Or that's how it feels.
So, sometimes, when I'm four weeks away from either typing THE END or withstanding a very stern glare from my editor, writing can seem like a chore, or a punishment. More about slamming down the word-count than telling a story.
I'm an only child, and most of the time that's neither here nor there. But every so often I feel my childhood affecting the way I feel. When I'm surrounded by people for more than a few days - and I'm highly gregarious, so this happens often - I find my skin begin to itch. If I had a tail, it would lash with my intense desire to be alone.
Once, during a visit to the zoo (two hours looking at various depressed animals poo and shout while my daughter dozed in her pushchair), I became entranced by a tiger. He was behind a glass wall, giving the impression that I could reach out and touch him. I stood there for far longer than I stood at the penguin pool or the monkey house, watching this incredible creature.
He was enormous, built on a different scale to me. A deep burnt orange, slashed through with black, his fur rippled over his magnificent shoulders as he paced. (Yes, I do know how this sounds - if I'd been a lady tiger he'd have totally pulled.) The pacing was tight, controlled, the tiger's head held low, his huge eyes intent. But on what?
It struck me. Intent on getting away. His pacing was fuelled by the deep need to be elsewhere, to be beyond these walls.
I left him there, feeling oppressively sad that such a handsome, self willed animal should be cooped up and hand-fed, when he had claws built to rip and legs built to bound. But I also left feeling some kinship.
That's how I feel when I'm surrounded by people, I thought. That same coiled energy, the same bone-deep desire to get away. Luckily for me, I'm not kept in a zoo and I can escape when I need to.
And where did I escape from my (don't get me wrong - utterly lovely) guests? To my study! To the one room in the house where the deadline is everywhere. I escaped into my stories, into my characters' heads, into the drama and romance and comedy.
What is your bolt hole?