I’m gonna say it—Writing is hard.

I don’t mean shooting out a quick email or text. I’m talking about writing a story. It doesn’t matter how much schooling you’ve had or how many “rules” you know, or even how many books you have published, writing is still hard.

It’s the pressure we create on ourselves to get our story just right, to do our characters justice, to build a world we can’t wait to invite others into. We want to stay true to the story, but also be sure we showcase our talent and ability to think outside the box while still showing our “sales potential.”

It’s also the pressure from the industry—to have something that can catch a busy agent’s or editor’s eye within a page or two, to create something that “the powers that be” will think will fit well in the current market and not only have good sales but also good potential for screen, merchandise, and more. We have to find not only that perfect mold for us to individually fit into, but also find the perfect advocate to help us navigate this crazy journey.

It’s hard. Plain and simple.

Yes, every single one of these things is important (and many others, too), but maybe, just maybe, we need to take a step back and let it flow.

I was able to actually take a little vacation this winter and found myself on the beach in beautiful Sanibel Island, FL. I walked that beach for miles every day and felt all my stresses and doubts and inhibitions slowly melt away with each step. I felt like I could breathe deeply for the first time in a long time, and I took a look around and really paid attention to what I saw.

It was a different world than I’m used to. First of all, every person I saw seemed happy. They seemed to be soaking it all in just like I was. They also didn’t seem to care about anything around them. Polite respect filtered everywhere. Stumble upon a kid’s sand creation? Walk around it and let it be. Crab in your way? Walk around it and let it be. Mounds of shells everywhere? Stop and marvel at their beauty and wonder how so many appeared overnight, and then continue on your way and let it be.

Everything just flowed—naturally. The water came and went against the shore. The birds pecked at the creatures by the water’s edge. The shells lined the walkways. The kids played. The crows squawked. The dolphins jumped. The stingrays danced. The dogs played. The breeze blew a gentle blanket around everything. The sun came up and went down and it all kept happening over and over again—effortlessly. It was a natural cycle.

It just flowed.

Perhaps we need to let our writing “just flow” too. Sometimes we need to turn off those voices and rules and doubts and let things naturally take its course. Just “let it be.” Let the story come out as it will, without judgment.

Breathe deep. Soak it in. Let it flow.

What wonderful creations might spring up naturally in an atmosphere like that!