by Chandra Lynn Smith
I am a professional dog trainer. Naturally, my manuscripts have canine characters. My current
work in progress has a very special Swiss Mountain Dog, named Gretta. The “Gretta” in the
manuscript is loosely based on a dog I trained several years ago.
That dog’s first day with me was traumatic. She cowered in the corner and refused to move.
When I even spoke to her she growled and trembled. I could not get her to come to the gate for
me to leash her and take her outside. I finally did something I would never recommend anyone
do. I closed myself inside the kennel with her, sat on the floor opposite her and talked. I didn’t
touch her or look at her. I had a one-sided conversation with her. I told her about the weather and what we were going to do that day, I even told her about my family. A few more minutes passed and she laid down facing me. Then she scooted towards me. Some.
I don’t really know how much time passed, it felt like hours, but it was more than just a few minutes. Little by little, Gretta scooted towards me until she was lying beside me. She was close enough I could easily touch her, but I didn’t. I waited. Gretta looked up at me with her big brown eyes, sighed heavily and then placed her head on my lap. I gently rubbed her head, massaged her ears, and when she rolled over and gave me her belly I scratched it. I clipped the leash on her collar and we went outside for a wonderful walk.
With patience and perseverance Gretta came out of her fearful-corner into life as a beloved family pet. She is a major character in my current work-in-progress. I think Gretta can teach all of us something about our writing.
If you have a story to tell, tell it. You can sit in the corner afraid of another rejection, a red-
marked critique, or bad contest score. You can tremble and be afraid to step out of your corner.
Or you can listen to the calm voice talking to you about your writing and your stories and relax a
little. Scoot a little closer to the voice of the One who gives you your stories and encourages you
to write. Lean against Him and allow His mercy and grace to rush into your heart. Then rise and
My challenge to you today is to be ‘Gretta.’ Come on out of your corner and write your story.
Trust the Maker of the Stories. He’s given you something to write and knows where He wants it
to go. I look forward to reading it one day.
Chandra Lynn Smith is a professional dog trainer by trade and a writer by heart. Her newest release, The Light Holding Her, is book one of The Autumn at the Lake Series. Chandra, a 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest winner, and the owner of Best Friend Dog Training, lives on a small farm in South Central Pennsylvania. Their house is often filled with any combination of the glorious chaos of their two dogs, four sons and spouses, six precious granddaughters, and eight grand-dogs. Her other novels, Turtle Box Memories, To Follow a Dream, and To Chase a Dream are available on Fiction Finder and Amazon.