what you make of it. Worry not about the state of your journal. Focus on the state […]

Beginnings

To start is sometimes the hardest part. Start as soon as you can. Start slowly. Start modestly. Resist the notion to take on a task as a whole. You do not walk without taking more than one step. You do not draft an article or essay without writing more than one sentence. Workouts take several […]

Clarity

So little of life comes at you in sensible bits. All these noises and waves and wind and words and shades of light come at you, flow through you, at rate faster than you can possibly comprehend — it’s all too much for the senses to do much with any of it. You can coral […]

Write This Way

Use your writing not to publish something tomorrow, next year, whenever but rather to help you live today.

Purpose

Write not to express or produce or — egads — attract attention but rather because when you do you touch the source. When we do what we’re here to do the act pleases the part of us that is tied to all of us.

Try (But Not Too Hard)

Effort is important. So is ease. In the sweet spot you know both. (Lifting is like this. Writing is like this. Life is like this.)