Writing can be a very lonely thing. Writers often type thousands of words from recesses of their brains, born of blood, sweat, and swiftly firing neurons, and then think about them until the end of time. They think about how those letters that form words with commas and such in between, all form a cohesive story that they hope someone will love enough to buy and distribute to thousands of people.
But no matter how many people that the words born of blood, sweat, and swiftly firing neurons reach in the end, the creation process is usually done solo.
I happen to have lucked out in my creative process. I have buddies. The first being my husband, who is, himself, a storyteller and loves to talk shop, giving me his informed opinion on my work, helping me to brainstorm beginnings, middles, ends, and even unseen backstories. He is the Spock to my Kirk. The Riker to my Picard. He is my Number One. There are those times, though, when I am feeling low after four hours of editing, and my Number One is not available, and there is only one person who can perk me up. This person has four legs, a lot of fur, and a black tongue.
A pet is someone who loves you unconditionally. They love you if you use your manuscript as firewood. They love you if you're Margaret Atwood. They love you if you're a serial murderer (George R R Martin or Charles Manson). They love you if you write picture books that sell like hotcakes. They love you if you never publish a thing, but still keep on writing anyway. They love you if you give up. They are the fuzzy, scaley, feathery, things that depend on us for everything, and we love them for it.
Shar, my dog who is named for the Faerunian goddess of the Shadow Weave, celebrates every scene I write, whether it's good or terrible. She is excited every morning when I wake up. I am pretty sure she thinks everything I do is just the best, aside from brushing her. She even gets excited about trips to the vet. She keeps me going throughout the day until my husband gets home, and I would like to think the feeling is reciprocal.
I talk to her like she is an actual person, because she believes she is an actual person. She has a preference on toys, dog food, dog treats, which side of your chair she sits to beg for food, and from what faucet her water is filled. We play hide and go seek with her toys, and will fake me out with where she's hidden them, and is not shy about the glee she feels when she's mislead me, every single time she does it. Sometimes, I think she's smarter than I am.
We rescued her from the dog shelter eight years ago, and she's not let us forget that once in all that time. We've never regretted it, even when she woke me up at 4:00 in the morning three days ago to go outside. I have never once felt alone in the house when she is with me, and when she is away at the vet or being groomed, there is a palpable emptiness in the house, a lack of energy because she is not there.
My dog and my husband are two of my greatest champions of my writing. Not because Shar has read anything that I have written and can give me any critical acclaim or help me improve on anything that I have done, no. Only because she makes me feel like a better person each day of the world that we share together, and as long as she is in the world, and I share it with her, these are good days, and I can continue to do the things I do, because she cheers me on, with every nose-lick, yawn, and paw at the shin.
Champions do not always have to be critics, or people who say that you did well. Sometimes, they simply have to roll over and show you their belly. Champions have to merely love what you do, because you're doing it.