Here is a piece I wrote for a writers’ blog. Just goes to show that chickens have a lot to teach us about many, many things – all lessons learned from the flock.
What Chickens Can Teach You About Writing
I write about the lessons I’ve learned from living with a flock of backyard chickens.
Oh sure, you can learn things like:
- A freshly laid egg does not need to be refrigerated due to something called the bloom that protects the egg from air/water loss and bacteria.
- The pecking order is a real and sometimes heart-breaking reality.
- Unless you have a heart of stone, baby chicks will always make you say “awwwwwwwwww.”
I’ve certainly learned a lot from my chickens, but it doesn’t end with their care and maintenance. I’ve learned some parenting lessons (pecking order is alive and well amongst teen girls) and I’ve learned a thing or two about best practices in writing from my backyard flock.
Okay, listen, I can hear you clucking all the way from my little writer’s desk. Chickens? Writing? Surely that one is a stretch for even those with the greatest imagination.
But hear me out.
Chickens have different points of view
Chickens constantly take different points of view. A chicken’s eyes are located on the sides of their heads (not facing forward like ours.) This means that when a chicken wants to see the world (or that lovely green bug traveling up a stem) she has to constantly adjust her head, by viewing the world from first one side, and then the other, she is creating depth in her vision field.
Learning to view from different perspectives is an invaluable skill for a writer.
Chickens work at scratching all day long
Chickens use their feet to constantly scratch at the dirt in order to unearth insects and yummy goodness. The resultant etchings are referred to by what many of our early school teachers called our handwriting – chicken scratch.
Chickens live to eat, when you are producing (an egg) on a daily basis, you need to really work at it. Just think if we put that much effort into our scratching – we just might be able to also produce an egg a day.
To be productive, you’ve got to work at it.
Chickens take breaks
In the warm afternoon sun, you’ll often find chickens taking what is called a dust bath followed by a quick nap in the sun.
The dust bath consists of throwing dirt over their bodies; believe it or not, it’s a way of cleaning out mites and insects from their feathers.
And the nap is simply a way to enjoy the sunny day.
A good writer knows how to take care of herself and when it’s time for a little break.
Cross that road
Finally, here’s a good writing lesson from our friends the chickens. You know that old joke:
“Why did the chicken cross the road?”
“To get to the other side.”
As a writer use that advice to get on with your work. Do whatever it takes (butt in chair, finding a room of your own, writing in a favorite notebook) for you to get to the other side of your project.
And when you reach that other side (publication or just satisfaction from your work) do yourself a favor and take one last bit of advice from my flock – be sure to crow loud enough about your accomplishment for all to hear.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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