I’m not one of those people who believes there is a best or proper time to go to the beach. I love the quiet early mornings, the noisy, blinding bright afternoons, and when sea and sand are blanketed with that blue tint from a cloudless sky reflecting the last of the sun’s daylight. Mornings or afternoons, midday or sunset, sunrise or late night under the moonlight, any time can become beach o’clock for me.
As with each time of day, every season, offers its own flavor, a unique blend of sights, smells, sounds, and cast of characters. Orange beaked black skimmers warm up the bland winter sand cluttered with shells and sea glass, seaweed carpets roll spring into summer, and sun worshippers share sand space with castle-makers, kite-flyers, and hungry gulls through the long lazy summer and fall.
Just as the beach varies what it offers, my reason for going to the beach fluctuates. Sometimes I’m simply looking for a workout with vacation scenery. Sometimes I’m seeking sights, smells, and sounds capable of drowning out whatever is clogging my thoughts that day. And almost always…no, definitely always…I am seeking creative inspiration from the comfortably relentless give and take of the sand and sea.
My creativity ebbs and flows like the coastline. There’s no right time of day, no perfect season, no proper schedule that works for me, and, I suspect that’s true for many writers and artists. One painter may swear by the natural afternoon light and refuse to paint at any other time or on cloudy days. Another writer might be convinced that the only appropriate time is early morning, before the sun or anyone in the family is up. While that singer doesn’t believe in approaching the mic until late at night.
We all have our best times, and, for some of us, there’s more than one. Like walking the beach at different times or in other seasons, for me writing in the morning, afternoon, evening, or night offers a variety of appeal. When it’s all about business, I usually prefer to write in the afternoon and evening. But when it comes to telling stories, true or imagined, nothing beats the dark until the story takes hold and then I tend to disregard circadian rhythm or clock.
I encourage you to do the same. Create when and where inspiration smiles at you and don’t worry about when that is. Or, if you can’t let go of the belief that there is a right time for everything, remember that the creative community is global. It’s beach o’clock somewhere.