Ah, the air smells fresher. Colors are more vibrant. Everything is good with the world and I am happy.
The reason for my good spirits is that I completed my next book, Paying the Piper, and turned it in on deadline. Dorchester has it and they’re happy and we’re holding hands as we walk into the sunset.

I like completing a book, because I can be me again. As the deadline looms, I start to discard extraneous life items like weight from a sinking balloon. Such things as regular meals, entertainment, exercise, and tidying up after myself have gone by the wayside. I’ve put on 10lbs over the last few months. Nothing else matters except for finishing the book. Now that it’s in the bag, I can see what’s been going on in the world. I can read for pleasure, see a movie, walk my dog—and Julie says tidy my damn room. She has a point there. There are over 2000 sheets of paper in various piles stacked haphazardly around my office. This week it’s my intention to clear up the house and weed the garden. Then get back to the home improvement projects I have planned which include a kitchen and two bathrooms.

I’m particularly happy to be able to draw a line under Paying the Piper. The book was on a fast track so I didn’t have a lot of time to write it. To compound the pressure, there was a lot of messy life stuff that got in the way, not to mention having to promote Accidents Waiting to Happen. So hand on heart, the last six months have been a pain. But I’m not complaining. This is what I want to do with my life and I signed on knowing it would be tough. It was just a little tougher this time around. But I did it. Well done me.

I finished the book Sunday and I haven’t thought of anything creative since then—except for my impending tax return which is due at the end of the week. I feel weird not writing anything. Guilty even. It’s not right that there isn’t a keyboard attached to my fingertips. I’m in a vacuum—and I don’t like it. But I have to stay strong. I promised myself a little break and I’m going to have one. I’m a little worried about Julie though. She said, “I don’t have anything to read. What am I going to do?” The withdrawal hit her after a day or two. She’s jonesing for a story. By the end of the week, she’ll be pressing herself up against me and saying, “Got any pages for me, baby? Mamma needs some eye candy.”

“But I don’t have anything,” I’ll say.

“Don’t be like that,” she’ll reply. “Julie knows you’ve got something tucked away. Just a few pages will get me through. A synopsis will do. I know you have a short story tucked away somewhere. You’ve always got a short story. Give it up, baby. Julie will make it worth your while.”

I think Julie has a problem…

I was planning to take a month off, but as usual, it ain’t gonna work out that way. I already have another book project due before the end of the year in addition to my next novel project. So my resolution to be good to myself in 2007 has been put back a year. So my month’s vacation has been reduced to this week—from which I won’t budge. It’s my birthday on Saturday. This week is all about me time. That’s final. Unless something falls into my lap between now and Sunday.

So if you’re reading this, I’m not here. I’ve gone fishin’ with Royston. We could both do with the exercise.

Yours elsewhere,
Simon Wood

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