A helium balloon

There is a mild panic that grips the waking moments of an author in between writing books. I suspect it has something to do with living outside of a long-fought-for habit. Writing is largely a self-driven occupation, and an author spends months writing day after day to train the subconscious to perform. It feels wasteful suddenly not to be writing a book, as if the subconscious is a helium balloon held precariously between forefinger and thumb. It constantly pulls at the fingers, trying to evade any grip and catch a ride on the wind, never to be grasped again.

But five books deep into the matter, I know that this feeling is just a feeling. Writing another book is simply a matter of work — of stacking word upon word, hour upon hour, day upon day — until an entirely new balloon is inflated.