I’m back from vacation.

We unlocked the door and dumped our bags, adding to the stray belongings flung about during our packing tornado. Then big sighs on the couch, surveying our natural disaster.

This stinks. Or maybe I should say the house stinks, being closed up for two weeks with a cucumber rotting in the fridge, mossy and shriveled like a dead pickle.

We’re home and I’m in a funk. There’s no sugar-coating the post-vacation blues. (And since the cupboard is bare, I have no sugar anyway.)

beachhavenlibraryThere was no fiction writing on vacation. I barely even thought about writing. I snapped a photo of the charming Beach Haven Public Library to serve as inspiration for a new story, but that was it. The needle is pointing to “E” on my inspiration gauge.

So how do I jump back in the saddle again, I wonder? From where does the motivation arise? I sent nothing out on submission recently, and my middle grade work in progress has been frozen in mid-chapter ever since I received conflicting feedback at the NJ-SCBWI conference.

I used to be in a hurry to get my work published. I had a timeline for getting stories done and accepted. I’m not making that deadline, and what’s worse, I feel guilty that I’ve let this self-imposed schedule slip. I have friends with new agents, friends with new book deals, exciting happenings that should shove me into gear.

But, no. I’m still sculpting sand mermaids on the beach.

sandmermaid2Perhaps that’s as it should be. I hear you saying, “Everyone needs a break, even writers!” But for the past few years, I didn’t believe this to be true. I write because I must write. I possess a DNA code that compells me to be creative. Shouldn’t I be writing every free moment of the day? And if I’m not, can I still call myself a writer?

An epiphany came yesterday while out to brunch. An elderly woman stopped by our table. With her fingertips brushing the tablecloth she said, “You look like a happy family. That’s so nice to see.”

I nearly teared up at her kindness…and at the realization that my publication woes are stupid, silly. I have a healthy family. A good life. I am a writer. I will write. The stories will come. Someday, they will be published. I will keep working until they’re good enough.

So for now, I’ll ride Western side-saddle. No need to gallop when I can mosey back in. 

How about you? Do you have the late-summer blahs? How do you get motivated again after a break? After a rejection?