Deb Dana Likes a Change in Scenery

Beach shot

I spent last week at the beach with my family, in a rental home in Avalon, New Jersey. Whenever I stay in a stranger’s beach house, I wonder about the owners: where they live, how often they use the house themselves, why they would choose white carpet in a beach house…

Of course then my mind wanders to the (entirely theoretical) question of whether I’d want a beach house of my own. Every time that question enters my mind, I always come to the same answer: no.

Aside from not wanting strangers to sleep in my bed or have their babies spit up on my couch (er…what?), what I love about traveling is visiting new places. I don’t want to be tied down to one specific destination and, in the limited amount of time I have to travel, visit only that place, in the same house every time. I’d get bored.*

That’s what I love so much about the writing journey. It’s different every time, and it always takes me to different places. Sure, the general process of writing a book is the same — you write and revise and write and revise and write and revise — but the adventure of writing a book is always full of surprises. Characters behave in unexpected ways, plots take twists and turns, you end up places you never expected. Each book has its own mood, its own high and low points, and the process of telling a story is permeated by a sense of discovery and wonder (and, okay, sometimes frustration).

So while I’ll take consistency and familiarity in the everyday things — my morning cup of coffee, my favorite sheets, my comfortable desk chair — I like a little adventure in my travel and writing.

*That said, if anyone wants to bequeath their tax-free Tuscan estate to me, I’m totally game. 

What about you? Do you like visiting the same places or new ones, or a mix of the two? Is writing an adventure for you, or more of a comfort?


4 Replies to “Deb Dana Likes a Change in Scenery”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. As much as I LOVE the beach, I’d rather discovery new beaches each time, explore new shores, etc. And you’re so right that writing is similar. Each book is a different adventure–not just in how we approach them but in what the story asks of us.

  2. All of this presupposes I understand what this “vacation” thing is….

    I think I like a mixture of the familiar and the new. On the one hand, I love going to places I know and love again and again. On the other, there’s definitely excitement involved in going to new ones, too.

    Fortunately, new books quickly become familiar friends because we edit them so often that the journey soon becomes a lovely, familiar place as well!

  3. This is a toughie, because I crave familiarity, yet I revel in all things new. I do not like to stay anywhere I have to make the bed or cook my food, but I was thinking if I could go away ALONE then a little cottage by the lake (I’m thinking New Buffalo, Michigan, an hour from me, or St. Joe, an hour and forty minutes, not that I’ve looked at rentals or anything, not me) that it would be perfect.

  4. I am totally a ‘go back to the same place over and again’ kind of gal. Funny enough, while you were in Avalon, I was reading about Avalon, and about a group of friends who went there summer after summer. It was Meg Donohue’s All the Summer Girls and I highly recommend it if you want to relive the moments by the beach but pretend you were there without relations, husband or baby. Why you’d want to do that, I wouldn’t presume. 🙂

Comments are closed.