I’m a Leaf on the Wind

So that's where the smell is coming from. The milk is expired.

Here’s a secret: I have no routine. I have no fixed place and no scheduled time. I’m a decent wife. I get up with my husband in the morning, make coffee, feed the furry people, throw together lunch for Mr. Miracle to take to work. At eight, he’s out the door, and my routine for the day ends.

If I have a deadline, I write in short, efficient spurts or long, drawn-out sessions that leave me exhausted. If I don’t have a deadline, I write for a bit, wander around thinking I should do some laundry, get distracted by the mystery of what’s smelling up the fridge, and come back to write some more, leaving the mystery unsolved.

The writing could occur on the sofa, at the kitchen table, up in my office, or at any number of local coffee shops and restaurants.

I do not shower, brush my teeth, or even remember to eat at the same time each day. Those things tend to happen in between other things. I may unconsciously do the pee-pee dance for an hour before I become aware of the need to run, not walk, to the bathroom.

I am oblivious to the world, and I have no fixed pattern. When I have something to write, most everything stops except for the voices.

Once upon a time, I couldn’t write in public. Hell, I couldn’t even write if someone was in the same house with me. Even alone in a closed room, if I thought someone might be listening to my fingers clacking (or worse, not clacking) on the keyboard, I froze. (True story.)

This is why it took me so long to learn how to finish anything.

I’ve grown up. Not only can I write in a crowded restaurant, thanks to the amazing people on this website, I can write with an entire room of other writers sitting right next to me. On both sides. I don’t even care that they can see my screen. This shy little flower is now a big, fat writing exhibitionist.

Come see me write in the middle of the grocery store. I’ll totally do it. Set up a table for me in the middle of the dairy aisle. We’ll call it performance art. Tack up a sign that says “Will Write for Cheese.”

But I digress.

I know I make it sound like I’m all “leaf on the wind” about writing. But seriously, don’t expect me to be functional in the morning – and by morning, I mean before ten, despite having been up for hours.

Don’t ask me to write by hand. I can’t do it. My hand cramps up. I can’t read my writing. I get fidgety in my chair. I think faster than I can write, so I get frustrated. (I type far faster.) Most of all, I hate seeing something so permanent as words on paper. How can I take it back if it’s already written down?

I can’t write without knowing ahead of time where the story is going. I have to have a drink near me. I need my mouse because I hate the touch thingy on my laptop. If there’s music playing it can’t have any words because I’ll get distracted and start singing.

So, no, I’m not as easy going as I’d have you believe. One thing at a time. At least I’m not shy about writing anymore. And I can finish what I start now, so there’s that. The other things, well, I’ll get around to fixing them eventually.

For now, I’ll just be happy if I can figure out what’s going on at the back of the fridge.

Rachel is the author of the urban fantasy Monster Haven series from Carina Press. She believes in magic, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks, and putting things off until stress gets them done faster at the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas.

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