It's curious being alone in another country. You find you have surprisingly little distraction available to you. The television is full of barely comprehensible programs in a language you cannot parse. Those you know back home are now several timezones offset from yourself. You may even be terrified to step outside of the hotel for fear of being seen as strange, or worse, that you may become lost completely with no one to help you. I had one goal today: sleep until the reading from the clock matched my internal sense of time. I've only been partially successful as it feels to be 8pm rather than the 11 displayed on my laptop screen. This apparent laziness is actually sound business sense; a well rested consultant is a productive one, productive consultants result in happier clients. Give a little, get back a lot. Granted that I don't encounter a bout of insomnia later this evening, I feel I would be ready for work tomorrow morning. That may be delayed, of course, by the arrival of my coworker just before noon tomorrow. Now I have to decide if I am going to go in myself, or wait. If I go in myself, I'm unsure of how useful I'll be. Not knowing the language, as well as not being on the assignment for months may make me more cumbersome to the client rather than useful. Meanwhile, I cannot seem to put the thought out of my mind that I should be doing something while waiting. Should I write? Draw? Bury myself in my hasty study of the German language? The latter seems the most accessible right now. Even if I manage to memorize one or two words, I'd make progress. What of writing or drawing? I've been thinking about my skill as a writer and artist, and how that relates to the projects I want to attempt. Am I really at a skill level where I can attempt to tell these stories, and have them turn out the way I want? When I was younger, I thought I had a lot of skill and talent, today however, I see so many faults and inexperience in my previous efforts. My disdain of even basic grammar, the poor proportions, and the stilted dialog. As I began to realize how much I had to learn, I became more and more hesitant to produce anything subject to such criticism. My hectic work and private life provided ample excuse. In that time, I've tried to make myself into a better writer. I've taken to reading not just for the sheer pleasure of it, but as an opportunity to improve my skills. Many a professional will say that a good writer must be a voracious reader first. While I've taken that advice to heart, I've been less successful at taking the second piece of advice most often given by professionals. You must write a lot. My output the last year has been practically nonexistent. I could chide myself for this, but there doesn't seem to be a point. Further to the point I needed to set my own writing aside for a while so as to gain a more mature perspective. With that in mind, I now need to make the effort to write more often. The hardest part is overcoming the unpleasant sensation of disuse. Like a rusty wheel, the words refuse to spin upon the axle smoothly, and only do so under protest with loud squeaking.