Growing up, my dad would occasionally take us out sailing on a nearby lake. There were days the water was as still as glass and the wind refused to fill the sails. On those days we would bake above deck while the boat inched along at a snail’s pace. We could cool off by hopping in the water, but for the most part, those trips were rather boring. We could have swum just as easily at the shore. Other days, the wind would gust. The boat would heave up and down as well as from side to side. On those days, I would worry that we might capsize at any moment, or that I might lose my lunch.
I was taught to look out at the horizon as a way to combat seasickness.
Seasickness is caused by your brain not being able to find equilibrium due to the motion of the vessel. However as much as you rock from side to side, the horizon remains flat and motionless. It provides your brain with a mental anchor point. By keeping your eyes focused on the distance your body is able to subconsciously anticipate where you will be as the boat moves through the water. This can be the difference between enjoying the ride and turning a lovely shade of green.
Several years ago, I heard a song by a band called the Immaculate Machine entitled “C’mon Sea Legs.” The singer is basically giving himself a pep talk throughout the entire song, begging his legs to adjust to the sway of the boat. I particularly like the refrain:
C’mon sea legs, pull yourself together
you’re gonna have to learn to like the rockin of waves
whatever, c’mon now it’s not meant to be easy
but you’re not gonna spend your life bein’ sick over the side
The past week, I’ve experienced a number of up and downs. I was one of several presenters asked to speak in front of eighty people who had come from various points around the globe. Leading up to the event my stomach twisted. I forgot several lines from my prepared script, but what I did remember hit home. I ended my speech to applause, and several attendees approached me later with their compliments on a job well done.
Then I received my manuscript back from my editor. I wanted his honest assessment, and I got it. To say he thinks it needs some more work is an understatement. Based on his recommendations, I am going to have to re-write a significant portion of it, an undertaking that is daunting. A part of me wants to bury the entire manuscript in a drawer and move on to a new idea. A part of me wants to give up altogether.
We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. — Charles Swindoll
I have to remember that calm seas are boring, and destinations don’t get any closer without a little wind to help push along the way.
I have to stay above deck and keep my eyes on the horizon. I am going have learn to like the rockin of the waves. I have to accept the lows as well as the highs in pursuit of my dream.
6 thoughts on “It would be nice if I had found my sea legs”
Don’t put it in a drawer! I’ve rewritten the first novel in my series so many times that just rereading it makes me want to hide. But it’s so worth it – there is undoubtedly a kernel of something awesome in it that’s worth saving. 🙂
Thanks! Knowing that every writer goes through similar self doubts does help.
As always your analogies are on point.
Thanks! In this case though, I rather wish I could have ridden the high side a tad longer.
Sailing is a lot more fun when it’s your hand is on the tiller and you’re adjusting the sails. Should have put you to work. You do learn you can make the boat go where you decide no matter how the wind blows. And some winds are better than others!
It was definitely more fun when you let me steer, but I was more than happy to let you be the one to adjust the sails. Those lines hurt!