This is the final morning of my first visit to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. A trip inspired by need for a little R & R after several harried months filled with school, client projects, family life and very little writing.
Okay…practically zero hours spent writing.
In fact, the scene I wrote three days ago was the first I’d written in months. It’s something I’ve been struggling with the past few months. It isn’t a case of writer’s block. There is no lack of motivation or ideas. And while my schedule is very busy, some of the wonderful writers here have a lot more on their plates–beautiful baby girls, full-time day jobs and a house full of teenagers. Yet they manage to be prolific authors. So I won’t use my crazy, over-obligated schedule as an excuse. The problem is a lack of discipline. I’ve created a schedule for everything else in my life because those projects are tied to hard deadlines. My writing isn’t. So I’ve kept a “schedule” in my head. Yet, I never seem to follow it.
It’s time for me to admit defeat and realize that the only way I’ll get those three or four partially finished stories completed is by scheduling time to make it happen and setting my own deadline for completing each project.
This trip has been the perfect opportunity for me to get in a little relaxation, think about what is most important and what projects I need to let go of.
Every day, including this morning, I’ve been walking on the shore, collecting seashells and wondering how I’ve gone my entire life without witnessing the majestic beauty and power of the Atlantic Ocean. But I haven’t just been collecting seashells and memories. I’m collecting ideas and inspiration for two stories I’ve already begun set in a little town on the coast of North Carolina.
This has been a research trip as much as it’s been a vacation. My mind is buzzing with settings for a story involving a character from Love Me Not–Kari Copeland, the younger sister of my hero, Miles Copeland. The lovely resort where I’m staying. The dive diner with amazing crab cakes. The shore of the ocean on one side of this narrow little peninsula and the Currituck Sound on the other side.
Then there are the characters that are dancing in my head. The woman from Pennsylvania who sat next to me around the fire pit last night and shared her bottle of wine while we traded stories about winters in the Midwest. The guy from DC who’s been coming here for years and was a laugh a minute. The server at the diner where we ate last night who had a colorful personality and the most adorable smile. Each of them is imploring me to get my shit together and just write the damn stories.
No more excuses. Writers write. Period.
So that’s what I’ll do.
But right now I’m going to go back and watch the waves crash against the shore, despite the frigid temperature this morning. Because it is truly a thing of beauty and because I’m already counting the days until I’ll be back here again.