Luck has nothing to do with it

Hanna Beach at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, Jacksonville, FL

Hanna Beach at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

It happened again last week. Someone said I was lucky to live near the beach. It’s a maddeningly common phrase. You’re so lucky to…have thick, curly hair…be tall…be athletic…be talented/artistic/creative…win the lottery.

Some of those do involve luck. Games of chance. Genetics. But most of what we achieve or have in life owes nothing to happenstance.

We worked for it. We sacrificed. We failed. We tried, tried again. We (wo)manned up. We planned. Practiced. Persevered.

We didn’t leave anything to chance.

Our language is filled with platitudes and clichés about luck vs. achievement through struggle, courage, and will because it is a central question of being human. But don’t worry, I have no plans to answer it here.  Probably couldn’t even if I wanted to. I’ll stick to something I know, which is that luck wasn’t involved with my proximity to sand and surf.

I live near the beach by choice, courage, determination, and sacrifice.

I wasn’t born here. I wasn’t offered a dream job with paid relocation. I didn’t win the lottery.

Jax Beach

Jax Beach

I set a goal.

What I did to achieve that goal is too long of a tale to tell here. It’s book-length, actually, and the subject of my current WIP (for my readers who aren’t writers, WIP = work-in-progress). Eventually it will be finished and published but I didn’t want to wait that long to deliver one of the morals of the story…

Don’t wait for your beach to find you.

Recently I visited a close friend who found her beach in the middle of the country, along Lake Michigan. We have proclaimed ourselves sand sisters and our personal Facebook pages often feature dueling photos of sand, sunsets, and seagulls. Another thing we have in common is that luck didn’t have anything to do with her relocation either.

Indiana Dunes Beach at Indiana Dunes State Park

Indiana Dunes Beach at Indiana Dunes State Park

And it doesn’t have anything to do with creativity.

Writers, poets, sculptors, painters, photographers, dancers, singers, musicians, designers, architects, engineers, and anyone else who uses inspiration and imagination to make something from the same raw ingredients that others pass by aren’t creative because they are lucky. They work. They practice. They fail. They try again.

They choose to create.

You can too. All it takes is realizing that luck has nothing to do with it.

North Jax Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach, from the Jax Beach Fishing Pier

North Jax Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach, from the Jax Beach Fishing Pier

 

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Death, taxes, and the necessity of routine

Death and taxes are not the only certainties for me. I can also count on the loss of routine knocking me clean off the writing wagon.

That has been the case for me over the past few weeks. My routine sank into the sea and my regular blog entries and all personal writing plans washed away like so much sand art I trudge through during my beach walks. Oh, and, of course, my beach walks suffered the same fate as my blog entries and personal writing, which in turn threw me farther off track. Vicious, vicious, circle.

What derailed my happy routine days? What upended my regular weekly cycle of write, sleep, write for work, beach, write more for work, eat, write, sleep?

Well, one of my cars broke down, my husband had surgery and recuperated at home, one business project ended with my delivery of a full report and recommendations, another business project started with my development of a huge, detailed proposal and the tax deadline arrived, all in the span of one short week. Eight days, to be precise.

Everything turned out fine, except that I failed to post weekly blog entries for two weeks straight and gained two pounds.

Coincidence? Probably not.

I am most definitely a creature of habit. I have routines for everything and when I follow them they serve as a road map to my health, happiness, and productivity. When I abandon them, look out hopes and dreams!

It wasn’t as if I didn’t do any writing during my off track days. That report and proposal didn’t create themselves. But anything that wasn’t strictly business suffered a bit and I suffered with it. Like most artistic people I’ve known or known of, I’m only fully happy when I’m creating.

And so, besides offering an excuse laden apology of sorts for not posting here for a couple of weeks, I urge you to take stock of your own routines, superstitions, and must haves. What do you need to maintain your creative endeavors?

Whatever it is, guard it with your life, especially when life gets a little crazy.