I’m currently working with a writer’s group as a consulting editor and trading for some really awesome coaching myself from the inspired author and writing coach Jacob Nordby.
As part of Nordby’s goal of making writing a regular part of our lives so we can actually finish a project, ;), he called upon us to create artist dates for ourselves where we get out of our normal environment (for me this townhouse in Corpus Christi, Texas), so we can focus on the writing itself.
Here’s where I went for my most recent artist date (those are oil rigs in the distance):
This is part of North Padre Island, which includes a very long stretch of dune-bordered beach that’s protected inside the Padre Island National Seashore. People can drive vehicles on the beach and stop anywhere for sunning, swimming, fishing, and camping. When hubby was growing up here, they also drove around on the dunes, but that’s not allowed anymore, so the dune ecosystems have recovered and re-covered the formerly “naked” dunes with greenery and wildlife.
Oh, another thing about the shore here; Internet access is not guaranteed, and the farther you drive south, the less available it gets. And this is a good thing for me. I carefully download only what I really want to work on onto my iPad and then, it’s just the surf sound, the pelicans and gulls flying by, the always-wind blowing, and hubby setting up fishing poles (occasionally, we get a little fish dinner later as well).
I just set my lily-white self in the shade of the truck and look out my “office window” at all this:
And write, mostly poetry, I’m finding. Here’s a little raw snippet I came up with recently on one of these dates:
Greens in the dunes, beach lettuce.
Sun-drenched dunes holding the heat.
Cold, damp tidal flat sands the toes.
Gulls and skippers dance on that chill,
Almost full moon rising from the keys.
We of this longitude share her light over all the world.
I highly recommend the artist date to you, especially if you have this story or poem or essay or even book inside of you and you find it difficult to fit in time at home to write. Getting away, whether to nearby mountains, shores, or city parks or cafes even, will make a huge difference in your creative productivity. Promise. 🙂
Outposts Along the Path
Over at Brian Gardner’s NoSidebar blog, one of my very favorite storytellers, Melissa Camara Wilkins has written a post that fits right in with making spacetime for artist dates. Check out “The Powerful Effects of Habits” for yourself. You can thank me later. 😉
And Cait Lynch always has a good story and great advice at the same time. She’s very real about her own struggles with stress and balancing health, fitness, work, and personal life in “Make me a super human.”
I never regretted allowing both of these fine ladies into my inbox every week. Try it yourself!