I stumbled upon some revelations while on vacation that are applicable to writers.
There were twelve of us crammed into a van for a scenic tour to the top of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Island for a view of the Caribbean. When the driver rounded the narrow mountain road, riding precariously close to the cliff's edge, a young woman behind me spoke out.
I turned with a stern look, and I saw that she had her eyes closed and her hands folded.
"Jesus Christ!" was a prayer, not a swear.
1. Don't jump to conclusions. Words can be misconstrued. Praise God, share the space, the waves ... and also generously share writing call outs, and your knowledge with other writers.
Most vacationing beach goers hope to come home with a suntan. It cannot be done in one day. Tanning is a slow process, and staying too long in the sun on day one results in a sunburn.
2. Trying to write a book in a week, an essay in an hour, or a poem in a minute is as impossible as getting an even tan in one day. It can cause a writer to burn out.
We had one day of torrential non-stop rain. Storm clouds gathered, lightning chased beach goers inside, and thunder rumbled. Storms dumped on all of us. After the rain we glimpsed part of a rainbow; that spot of color was a promise of brighter things to come.
3. Seek colors in a bland day; look not only sky high, but in unexpected places.
Caribbean time is a slow ticking clock. I commented to our native driver, a young man of thirty, that he looked twenty.
"That is because I smile a lot, and when you smile and are happy inside, it shows on the outside."
He dropped us at an isolated beach where he said Princess Di once swam. It was one of 365 beaches on the island. Can you imagine one beach for every day of the year? A woman in our group had to use the restroom. She walked to a snack shack which was supposed to be open. She discovered a female employee snoozing on the porch floor.
"Excuse me, I thought you opened at 11:00. I have to use the bathroom."
"The owner is late. No problem. Go pee in the sea," the woman said and rolled back over.
4. Think positive, take it easy, make do; find a creative solution.
While walking along the beach, a gusty wind stirred. A beach ball rolled past me at a good clip. I kicked the ball towards the beach in hopes that the child who lost it might retrieve it. But the ball caught another groove in the sand and kept rolling, and that ball was long gone.
5. Keep your momentum going. If you get stuck in a rut, find another way out.
A flock of docile seagulls waited quietly for someone to toss a morsel. There was nothing to differentiate one from the other.
An orange beaked bird joined the flock and squawked and squealed and made itself known, circled the sea and wasn't at all hesitant to dive in for a meal. This bird was a go getter.
6. Don't wait for it to happen, make it happen. Dare to be different. Make yourself and your work stand out from the rest. It doesn't hurt to toot your own horn. GO FOR IT.
When you stumble, don't stop, just put one foot in front of the other, pen to paper, fingers to the keyboard. Keep going. Be humble, be grateful, be helpful. Appreciate the little things.