What happens when I’m stuck: writing and dick jokes

“So you’re writing for the sake of writing?”

Wydrin leant over the table, pushing the point of her dagger into the swirly centre of a knothole. The writer shrugged.

“It’s just to keep my head in the book. If I don’t do a little bit every day, it gets harder and harder to get back into the flow of things.”

“But what you’re writing right now,” Wydrin nodded towards the fat leather bound volume that sat on the table between them, “doesn’t advance the story in any way. This is just you pissing about, isn’t it?”

The writer shrugged, and then realised that she’d already shrugged once in this section and turned it smoothly into a slight tip of the head. “I prefer to call it practise rather than pissing about.”

“It’s the same as training,” added Sebastian. “You use your sword every day and you get used to the weight of it in your hand. Fighting becomes easier.”

“Yes, I’ve heard about you using your sword every day.” Wydrin grinned, triumphant that she’d been able to get a dick joke in so easily. “Famous for it. Sir Sebastian Carverson, they say, you know he barely leaves his sword alone! Must be rusty with use. Surprised it doesn’t just drop off.”

“On the contrary, I oil it carefully every day.” Sebastian patted his sword belt fondly. “You have to take care of your weapon.”

“Ye gods, you two.” The writer sat back, shaking her head. “Frith? You have an opinion on this?”

“On oiling swords?”

“Frith.”

The young lord cleared his throat. “It seems to me that by writing for the sake of writing you are in fact, procrastinating. None of this is helping your cause. Currently, in the book you’re supposed to be writing none of us are even in the same room, let alone in a tavern called the Preening Fox.”

“Preening Fox?” Wydrin put her pint down. “I thought this was the Bloody Cock?”

“Please, don’t,” Sebastian waved a hand at the writer. “You’re just giving her an excuse to reel off ridiculous tavern names.”

“The point is,” continued Frith. “These words you are writing now will eventually be lost, thrown in a pile somewhere, and meanwhile we’re languishing in whatever terrible fate you have concocted. Usually with grievous wounds you’ve forgotten about.”

“Exactly,” said Wydrin. “Essentially, you’re doing a bunch of work right now for no profit. That’s no life for a mercenary.”

“Are you saying that writers are mercenary?” asked the writer. There was ink on her fingers so she wiped it on her trousers. “We’re not subject to the copper promise ourselves, you know.”

“Are you even paying for these drinks?” Wydrin nodded towards the half-finished bottle of mead placed precariously close to the writer’s book.

“Well, not really…” The writer cleared her throat. “You can’t say I don’t keep you in continual booze. Hardly a scene goes by without something alcoholic in a flask appearing. Look, if you lot were behaving yourselves then the words would just be flying by, and various terrible things would be happening, and you’d all be making heroic choices, I’ve no doubt. But this evening I only have half an hour to write, and everything you’re doing at the moment is so bloody… complex.” The writer took a deep breath. “Sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and talk to you all. And for some reason when we do this, it’s always in a tavern.”

“The Windy Miller,” said Wydrin. “I think that’s what it was called. Or the Truculent Sheep.”

“And so tonight when I get home, I can think to myself, well I didn’t get a huge amount done today, but I spent some time with my head in the world of the book, and there’s only a finite amount of that time left now.”

“We’ve been together a long time,” said Sebastian. For a moment the tavern grew quiet, as side characters who hadn’t quite made it into this section faded briefly from existence. There was the crackle of the fire, the smell of stale beer, and the company of old friends. “What will you do, when you’ve finished playing with us?”

“Hooray!” cried Wydrin. “And we’re back with the dick jokes.”