This morning the sea gleamed like rubbed glass. I walked on the beach, and the air was so clear after yesterday's rain that I could see the gullies and the treeline on Great Barrier Island, miles away. There was a lovely old timber ketch moored in the bay, its crew taking tea and toast on deck in the sun. I'm not sure what made me most jealous - the cup of tea or the ketch.
I didn't walk yesterday. I vanished into a writing vortex and didn't realise until 5.30pm that I hadn't yet cleaned my teeth or had a shower. I seem to have eaten lunch, as there was evidence, but I have no recollection of it at all. I must have listened to Missy Higgins over and over on the headphones, because it's the only CD on my desk, or maybe she finished and I didn't notice and sat with my headphones on for no reason all day. Some days it's like that.
Other days I'm easily distracted by blogs or books or the History Channel or doing a load of washing, or I start researching something specific and end up somewhere completely different (not always a bad thing). If I force myself to write on distracted days the work is less good than the vortex days. But I still have to do it. It just takes more revision later.
Some people sit down at a certain time and write a certain number of words, or have to use a certain colour notepaper and grade of pencil, or write for fixed hours. I have to have the dishes washed and the house straightened before I start (even if I am dishevelled myself). I have to make myself work for at least the same number of hours as I do when I do my paid job, or I know I'll fall apart and act like I'm on holidays.
But now there's a tui in the flax outside my window, and the rooster's practising his crow (he's not very good at it) in the back yard.
So it's hard to believe it's work, sometimes, when the sun's out and I can walk on the beach at low tide, wear my pyjamas all day, and just write.