Colleen M. Story
Whenever I visit a pier—any pier—one of my favorite things to do is to walk along and read all the boat names.
It’s fun to see what people choose to call their watercraft, but I’ve also found that when I’m lucky, one of the names will have something special to say to me.
One year in Florida, for example, I found this one:
Notice the name: “Persistence.”
At the time, I hadn’t yet received that traditional publishing contract I so desired, and I felt like the boat was telling me something.
I posted this picture on my computer wallpaper until I finally got that contract a short time later. I still take a look at it now and then, as a reminder when my endurance is running low.
This year, I got a chance to visit a pier in the Pacific Northwest, so I took a walk, reading the boat names along the way. Miss Elaine. Stormbreaker. Judy. Griffin. Aurora. Winona.
And then, I spotted this one:
Can you see it? In case you can’t quite read the name, here’s a close-up:
When I saw that, I stopped and laughed out loud. Not just “never again,” but “never again for the ninth time.” Yeah, I could relate.
How about you?
Sometimes, a Writer Has to Imagine Letting it All Go
I was coming off a very busy time in my writing life, having just launched my first self-published non-fiction book, after traditionally publishing a novel the year before and another novel the year before that, all while maintaining a full-time freelance writing business, conducting writing workshops at various conferences, and building the readership for my website, Writing and Wellness.
You know how it goes. It had been an extremely busy three years, exciting but stressful. I’d learned a ton, but I was tired. Exhausted even. I had to take a break, so I was on vacation, and I was loving it. While I enjoyed the great weather and hiked some beautiful trails, I was thinking over everything in my professional life. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do any of it anymore—the novels, the website, the workshops.
When I thought about it, I just felt tired. Why do all this? I wondered. Is it really getting you anywhere?
I let the idea of “never again” come into my mind. Never again will I worry about writing a novel and publishing it. Never again will I worry about getting fresh and interesting blog posts up every week. Never again will I take on the work of presenting a workshop. Never again will I spend weeks writing guest posts and running online tours and giveaways and what not to market a book.
Instead, I could simply focus on my freelance work. I could do my assignments, and then enjoy oodles of free time. Imagine it! Once work was over, I wouldn’t have to shift gears and write some more. I could just enjoy myself. Like most people do, right?
Take more walks. Play more music. Spend more time with friends. Read. Wander.
What a concept! It was delicious, and for a while, I let myself think about it. Really think about it. I wasn’t just toying with the idea. I was actually giving myself permission:
When you get back from vacation, you don’t have to do any of it anymore if you don’t want to.
Have you ever experienced one of those lovely sighs of relief, how the air just exits your body and your muscles unravel and you close your eyes and think, yes, that is what I’ll do?
It feels wonderful. I highly recommend it.
The actor Daniel Craig has been James Bond four times. After his fourth movie was released in 2015, he promised: never again. He was done.
According to The Guardian, he said he would “rather slash my wrists” than reprise the role. “We’re done,” he said. “All I want to do is move on.”
Then in August 2017, The Guardian reported that while on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert, Craig confirmed he would be playing Bond one more time in a fifth film, set to hit theaters in November 2019.
“I think this is it,” he said. “I just want to go out on a high note and I can’t wait.”
Craig may have gotten some backlash for the back and forth, but I can understand it. He admitted he was exhausted after filming Spectre, and that his ill-thought-out negative comments were made just two days after the last day of shooting.
He added that after it was over, he just needed a break.
Don’t we all?
Thus, the fishing boat. Sitting peacefully in the pier.
Never Again IX.
Never Again is a Delicious Thought
I can’t imagine being a fisherman. The ocean is so unforgiving. I’ve been out on it only a couple times in the summertime weather and have been amazed at the strength and harshness of the winds, the unrelenting current. I can’t imagine being on it all season long. There’s a reason old-time fisherman look weathered, their skin like leather.
With what little I know, I can surely understand thinking never again. Why keep it up? Why go out there year after year, when the fish are disappearing, the regulations increasing, the income diminishing, and the way of life getting more and more difficult every year?
Why indeed? A fisherman asked himself that question, apparently nine times. And his answer was sitting there in the pier, the little white boat with the maroon accents, ready to venture forth into the unpredictable ocean waters…again.
Just as my answers are sitting on my laptop—my next novel, in progress, and my next non-fiction, in progress.
Sometimes, we just need to allow ourselves to imagine it. We could let it all go. We could choose another way of life. We could say goodbye to it all.
So soothing to picture, to feel. Without never again, we might actually quit.
Instead, it allows us to regroup, relax, and let the creative bubbles rise under the bow.
The sea is calling.
Have you had a NEVER AGAIN moment? Have you had a NEVER AGAIN 3 or 5 or 9 moment?
Colleen M. Story is the author of Overwhelmed Writer Rescue: Boost Productivity, Improve Time Management, and Replenish the Creator Within—a motivational read full of practical, personalized solutions to help writers escape the tyranny of the to-do list and nurture the genius within. Discover your unique time personality and personal motivational style, and learn how to keep self-doubt, perfectionism, and workaholism from stealing your writing time. Available at all common book retailers. (Get your free chapter here!)
Colleen is also a novelist and has worked in the creative writing industry for over twenty years. She is the founder of Writing and Wellness. For more information, please see her author website, or follow her on Twitter (@colleen_m_story).
Peter Walker and Nancy Groves, “Daniel Craig: I’d rather slash my wrists than play James Bond again,” The Guardian, October 8, 2015
Hannah Ellis-Peterson, “Daniel Craig confirms he will play James Bond again,” The Guardian, August 16, 2017