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My epic failures trying to find my motivation again.

I’m usually a very motivated person. You have to be in order to be an indie writer/publisher.

There is no one but yourself who’ll make you sit down and put those fingers to the keyboard.

Usually, I have no real problems writing. Every now and then, I’ll have a day or so where I don’t write but it doesn’t last long. I love writing and when I don’t, I get cranky.

But lately I’ve been in a funk.
I know I need to write. I want to write but I just don’t.

I also haven’t been exercising and I know from the past that exercising first thing in the morning motivates me to be productive all day.

Motivation failure take-1.  I roll out of bed early and change into sweats and a T-shirt.

I walk the dogs, stretching my legs for my upcoming run. I walk about a half mile.

Then I start jogging. I make it less than a tenth of a mile when I feel something on my thigh. INSIDE my pants.

It’s long – about two inches – and prickly.

I stop. My heart’s thudding in my chest. I really don’t want to know what’s in my pants but I kind of have to.

I pull the waistband of my sweats away from my body and pause.

I’m in the middle of my yard. The street is right behind me.

If this is some weird bug, these pants are coming off.

Perhaps I should go back up to the house, but it’s clinging to my leg and I really, really need to get whatever it is off my skin.

Beware neighbors because you may be seeing my big, underwear’d-butt very soon.

I move the sweats down a bit and away from my body and almost collapse with relief. It’s a pine needle.

Myself and my neighbors were saved from a terrible trauma that day, but it didn’t help my motivation – except shaking my pants before I put them on.

A few more days of fudgy-funk pass by and I decide, today is the day. August just started. Time to start writing again.

Motivation failure take-2.  I’m out walking my dogs. I have to actually go into the office today to turn in the on-call phone and I’m taking the dogs for one last quick walk around the yard. My hound dog, Sassy, has started angry-peeing when I leave. You may remember her from this blog post.

I’m almost to the house when Charlie (a boxer-mastiff mix) takes off across the yard after something small and dark. I scream. He ignores me but his brother, Louis, is now paying attention – TO Charlie NOT me – and he runs after his brother.

I run after them (much, much slower). I have Sassy on a leash (she runs away so always has to be on a chain or leash) and I’m screaming because whatever it is Charlie has it.

And it gets away. It’s an armadillo and it’s flying across the yard but my two asshole dogs are right on the poor little thing’s tail and they get him again.

I’ve reversed direction and am running after them. I catch up with them in the brush. I reach to slap them and Sassy dives in joining the chomp-fest on that poor little thing.

I yank her back, kicking at Louis and Charlie, screaming no and yelling for them to stop but they don’t even hesitate at my screams.

Now, I’m getting pissed and scared for that armadillo. It’s a big one, so it’s armor is strong but they are big dogs. I’m still yelling and trying to hold Sassy back as I kick at my dogs. I don’t know exactly when or how, but I end up on the ground, holding Sassy back (who’s howling like a banshee) while I slap at my two dogs. They are paying me about as much attention as a fart in a hurricane.

At this point, Tricks, my Belgian-Malnois, jumps in. I know there’s no way that poor critter is getting away from three of them, but she doesn’t go for the armadillo, she goes for Louis.

Tricks is old – about 15 or more – and she has arthritis bad. Louis is about 9 or 10. He’s in great health and outweighs her by about 20 lbs. I scream at her to stop because I don’t need a dog fight on top of this (and me, remember, I’m on the ground with the armadillo).

Luckily, Louis pays no attention to her and she backs off to pace on the outskirts, not sure what to do.

I go back to trying to get them to stop biting on the poor thing and at some point it scrambles under a palmetto bush. The two dogs haul ass into the scrub with it.

I know there’s no way I can help it with Sassy. I won’t be able to hold her back and dig through the brush for dogs and armadillo. So I drag her to the porch and grab my mop. I’m so pissed and frustrated at this time that I consider grabbing the shovel but I don’t really want to hurt my dogs.

Mop in hand I lock Sassy on the porch and hurry over to the bush. I can hear one of the dogs snorting. I’m imagining it chowing down on that poor armadillo but instead, the little critter found one of his tunnels and Charlie is snorting as he’s trying to dig it out.

I wallop him with the mop.

That got his attention – FINALLY.

I then chase them both back to the porch. I’m furious with them and myself.

I know dogs are dogs and they chase and kill small animals, but I expect my dogs to at least flinch when I scream at them. I’ve had numerous dogs over the years and they all minded better than this. I am top-dog in my house. I have to be.

In Louis and Charlie’s defense, I’ve never spent much time training them because I didn’t think I needed to. They are well behaved dogs — apparently, unless they are trying to kill something.

So, yesterday I punished them. I locked them in separate rooms for most of the day and when evening came around I wouldn’t touch them or let them get on the couch by me. And to really hit them where it hurt, I gave Tricks numerous snacks right in front of them and the three jerk-faces got nothing more than “bad dog.”

Today, training started. If they won’t learn to stop when I say, then they’ll have to spend the rest of their lives being walked on a leash because they have to mind.

I don’t value another dog or cat over the life of an armadillo but I could get sued if they attack someone’s dog or cat. I can’t have that.

I did go back out to the brush and look for the armadillo but I haven’t seen him. I haven’t smelled him either so hopefully, he made it.

I feel so bad for the poor thing and it was another failure at motivating myself because I wasn’t in the mood to do anything after that ordeal.

I was exhausted. My shoulder had been hurting before and this didn’t help it. Not to mention all the cuts on my arms and legs. I don’t know if they are from the brush or the critters. None of them are deep and I’ve cleaned them well, so it doesn’t matter and it’s nothing compared to what that poor armadillo must be feeling.

But just like with the armadillo, I haven’t given up. I will push myself and start writing again. It’s not as life-and-death as what the armadillo went through, but I’m only happy if I’m working on a story or two for at least a few hours a day. And I like being happy so that means I’ll write again.


  1. Susan says:

    I’m right there with you.. Just a general malaise. Makes me want a donut. I’ve not had one of those in 2 years.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Ooh, a donut. I love Krispy Creme chocolate glaze. yummy!

  2. Diane says:

    Oh I love your story. Lately I couldn’t be more apathetic about EVERYTHING! I am doing nothing but reading or watching mindless TV shows. I’m pathetic. My dog slipped her collar because another dog was passing by. Of course she ran there and headed straight for the dog. When I yelled she’lol be fine they replied that they weren’t too sure about their dog. Great because she also is completely ignoring my yells. I was finally able to catch her and throw her in the house. I was so pissed. It’s no way to start the day. It really put me in a bad mood. Her collar is much tighter now. I feel your pain…

    1. Linda Odea says:

      It sure does put you in a bad mood. I’m still kind of mad at my dogs. lol.

  3. Ramona says:

    Oh my gosh Linda, I laughed until I thought I would pee my pants :’) I can just see you with the mop going after the dogs and every time I re-picture it I laugh some more. I know it wasn’t funny to you at the time because you were afraid for the little armadillo and I can understand your frustration with the dogs too. I have two hard headed dogs, Tinkerbell and Smokey, but they only weigh 4.5 & 14 pounds respectively so once I get ahold of them I don’t have any issue and they have time out in their kennels and they hate it.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Hi Ramona, I’m glad you found it funny. Yes, at the time I was furious but even though I was still mad later I could see the humor in it. I don’t know about you but when I imagine myself in these kinds of situations – physical, not trying to save an armadillo – I picture myself gracefully hitting or slapping or kicking the “bad guy” not lying on the ground in the dirt like a klutz. I wish I’d had a GoPro then we all could’ve had a real good laugh at my lack of coordination and grace. LOL.

  4. Gaela says:

    I’m lost for words! I was with you in spirit every second as you related what happened walking the dogs. Feeling exhausted now! So relieved the armadillo found its own safety eventually. And that you got the dogs home and at last could unwind and tend to yourself. What a blessing a sense of humor is – even if it, like our animal companions, is sometimes not instantly accessible or available when the unexpected ambushes us!

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog and I’m also glad that I really do think the armadillo made it. I keep going over to that area and I don’t smell anything and I’ve seen new little holes dug by an armadillo for food. I’d imagine the poor thing is staying close to his burrow as he heals. Even if he didn’t get cut up too badly, he has to be sore. And I agree. Humor gets me through a lot. 🙂

  5. Donise Cinnamon says:

    Today (8/7) was my birthday. I had to take one of my sons to see his new neurologist; we went out to eat with my fiance and my son’s boyfriend; had no luck finding my dad’s brand of bottled tea; the guys spent too much money at a gun shop and came home to needing to load the dishwasher. Reading about your fails certainly helped to brighten my day and I thank you for that. I am sorry that the episodes were fails for you, but thank you for sharing and brightening my day.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Hi Donise, Happy Be-lated birthday! I hope your son is doing okay and glad my story brightened your day. I don’t mind “fails”. They’re part of life and I try to see the humor in them. Helps me get through them – not that these were so bad (except to the armadillo) but like everyone, I’ve had some bad ones and a laugh definitely helps.

  6. Leigh says:

    I totally pictured that…event?…had me laughing for a bit…my cat ignores me the same way…but all that aside… I’m sure you’re back on your feet…so to speak… writing… doing what you do best!

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Yeah, both figuratively and literally, I’m back on my feet. LOL

  7. Rosemary Pollock says:

    Poor armadillo. And poor dogs, but they have to learn to come when you call them. You are right about dogs hurting other animals or small children. But tmorrow is another day. And we all procrastinate. Someone once told me to try to accomplish one job a day. Doesn’t always work, but keep trying. We need a new book from you. Keep writing.

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