Is Writing a Lonely Venture?

Is Writing a Lonely Venture?
Image provided by marie-a-la-framboise
https://www.flickr.com/photos/marie-a-la-framboise/

I read a blog post last week that discussed the isolation associated with the craft of writing. (I can’t remember which blog it was now. If you do, please forward the URL.) The supposition was most writers are introverts at some level. Sitting alone to write page after page isn’t the sort of activity that, supposedly, would appeal to an extrovert on a daily basis.

I’m an introvert myself, so I can understand this line of reasoning. Even family gatherings can be a little too much for me. Two hours of  participation at those events is all I can comfortably handle. After that, all I want to do is collect whatever I brought to the festivities and vamoose. I’m more gratified by spending time reading a good novel or writing.

I’ve had family members try to pull me out of what they call my shell. Apparently they think I live in a vacuum of some sort because I’m not out there whooping it up somewhere. I get the distinct impression some of them think I suffer from a mental affliction that I need help with in some way, all because I gravitate towards physical solitude. They ask why I’m not interesting in what is going on outside of what they think is my personal sphere.

If they only knew. If they could merely comprehend what’s needed to be competent as a writer. If they just understood the difference between physical and mental engaging.

I find such pleasure in the written communications I have with different people while delving into the research and constant education needed for this craft. My time with the outside environment as I contemplate and wrestle with ideas in the realm of writing are filled with the fascinations I see, hear, and feel in the nature around me. The mannerisms and conversations I come across are marvelous. I watch and listen, hopefully with intensity, to gather schemes for stories and learn more about how dialogue and idiosyncrasies are formed.

True, I may be missing out on events due to how much time I spend writing and in the pursuits associated with this endeavor. However, the people who are avid spectators at sporting events (for example) are lacking the enjoyment of expression through written words. Each to their own, as they say.

I don’t think lonely is the right term to explain the environment of the writer. I think maybe solitude better defines the space needed to be an effective wordsmith. Moreover, even though this craft is at its best with solitude, if only within the mind of the scriber, that person may also be reveling in activities that include many other people too. Many writers have a “day job” in addition to their passion of writing. (It’s in quotes because some of those jobs are second or third shift.) This other job may be for monetary purposes, but may also serve as an outlet to be sociable. Writers, including the ones who are introverts, do need a little human contact. This, however, doesn’t mean we’re lonely.

I guess I could be considered one of the scribes who lives a life more in reclusion. Sure, some of the reasons are out of my control, but I love the quiet and am so glad to get back to it after being in the commotion I step into when I walk out my door, whether to do errands or to participate in gatherings.

§

Do you think writing is a lonely profession?

Life can’t ever really defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer’s lover until death — fascinating, cruel, lavish, warm, cold, treacherous, constant. ~Edna Ferber, A Kind of Magic, 1963

 

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18 thoughts on “Is Writing a Lonely Venture?

  1. Glynis, I think it may have been my blog, with my post, N is for Nix the Blahs.
    I like your word choice “solitude.” It does better describe what we writers may feel when writing.
    I’m humbled if it was my article that inspired you to write such a brilliant post. And if it was not, your post remains a brilliant view into a writer’s mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think it was your post for one reason — WP has refused to notify me when you have a new entry. I’ve tried everything from my end to correct the problem including letting WP know that it happening, but so far it’s be a “hit or miss” affair when it concerns me reading your blog. When I received notice of your comment on this post, I went to your blog and read N is for Nix the Blahs.

      Thank you for the positive comment on this post. I had to rewrite the last half of it. What I had before sounded so forlorn, which isn’t the case at all.

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      1. Glynis, thank you for letting me know about this problem. I had no idea but it explains the absence of some of my earlier followers. The reason we write blogs is to be read by those who choose to open our sites. I’ll contact WordPress and ask them to correct this. I so appreciate that you brought this to my attention.

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  2. I so agree with you that solitude is more appropriate a word than lonely to describe a writer’s life. Like you, I am an introvert and would prefer a night to myself rather than hanging out with people. Sometimes a whole day out with friends can be draining on me. I think many of us writers thrive on solitude (and other artists too) as we are entertained by our own imagination and the voices inside our minds – we are creative that way 🙂

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    1. Being an introvert can be challenging at times. It’s gotten easier since the dawn of the internet though. I find I can converse with others without having to leave my quiet abode or have it disrupted..

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Solitude it is, not loneliness. How can you write if you’re engaged with others while trying to concentrate?
    Then again, you aren’t alone when you write. You’re characters are jabbering away, laughing, talking, engaging with you. I wouldn’t give that up for anything. Like you a couple hours of expected social interaction is as much as I can handle at a time. I prefer solitude and the magic of my imaginary friends. 😀 ❤ ❤

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  4. ” After that, all I want to do is collect whatever I brought to the festivities and vamoose.”
    Oh my god, that is so me!!! 🙂 I often analyzed why writers tend to be introvert or in solitude as you say. I guess it’s because we know that in order to write we need a quiet environment, and we come to appreciate these quiet moments and how they help us to create wonderful worlds and characters.

    If I hadn’t had a day job, I would probably be more introvert than ever. And for example, I’m currently pursuing a job that allows me to work from home and be flexible with the schedule. My family, knowing me, is afraid this will only make me more lonely than I already am. It’s as you say, as if being introvert, is something that needs help or fixing. And as you mention, it’s so easy to stay in this internet bubble and let the people around us fade without problems.
    So would I choose to be different? Not at all, if I hadn’t found this space/bubble where I’m in now and where I can write words from my heart, then I wouldn’t feel as happy as I’m know.
    I might be very far from publishing a book, but it doesn’t matter, because I know that I’m working on my goals and doing what I love the most. I wouldn’t change this to be a social butterfly that lingers between social gatherings, not at all. 🙂

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  5. I have a day-job, actually, an almost 40-yr long career. It provides more than enough opportunity for social contact, but even before I was writing, I avoided a lot of those opportunities. I don’t feel comfortable in some of those situations so why go? I like to think I have the advantage of being comfortable by myself 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think writing is a lonely profession, even though we enjoy the environment solitude provides. As much as we write alone, I don’t believe we’re truly alone. There are writing groups we participate in. We may have a critique partner or two to keep us accountable. Even if we didn’t have the physical interaction, there’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few social media sites. And even without those, when we pick up a book on the craft, it’s as if another person is speaking to us.

    So, no, I don’t fully believe writing is a lonely profession. It depends on perspective.

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  7. Thank you for finding my blog and leading me to yours. I enjoyed this post very much. I would describe writers as people who are comfortable being by themselves and who enjoy creating with their words. That said, I am also an introvert, but I would be so even if I weren’t a writer. While married to a man I love and enjoy, I need private time, quiet time, time to myself.

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  8. Freelancing in general requires the tolerance for solitude, which I welcome in spades. I’ve realized over the years though I also need to balance that out with making a point to get out of the house. I’m certainly no social butterfly, but do enjoy getting out and about and going to various writing groups, etc.

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