WRITING LIFE: Riding the Waves by Zina Zeigler

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ideas rush through my mind like waves rushing to the shore carrying treasures waiting to be discovered by a perfect stranger. The ideas are shaped into words; the words strung together to form sentences; sentences build paragraphs until stories are crafted to find their place in the mysterious publishing world. A world that may swallow me whole or toss me around and beat me until I surrender, or learn to ride the waves.

8:00 A.M.: Alarm rings. Music blares through the iPhone speaker. Hit snooze. Ten more minutes of sleep

Pull the blanket up and wiggle back into the warm spot.

Fall asleep. Nine minutes.

Music blares, again.

Hit snooze. Nine minutes. Put phone under the covers.

Get up. Get started. New beginnings.

Sade’s smooth voice blares through the speaker again.

Toss the covers aside, use the bathroom, think:

Option 1: Go back to sleep and write later.

Option 2: Brush my teeth, wash my face and go to my writing room.

Option 3: Make breakfast, eat, write.

I stare in the mirror searching for strength. I run my fingers through my hair. The roots of the mahogany brown strands are white. Light reddish-blonde streaks run through it. Heavy bags hang beneath my eyes. They tell me I need to rest, but there is no rest for the weary: I need to keep pushing. I need to birth these stories. I need to fulfill my purpose: write books to motivate, inspire, and uplift people.

I pull on my yellow writing t-shirt with a picture of a typewriter and tiny birds flying above the keys. “I MAKE stuff up” is written across the bottom of the typewriter. I wear this shirt to invoke the muse’s magic spirit, to form words and images, to craft stories that one day will find a home on shore. I slide on my blue leggings. I glance in the mirror before I leave the bedroom and walk down the hall to my writing room to ride the waves.

I sit at the gray farmhouse style desk and open my laptop. I look at the stack of mail and sticky notes with reminders to call the pharmacy or make appointments for my mother. There are scraps of paper with sentences, bullet notes and paragraphs I wrote while in the doctor’s office, at a red light or in the supermarket parking lot.

At first, I feel like I’m lost at sea alone, trying to make it to shore. Will I survive? Or will I sink under the weight of procrastination and succumb to the evil voices of imposter syndrome? Will I abandon ship when I feel overwhelmed?

I stay anchored until the magic flows from above to create images in my mind and breathe life into words—to birth the stories and books I hope will change the world. Sometimes my mind drifts as the waves rock me until the muse comes to lead me in the right direction. Sometimes the waves submerge me when the words are too heavy. Sometimes I feel like my stories will never land on the shore of Publication Island, but I hold on. I flow to the rhythm of the waves as I build my confidence to submit my work.

I wonder: will I drift close enough to the Island that I receive a “soft rejection letter”? It will say, “We love your work, please consider sending us another piece.” I will accept a soft rejection as a win—for now—while I change my writing routine:

8:30: “A Lovely Day” by Bill Withers wakes me up. Hit snooze. Stretch. Pray and meditate.

8:40: Open the blinds and welcome in the light.

9: Log-in to Zoom and join writer Diane Zinna’s Magic Writing Circle.

I ride the waves and flow to the rhythm of the ocean to create stories about Black Indigenous and People of Color and my ancestors. I will stuff my stories in a bottle, seal it with a cork. I will hold the bottle close to my heart and whisper a prayer. I will kiss my stories goodbye; set them adrift to someday find a home in a literary publication.

Meet the Contributor
Zina Zeigler

Sea Island Writers Retreat 2022 – Mecca Gamble Photography

Zina Zeigler is a veteran living by the ocean in Wilmington, North Carolina, where she loves to walk on the beach. Zina enjoys traveling and spending time with her daughter and two grandsons. Her first published short story is forthcoming in 2024. Zina is writing an autobiographical fiction novel based on her military and life experiences. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University Master of Arts Writing Program. She hopes to leave stories about Black, Indigenous, and People of Color for others to follow.

  15 comments for “WRITING LIFE: Riding the Waves by Zina Zeigler

  1. ” I will kiss my stories goodbye and send them adrift” – How beautiful that last paragraph is . Zina, I loved reading your goals to leave behind something that someone will find…… and yes we POC have to use our voices, share our stories.

  2. It is amazing the content of such a short read. The more I read the more I wanted to read. Anxiously anticipating more from you. Amazing read, Zina!

    • Yes Indeed ,OMG- First I give thanks for this Amazing Lady, She soars,roars, she gets it done. I’m So so Proud of you making big moves, doing big things- I so enjoyed this, and it leaves Me wanting more- That’s when you know!!!!… May God Continue to bless you In ALL you do Zina. One Love❤️ Keep it Coming.

  3. Dear Zina, i loved reading your piece on writing. I look forward to your forthcoming autobiography. I can even hear you reading it and this gives it a greater force in my mind as a reader. Keep it up.

  4. Wow! That was an awesome read! It is amazing how much I can relate to what you wrote. I can hardly wait for your next blessing!

  5. In the short amount of time it took me to read this I was transported to a place of calm and serenity. Your writing is so vivid. I can’t wait for your short story!

    • Zina, I’m so excited for you and cannot wait to read your upcoming work. I am especially excited to read your autobiography about your military journey. Beautiful writing.

  6. Zina! Your writing takes the reader in and allows him/her to feel the undulation of the waves in your mind and movement. Looking forward to reading more of your work!

  7. I like this creative thinking “ways crashing”! I want more!

    Excuse me we’re saying this, You have mother’s snip-it but not grandmother (you’ll get there) creative thoughts becomes reality; say what you mean in the moment.

Share a Comment