I ran into a novelist I hadn't seen in almost two years. He apologized for not being around. He dropped out of society trying to write his book. He is venturing out into the world again, making social events and such. I laughed because many writer friends--especially those working on book length projects--seem to drop out for months, years at a time. Suddenly, they're around again, making readings, showing up on panels, feeling bad for not showing up. I don't mind. Only other writers know the importance of going away for long periods of time. Coming out of seclusion, breathing fresh air is a wonderful thing.
My response to anyone who leaves for literary reasons, then returns: "Welcome back. We've missed you."