Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The View From Here

This is pretty much what I've been looking at lately. It's a beach, in case you can't tell. A warm, sunny, quiet beach. Lots of sand and gentle waves. A slice of heaven in my otherwise hectic world.

Sunday my family was sitting in a fantastic little food dive called Crabby Bills, eating fried alligator and blackened Mahi Mahi, sipping iced tea, and feeling relaxed for the first time in I can't tell you how long.

There is something about the beach that does this to me. Sure, I went to New York not too long ago, which was an awesome trip, but not particularly relaxing. I thrived there on the tall buildings and packed subways and the hustle and bustle and the hopes that I would someday be part of the publishing world that resides there.

But the beach... the beach is like a drug.

Sitting at the long picnic table watching our waitress saunter from table to table, in no particular hurry, it suddenly occurred to me: I could do that.

So I said wistfully, "I think I want to sell everything and come down here to live. I'll be a waitress by night and a beach bum by day. Just lay around and swim in the ocean and do nothing."

(Did I mention it's been really hot? Perhaps the heat was getting to me...)

My son looks at me thoughtfully a minute before adding, "Yeah. You could write here."

And I actually said this: "No. I don't know that I'd write. That's a lot of hard work. I think I'll just be a beach bum."

And the sad thing was I really meant it. Not the beach bum part, or the waitress part, or even the selling everything part. Just the writing is hard work part. And I realized that for the first time in two years I'd actually allowed myself to leave the stress of writing and querying and editing and publishing behind. And while I enjoy writing tremendously - it's my passion, really, and there's nothing else I'd rather do for a living - I needed a break.

Not the kind of break where you stop writing because you have writer's block, or the break where you are overwhelmed by the rest of life and the book you wish you were writing struggles in your head day and night because you don't have time to work it out and write it.

I needed a break from just thinking about it all: the direction I want to go with my career, whether my query was good enough, what are agents and publishers looking for, which of the two books that I am writing should I stick with, can I make a career out of this, am I wasting my time and my family's time...

the list goes on and on. Things that weigh on me no matter where I go, no matter what I'm doing. Things that suddenly, somewhere between the sprawling strip malls of my suburban neighborhood and the sandy shores of my personal heaven, I let go of all those worries.

And then I worried that I wouldn't actually be the writer who says, I want to write from my beach house until I keel over dead.

And then, feet up looking at that sparkling water, I picked up a book and started reading.

An amazing, beautiful, stunningly written book.

And all I wanted to do was come back to the hotel and edit my own book.


  1. I get that feeling too.

    But you need to relax and find center, then you can edit. Enjoy your holiday!

  2. Breaks are awesome. They make you feel rejuvenated and give you some perspective.

    Have a great holiday.

  3. OOooo-- looks wonderful! Love the blue polish!

  4. Great post.

    Writing is hard work, even without all the querying work.

    I wouldn't mind having a little beach house. Maybe when I'm a famous writer.

    Nice toes, by the way. :)

  5. This post has so much déjà vu for me that it's actually a bit scary. My husband and I were discussing this all last week! Now that my writing is generating income just like a regular job, we are thinking about taking off and moving closer to the ocean. I hate living inland, and I actually miss the beach more and more every year. I want to sell everything, get away from here, take my cat, kids and husband and live somewhere where I can see the ocean from my window.

  6. Thank you all! I'm home and trying frantically to finish editing my book (again!) before I send it in to my editor. (Yikes!! I LOVE saying that!! Even though it freaks me out a little!!)

    The break did me good. Like Patti said on her blog - it was good brain-time! :)

    Christy - that's so amazing that you get to think that way! I used to have a house that you could see the Pacific from the front porch. It was awesome. When I could, I'd drag my chair and book down to the beach and read. I totally get the "get away from everything" feeling.