Doggedness: perseverance; persistence; determination to continue without giving up in spite of difficulties.

I now understand how the word “doggedness” must have originated. I believe someone made it up after observing the persistence of a male dog after a female in heat.

A few years ago I woke up in the middle of the night on hearing a lot of barking and a big ruckus from my dogs.  I got up and shone a torch light down into the garden but I couldn’t see much of what was happening.  After a while they made their way around to the front of the house, so I did as well, and when I looked out of my kitchen window, rather than seeing only five dogs (I now have only four) in the yard, I was horrified to see six!

I say horrified because one of my female dogs, who was just seven months old, and not spayed, was in heat and a short, unattractive dog from somewhere in the neighborhood, had somehow gotten into our yard, and it wasn’t there just to hang out with the other dogs! It must have searched all along the fence to find a weak spot and then it would have had to dig under it or contort itself to get through an impossibly small space.

Well the next day I called the vet to find out what we could do, but she said we could do nothing but wait and see.  I told her that the dog was a lot shorter than ours so I didn’t think that anything could have happened, but I was told that I would be surprised at how these dogs find a way to get the job done.  They not only persevere to get to the female, but then it seems that they will do anything to reach their goal.

That made me take a look at myself.  Was I dogged enough in pursuing my goals?  I know that I have sometimes been guilty of setting goals but when the going gets a bit tough (i.e. I encounter a fence) or I am forced to leave my comfort zone, I have on occasion thrown in the towel.

Well this year I set myself the goal of writing my latest novel, Vaucluse, in four months. Vaucluse will be the fictionalisation of the life of Henry Peter Simmons who bought Vaucluse Plantation in Barbados in 1816. Finishing the book in four months is a very ambitious goal, but I am determined to see it through since this year will be 200 years since Henry Peter bought the plantation.

The craneSo I am determined to go about this with doggedness.  Like the male dog I caught in my yard, I’m going to pursue all avenues to reach my goal and, even if it means experiencing some discomfort, like missing sleep or forcing myself to write even when it’s not flowing, I will be persistent and write every day until I finish. I’ve even set myself a date that I want to publish by, so that I have a target before me which will prompt me if I begin to falter. When I make the target, I think I’ll reward myself with a weekend at my favourite place in Barbados, The Crane.