"" Writer's Wanderings: Tacking

Friday, November 04, 2005


There is nothing more frustrating when you sail a boat than seeing your destination but you can't get there in a straight line. Rarely does the wind cooperate and blow from just the right direction for you to make a bee-line to your destination.

In order to get where you're going, you have to tack. That means you zig-zag back and forth toward your destination. The captain at the helm (usually Bob) yells "Come about!" The crew (usually me) then lets go of the line on the jib sail (the one in front) and the boat is turned to catch the wind from the other side. The line is pulled from the other side and fastened off on the cleat when the sail is in the right position. In the few seconds it takes the sail to cross over the bow of the boat, momentum is lost. But as soon as the wind fills the sail again, the boat pushes forward and get closer to its goal.

Now if you had a power boat, you'd just buzz right to the marina in a straight line. But that's noisy and not nearly as challenging.

This week my writing adventures have seemed a bit like using a sailboat to get where I want to be. I was moving right along and then the wind changed--I got another rejection. Since I am the captain of this ship, I yelled "Come about!" and set the sail to the other side (I sent my proposal out again). There were a few moments where the sail lufted in the breeze--I lost a little momentum but I am still heading for my publishing goal, albeit on a different tack.

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