My voice echoes in the dimness like a shout in the Sydney Opera House. Faded light from the foggy winter landscape outside strains to illuminate my writer’s empty office. I flip a switch. The dim retreats.
Where the bloody hell is she? Since NaNo, she’s been writing every day, especially over the holidays. That is, until this week. I can hear her reasoning now: I took the whole week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day, plus the weekends, and we didn’t go anywhere because COVID. Now I’m back to work, so no, I’m not writing as much as I did the past couple weeks.
If she was here, I’d tell her she needs to write every day whether she’s on vacation or not. Once her vacation was over, her writing dropped off a cliff. Not a cliffhanger cliff, a writing cliff. And now she’s AWOL.
“Julie? Don’t make me send out the dragons.”
Sigh. Her desk is empty. Messy, but empty. The recliners are empty. I check the little fridge. That’s empty, too? The wall-sized white board is not empty, thank goodness. Notes cover the surface in various colors. At least I know she’s planning to come back.
I open the back door of the office. Icy fog coats the naked trees in frost and filters the sunlight into a dull glow.
Bootprints lead from the office into the fog. “Julie!” Damn it.
What? You thought we come and go at our writer’s whim? You think writers have a little bell they ring to call up a muse every time they sit down to write? Ha! We know writers work better when they open themselves to us, not when they sit down and ask us to shove creative energy into them. Although that can work, we usually save that as a backup plan.
In my vast store of experience (and no, I’m not going to tell you how long I’ve been doing this gig), we get the best results when we hang out around our writer all the time. Not that we don’t take a break for a pub crawl or surf outing, but we’re like the cat that shows up wherever you are, too damn tenacious to shake.
A figure appears in the fog, trudging toward me. About fecking time. “Where have you been, love?”
She blows out a cloudy breath. “I have shit to do, and it’s cramping my writing time. And focus. And I haven’t even gotten to the cleaning. I needed to walk.”
“What shit to do?” I ask, challenging her. I know exactly what she’s doing. Procrasinating. Happens every time she goes back to work after a long vacation, even when she works from home.
She narrows her eyes before she rolls them. “You really need me to list the stuff?” She shoves past me into the office. “Which reminds me, I need to make a list.”
“There’s a list on the board, love.”
“A new list. One that includes redoing my website, catching up with blog reading–I’m so freaking far behind, and taxes. Gotta pay sales tax for the three books I sold last year. Sheesh. I’ll be glad when we can do in-person events again. This virtual stuff doesn’t foster that connection between writer and reader.”
“And the novella is on that list, right?” I ask. “Along with the editing of your police procedural and finishing the first draft of the rural mystery?”
She toes her boots loose and flips them off. “Yeah, but first Book 2. And damn it, I can’t fricking focus anymore.” She shuffles to the fridge.
“It’s empty. I checked.”
She sighs. “You know, this year at work we have to use up all our vacation by the end of the year, since we’ll be starting on our new parent company’s self-managed time off scheme next year. I think I’m going to spend some time at that little place with the cabins up toward Lake Mille Lacs. All by myself.”
Another eye roll. “Gawd. You know what I mean. A whole week of nothing but you and me and writing. No TV, no garden, no work, no cleaning, no anything except writing. In the woods.”
“Sounds nice, love. Any pubs nearby?”
She groans. Or growls. I can’t tell. “I’ll be back.” She swings the office door open. “I’m going to get some water. And I need some help coming up with a good short story to submit. Maybe a ghost story. Has to be a mystery.” She leaves.
I think I’ll pop out to hunt down some nice lager. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.
Hey all, sorry I’ve been quiet; been trying to focus on writing and staying away from social media and news as much as possible. News bums me out (although I feel more hopeful now that Jan 20 is closer), and since hubs is a news junkie and has to have the TV on incessantly, I’ve been struggling a bit. On the bright side, weather’s been nice, so I’ve been walking. It’s great! Don’t knock the power of a good walk outside, preferably in the embrace of nature.