She Doesn’t Sling Ink at the Seashore

Sorry for the late post. I am operating on sea shore time, which is told in tides not hours. Also, in its odd way, vacation time is busier than real life time. Museums! Bonfires! Bowling! Sunsets to watch and sunrises to meet. Wine! My birthday! Adorable nieces and nephews who need ice cream cones. Extended family and a husband with A List of Things They Want To Do On Vacation This Year. Lots of fun things and only a week to cram them all in.

Nowhere on my list is writing time. Of course I could demand time. Or simply go off and do, no permission needed. And, I know that a lot of writers do exactly that while on vacation, due either to a love of the writing game or flat out necessity. I’ve tried for the love of writing. But the pay-off in the amount produced, or perhaps a better way of putting it is: quality of progress, rarely equaled the haggling it took to get it.

Still, not writing for a week, even when I’ve planned for no or low output, is guilt inducing I’m a slow writer; momentum is a precious thing. I’ve got more stories brewing than I have time to write them, so why am I wasting a whole week?

I could call vacation-y weeks re-charging or letting my creative fields go fallow. But, I think there’s other work at play here. Evocative language comes easy when I’m saturated in sunshine and salt water. I jot down snippets in a notebook stained with suntan lotion and sweat. Hearing fellow beach-goers chit-chat– especially in voices not often heard in my everyday life: Southern, Quebecois, Eastern European, Amish, children, surfers and crabbers—tinges half-crafted runs of dialogue. I’m reminded of different sentence structures and oddball slang. Lounging on the beach, sleepy after a long swim, toes doodling in the same, I can cast plot pieces into the wide blue horizon, and watch them drift, break apart, or return to me, sparkling. Something about the rhythm of waves, the steady pull of tides, the shifting of sands just eases the work of putting plot events in order.

I feel like I should be encouraging this sort of mellow creativity in my daily life. But I’m still working on the whole creativity on demand as part of a good writing habit. Maybe mellow creativity is for big picture stuff, and on-demand is for the nitty-gritty? Or maybe I should just be happy I’ve got more than one method for firing up my creativity.

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