Midday on a hot Sunday in Spring is not the ideal time for a walk along the beach. But I went anyway.
Labeling it crowded would be grossly understating the scene. The beach was packed and the tide was already high and still rising, forcing everyone there to share increasingly less space. There was a lot to see, sure, but not a lot of room to do anything that involved moving from place to another along the coast.
This was when I decided to take my walk. And at first it seemed like a mistake.
I’m not one of those people who exercises at the same time or even exactly the same place each time. I procrastinate. I get bursts of energy and decide to go for it right then. I am all over the map at times and therefore wasn’t the least bit surprised to discover as I crossed over the dunes that early on a Spring Sunday afternoon was not the best time to get my walk in.
But I also didn’t let it discourage me. I switched on my pedometer and started weaving between towels, hairs, umbrellas and people toward the shore. Once there, I headed south, focusing only on the few feet of sand in front of me rather than the crowds of people ahead, behind, and surrounding me.
At first it looked like walking even a couple of feet would be impossible. Walking a couple of miles seemed out of the question. But I took that first step determined to make it work.
I had to dodge a lot of people who couldn’t care less if I walked or not. I had to stop and restart when beach balls or babies crossed my path at the last second. I had to weave around fishermen and football-throwing teens. I had to share space with squawking gulls used to having sand to land on.
I also got to watch a fisherman rescue and stingray and send it back out to sea.
Pretty soon it was time to turn around and retrace my steps, and although even more people had crammed together on the beach by then, the walk back actually seemed easier.
Maybe I’d simply adapted to the distractions and obstacles, which is what any writer has to do if they want to consistently produce.
Writers and other artists often find themselves trying to create in less than ideal situations. Crowds. Obstacles. Distractions. These don’t disappear just because we have deadlines or if we’re just not feeling “it” that day.
At those times we have to create anyway. We have to make that first move determined to get where we want to go.
Sometimes we have to get creative to be creative. And sometimes that leads to memorable results.