Writing from the Wrong Side of the Tracks

I work from home. Home for me was once just across the railroad tracks from the beach. Now it’s even closer, a half block away, and I can still hear the trains from not too far away—they run along Highway 1 just to the east of me. I love living near beaches and train tracks. I love the sounds of it—the low moan of the train, its warning whistle, and the crash of the waves. On a day like today, all of this magic happening outside can pose a big problem for a work-from-home writer and paralegal who is up against, oh, about five different deadlines.

It’s a beautiful day on California’s Central California. The sun is out. It’s not at all foggy this morning, and we’re expecting a high of 84 degrees later in the day. A gentle ocean breeze is wafting through my window. It’s cool, but not too cool—just right, actually. And it’s very quiet out, unusually so. All I can hear are the seagulls flying overhead, other assorted birds outside my window, and the sound of the waves hitting the shore.

I do take walks every day, but sometimes I have to fight the urge to ditch my computer and spend the entire day at the beach. If I think about it hard enough, I could eventually convince myself that it’s the right thing to do, not just for me, but for my work. Won’t I do a much better job tomorrow, after a day of fresh air and sunshine?

It’s hard to strike that balance sometimes. But I’m a pretty disciplined person, and I’m good about delaying gratification. If I dwell on it, I could find myself on the wrong side of the railroad tracks. But better, I’ll set my kitchen timer for an hour, get as much work done as I can, and then take a well-deserved walk on the beach.