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