A few years ago, a friend and I took our kids for a day at the Jersey shore. It was a beautiful day with clear skies, mild surf and salty breezes. The kids spent the morning jumping waves and building sand forts. By lunch time they’d worked up hearty appetites and couldn’t wait to dig in to the delicious picnic we’d packed.
Sitting on boogie boards and towels, they unwrapped their sandwiches and took their first bites. I, too, was about to dig in when, suddenly, I felt a nasty pinch and flapping of feathers. I screamed, just in time to look a seagull right in the eye. He was trying to get my sandwich, but had gotten my finger instead. Moments later, another seagull swooped in, this time successfully nabbing a chunk of my son’s sandwich right out of his hand. Looking up, we saw several seagulls circling overhead. “They’re dive-bombing us, Mom!” my son shouted. Then he and his friend stood and started stomping and waving to scare them off. It didn’t work. The seagulls kept circling and swooping.
By now the girls were screaming too. Thankfully, my friend kept her wits about her. “Sit down, everyone,” she said. “I know what to do.” Then grabbing our boys’ towels, she covered their heads as they sat on their boogie boards, making two makeshift picnic tents. “If you keep your sandwiches hidden, they won’t dive in,” she explained. She made similar tent for the girls and one for herself. And sure enough, they worked!
Just look at the boys…
and the girls….
and my friend.
Alas, I’d forgotten a towel for myself. My solution? My son’s orange t-shirt strategically flopped over my wide-brimmed hat provided just enough cover to thwart those nasty seagulls.
Writing sometimes feels a lot like trying to eat lunch at the beach. I begin the day with great intentions, but as soon as I sit down to write, those seagulls start swooping in. They might not look like birds, but if I’m not careful, things like email, Twitter, Facebook, laundry and dustbunnies, can easily snatch up all my writing time. What I need is a tent! For me that means turning off the internet, not answering the phone, and finding a distraction-free place to write. And if those pecking dustbunnies and flying laundry baskets still distract, I just promise them that I’ll feed them in an hour, after I finish my feeding my muse.
How about you? Is your writing time ever besieged by seagulls? If so, what’s your solution?
Note: If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog. I post once or twice weekly. Posts are devoted to celebrating reading, writing and life! This post first appeared August 2013 but I thought it as relevant as ever, plus I just returned from a week at the beach where there were lots of… sea gulls!