Monday, May 12, 2008

Surf 'n Swim

By C. Lynn Beck
© 2008

Youngsters swim hither and yon in little inner tubes, having a good time. Suddenly, all the lifeguards blow their whistles in one shrill, tweeeeeet, the kids scream in unison, the water in the pool develops waves, and you feel as if you're in the ocean's surf.

Let me back up and give you the whole “Surf 'n Swim,” wave pool experience. You start out in the water, trying to get into an inner tube. In case you haven’t noticed, climbing into an inner tube was easy as a kid. As an adult, the thing flips you over and hangs you upside down in the water so you can contemplate the joys of drowning.

After escaping from the rubber beast, you try belly flopping onto the tube. It works … but only after you manage to bruise both biceps and wonder if you ruptured your abdomen landing on the tube’s handles.

But, at least you’re there … you flip over and slide your backside into the ring. You’re finally sitting in the inner tube. You float here and there, bumping into the pool’s walls and ladders, unable to navigate in any direction because your backside is stuck in the middle of the rubber ring and your legs are sticking up in the air.

That’s when you hear, tweeeeeet! You panic for a moment, certain you should never have attempted this … then the waves start rolling, and you have the time of your life.

It’s almost as good as writing. Almost.

When you start out writing, you encounter belly flops that seem to rupture your ego. You do them over and over again until you think you’ve finally managed to get the hang of it.

Next, with your backside stuck in the chair, you float here and there, trying to navigate the writing world. Sometimes you wish you could get your backside out of that chair. You might actually do it, for an hour or two, but then—crazy writer—you put it right back in again. You bump against the wall of one genre and then another, as you turn and twirl, and try to decide where you really want to go.

The submission process begins. You crash into this editor and that. You push off each rejection, sometimes wondering if this ride is really going to be worth it. However, you know there must be something really great ahead, because look at all the authors floating around you!

Then, one day when you least expect it, a publisher blows his whistle. He says he’s interested in your novel. You scream and cheer, and the waves of excitement engulf you. Like a swimmer in an inner tube at the wave pool, you take off for the ride of your life.

And it's at that moment of heady joy, as you're cresting on a wave, that the realization hits you—it is so worth it to be a writer!

C. Lynn’s other work:
Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers, "Horse on Lap"
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann, "Priming the Pump, pg. 79
Newspaper Column
Ensign Magazine, Dec 2007-Q&A
2007 League of Utah Writer's Award-Historical Fiction

What books C. Lynn recommends:
You Know You're a Writer When ... by Adair Lara
The Writer's Book of Hope by Ralph Keyes
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)


Keith N Fisher said...

Good blog. Can I use a surfboard? at least I would have a little control :) thanks for the boost. by the way, good job, I wouldn't have been able to get my hind end in the hole.

Dan Olsen said...

Thanks for the encouragement to keep trying to jump into the innertube.

As I keep jumping in, will callouses eventually form which either makes it easier to do, or at least less painful until I ride the wave?

Cindy Beck, author said...

I'm all in favor of a surfboard! When you give it a try, let me know. I want to be there to watch you navigate around all those little kids in inner tubes. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Cindy Beck, author said...

Dan (and Wendy, too, if she's hanging around),

Yes, if you keep at it long enough, and don't drown first, you'll eventually develop callouses. Or rupture your spleen. Either way, you'd have a good story to write!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.