Posted by: jeannineatkins | February 16, 2011

No Sandcastles

Sometimes writing can feel as carefree as building sand castles.

And sometimes I do not want to sit at my desk. Or window seat.

Today was that second kind of day. I muttered. I grumbled. I yelled at the dog (The cute one. Who is loud). I wished the phone would ring. Even if it was just a reminder about the dentist. Even if it was bad news, at least it would be a distraction. I made more tea. Ate half a lemon bar. I can’t believe that yesterday I called being in the middle of a book my favorite part of the writing process.

And finally got to work. Pushing around old sentences that didn’t sing. Pawing through words that seemed saggy. Feeling tired of my characters: why couldn’t a new and charming one show up?

Why isn’t the phone ringing when I want it to? Now even the dog isn’t barking.

But at last my characters started to seem a little bit interesting again. And pages completed got slightly longer. Tomorrow there’s always hope I’ll start on a better note. Remembering that sometimes there’s just a lot of terrible traffic on the way to the beach. And sometimes the sand looks kind of nasty. But something is better than nothing when it comes to castles or manuscripts, so it’s okay to whine to yourself, make peace with the dogs, maybe finish off the lemon bar, and see what you can find in the too bulky words and over-familiar characters.

Or sometimes you have to put down the virtual shovel and bucket and put on a very virtual jacket and black pants. Get out the virtual lint brush for dog hairs. And get to work. 



  1. So true. So true.

  2. This often happens to me–I’m all excited and happy about my WIP one day, and eager to get back to it. But the next day, it doesn’t seem nearly as magical. I flirt with other stories, procrastinate, push out some uninspired words. I think, “Well, that may be all for this project.” Then the next day, I’m in love with it again.

  3. I’m so hoping the writing comes easier for you tomorrow! ;0)

  4. Sometimes, taking a break helps. But there are times when the only way to get to the other side is to push through.
    Hope tomorrow is better. 🙂

  5. I’m nodding and nodding and smiling as I read your post. Sometimes it’s a heap of sand grinding in the shoe and sometimes it’s bare toes wriggling in a heap of sand. Here’s to that heap of sand taking shape into something wonderful.

  6. I did what you did yesterday. Today I’m outta here! I need distraction in the worst way!

  7. Hope your day has some shining moments, Jo. xo

  8. I guess there are bound to be ups and downs with whatever we love. I rarely reach that point of thinking that this is it for the project, which sounds pretty miserable. Hope you have a day of writing in love!

  9. Thanks, Tami. I’ve got my plastic shovel and sunscreen and am determined for some play. After making a nice heap of sand yesterday, which needs some surprising twirls.

  10. You are right. Sometimes there’s just the push, and sometimes knowing a break is coming makes the work just that more compelling. I’m helping a friend with powerpoint (me as techie? But that’s just what she wanted. someone who speaks her non-language) this afternoon, and we’ll make time for some gossip and tea… today already seems much better!

  11. Ouch: sand in the shoe.
    Thanks for your good wishes. Yesterday a rudimentary platform got built, and while it wasn’t fun, it was necessary. Hoping for a bit more fun today… but we will see. It’s all part of the process, though I know it helps me going in with sparkly sunglasses, or something, on.

  12. Have fun with your distractions! I have one coming for lunch, and I know that will make the writing before and after better.

  13. That *does* sound much better! Here’s hoping your next day at the beach goes more smoothly. Though I know what it’s like to need to suit up in full nor’easter gear because there’s so much sand that needs moving.

  14. And sometimes a rejection knocks down what you THOUGHT was a halfway-decent sandcastle and you have to (sigh) move up the beach and rebuild (…my writing life this week). Thanks for sharing, Jeannine, and on a happier note, I evidently won a copy of your HOW HIGH CAN WE CLIMB book through Doraine’s blog. :0) Robyn

  15. I try to think of kicking out the old with the spirit of a child — but of course that doesn’t always happen. Or happen as soon as you want. Hope your new building starts looking astonishing to all next week.
    And thanks for letting me know about winning How High Can We Climb. I hope you enjoy it!

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