My dog Bohdi is a creature of habit. Never fails every morning he is my alarm clock waking me up with his cold nose against my cheek.
I awaken to his big brown eyes staring at me letting me know it's time!
He won't even allow me to get a cup of coffee, how can I resist that face! I get up, brush my teeth, get dressed, and off we go for Bohdi's morning walk and most importantly "his" time.
Bohdi is a very free spirit and since this is "his" time I walk him on a very long retractable leash so he can flitter from side to side, one side of the sidewalk to the next, smelling the ground and looking for everything that is interesting to a dog. I let him climb up the hills, check out the bushes and smell the flowers whatever he wants to do.
I am walking along this a.m., and a very grumpy man says angrily "you should have your dog on a shorter leash your dog could get hurt or hurt someone!". My first thought, of course, was come back at him with an angry retort and justify why my dog is on a long leash - "the same leash I have used on his walks for ten years! And please mind your own business" I wanted to say. However, being a civilized person I chose to filter my words, simply decided to ask him "do you have a dog?" his response "well, no I don't like dogs!" Hmm, well "ok," I said, and then I thought maybe he could relate to raising children. "do you have children?" I asked "well, yes I have a daughter, but I don't raise her she lives with her mother" Hmm, well "ok." Then I looked up at the beautiful morning sun, the beautiful flowers on the side of the sidewalk and my handsome dog Bohdi just ignoring us and continuing his hunt in the bushes for something else interesting to smell. So I just responded "It's a lovely day, isn't it? enjoy your walk and have a great day!"
As a writer, you will get reviews and plenty of advice, some helpful but some hurtful. The bad ones might leave you feeling bad. How do you judge whether to take someones advice? How do you decide whether it is right advice - helpful or whether it is terrible advice - hurtful?
My rule of thumb: a) does the person sincerely want to help? Did this angry man see that my dog was in danger and wanted to help? so NO! b) does the person have strong qualifications to help - have they been successful themselves on the subject they are criticizing? This man doesn't own a dog and doesn't even like them. He also hasn't raised children. so NO! c) does what the critic says make sense and helps? I have been walking my dog successfully for the past ten years. so NO! d) do you walk away feeling better by taking their advice or ignoring their advice? I still had a nice walk and so did Bohdi, so YES ignored his advice
Bottom line - my basic rule is LISTEN, LEARN BUT KEEP YOUR OWN COUNSEL.
My sweet Bohdi is contently lying next to my desk now,
and I am enjoying my morning coffee!
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