Writers and Being Lonely

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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sierramcconnell
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Writers and Being Lonely

Post by sierramcconnell » April 25th, 2011, 9:35 am

So I come to you with a question.

Do writers get lonely?

I ask this because I just moved on Friday. I am without internet until Tuesday afternoon. Oddly, this hasn't bothered me as much as it should have aside from wanting to check the weather or look up random information. (Actors in movies I was watching or details for the book, although I wasn't writing, I was unpacking, and also the state of my now worse finances that weren't as bad as I thought...)

Anyway, my parents came to see me because I wasn't calling as much as they thought and also because my mom had been fighting the move and hadn't come to see the apartment yet. My mom said, "Don't you get lonely?"

I thought about it. I had been eating next to the window (third floor for the win), with at least one of my dolls (muse in physical form technically) and talking aloud to it about the book and other things (hey, never said I was completely sane).

"I live with forty-five resin roommates. So no. Not really."

Resin roommates that are my book muses. They sit with me, I think of ideas, I talk aloud about book stuff and other things. I cook with them near me and I think about book stuff. I clean and I think about book stuff.

It begs the question...do writers spend so much time with one foot in their other worlds that they don't get lonely? Do they border insanity sometimes, and pretending and imagination to the point that they can cut of the need for social contact?

Or am I just friggin nuts? XD
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Claudie
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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by Claudie » April 25th, 2011, 11:01 am

I do get lonely at times. I find I need to interact with someone -- just chat and get unexpected reactions from others. It helps that I have a fair amount of writerly friends and that I know the neighbourhood well. Five minutes of walk will bring me to the local coffee shop, where everyone knows me by name and is willing to chat. If I was stuck alone for too long, I would get lonely.

I almost never get bored, however. I spent 48 hours at an airport with nothing but pen and paper and didn't become bored. I always have a story to think about, a scene to imagine, a character to create, a world to detail, etc. How could I get bored?

All of this makes me think of children, who can play with dolls and dirt for hours. I wasn't good with that. Had to stop, find my sis and share what I'd just imagined.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by Fenris » April 25th, 2011, 1:33 pm

My characters keep me company.

However, if your question was "do you ever just feel the need to gush to someone else about your story," then the answer is yes. But I find that incredibly frustrating because whenever I do explain to someone one of my unfinished ideas, it invariably falls apart/goes into stasis/becomes very boring to me afterward. It just...deflates. It's one of my writerly paradoxes, I suppose.
sierramcconnell wrote:It begs the question...do writers spend so much time with one foot in their other worlds that they don't get lonely? Do they border insanity sometimes, and pretending and imagination to the point that they can cut of the need for social contact?
Yes, with the exception of cutting off social contact. Every few days or so I must emerge from my cave in order to relieve the stress of editing/rewriting/writer's block, and tend to spend those fleeting moments of freedom with friends. But as for being able to entertain myself in moments of seclusion, yes, I am more than capable of that and sometimes actually prefer it. Again, a little idiosyncrasy of mine I suppose.

In the end, I do get lonely. I have to go let off steam somehow, and I do so by either playing the piano for a while or going out and socializing. Both are great ways to relax and refresh myself so I can get back to the keyboard ready to write, and it's certainly a better way to spend my time than staring at a blank piece of paper for several hours as I attempt to fend off writer's block and get to work already. Some might call it procrastination, I call it a healthy change of pace.
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Moni12
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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by Moni12 » April 25th, 2011, 3:22 pm

I don't think loneliness is a writer thing, I think it's a human thing. Even before I started seriously writing I'd get lonely and as a writer I seldom get lonely, of course, I do panic a lot because I procrastinate on assignments, but that is another human thing.

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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by chvyg80 » April 25th, 2011, 5:17 pm

I don't know how to answer this because I am a lonely person by nature which is why I think I've always turned to writing. With that being said, most people I meet immediately assume I'm a people person, but that's because I have an outgoing personality, but all and all, at the end of the day, I find myself alone with my thoughts. As I get older I learn to keep my opinions to myself so I've notice that it makes me seem aloof. For the most part I am a lonely person, but I think it's the very reason that I write, and not the other way around. I've also been told that I'm an detached person, which I know is true and I'm pretty sure this has something to do with my lonelyness. However, I am happy. It took me 30 years to be happy, but I am. I'm content with the person I am and realize there's nothing wrong with being different, so my being lonely only makes me stronger. Every so often I feel the need to share myself with others and I do that by hosting bbq's and Magarita nights. But those days are very seldom. At the end of the day, I look at myself in the mirror and I'm content with who I am and know that being lonely is just one of those things that happen to those of us who live our lives outside of what everyone else considers to be the norm.
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Wren Emerson
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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by Wren Emerson » April 27th, 2011, 4:13 pm

I have mixed feelings about this question. I spend all day with my bf while we work on our separate creative pursuits (I write, he programs). I can always talk to him whenever the urge hits me.

At the same time though, I've started trying to reach out via social networking since I decided that I'd like to make a living at this writing thing. Most of the time it feels like I'm talking to myself. I have a few followers on Twitter and Facebook and I can see that I get page views on my blog, but nobody seems interested in a sustained back and forth with me. In real life I find it easy to meet new people and make friends so this online isolation is hard to deal with.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I'd like to make more friends who share this interest in writing. Anybody wanna play with me?

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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by Guardian » April 27th, 2011, 5:14 pm

Regardless I used to spend many times alone as I love this way, as I experienced, others with hundreds of friends are much lonelier than me or any other writer.
I don't think loneliness is a writer thing, I think it's a human thing.
In the 21st century it's maybe the best thing. This world and the present civilization is a joke, an illusion, a lie and the only way to see it's true shape is if you live on this way. Personally I rather live this life instead of living in an oversensitive, easily bored, dumb, "I'm soooooooooo busy, I'm soooooooooooooooo important", joke civilization what is surrounding us.
Last edited by Guardian on April 27th, 2011, 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hektorkarl
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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by hektorkarl » April 27th, 2011, 5:27 pm

You're welcome to stop by my blog at any time, Wren.

You might also want to put your blog address in your signature so people can easily find you.

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Wren Emerson
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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by Wren Emerson » April 27th, 2011, 9:53 pm

Thanks for the invitation and advice, hektorkarl. I look forward to getting to know you better.

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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by Sommer Leigh » April 28th, 2011, 9:47 am

No I don't really get lonely. I spend a lot of time talking with people online and my husband is always around though he spends most of his evenings writing lesson plans for his classes while I am writing. We are sometimes in the same room, sometimes in our offices. I like the alone time when I'm working though. I can't imagine having anyone around when I am, too distracting. I often have to kick my husband out of the room when he's bothering me :-)

And Wren - Don't worry too much about not having a lot of people stop by your blog. It looks like you haven't been blogging long, and it takes about 6 months of consistant posting before blogs tend to find any sort of following. Readers like to see that a blogger writes consistantly, writes good content, and has been around long enough that they aren't going to disappear if they get bored blogging in a week before they decide to stick around. Keep doing it as if a million people are reading you every day, and then your audience will come. Also - you're using one of my favorite wordpress themes :-) I love the way it looks. It has a very strong, theatrical look to it that I like.
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hektorkarl
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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by hektorkarl » April 28th, 2011, 9:59 am

Good advice, Sommer.

Justine Musk has a good recent post on her blog about pushing through the temptation to quit (http://www.tribalwriter.com/2011/04/25/ ... f-awesome/).

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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by Cookie » April 28th, 2011, 10:23 am

I don't necessarily get lonely. I have enough things to do at home to keep my mind occupied, but I do crave human interaction sometimes.
It's weird though, because I find that hanging out with people cuts into my creative time. I'll make plans with my friends, or there will be a family get together, and all I can think is "I could be at home right now working on my novel, or finishing that drawing."
It's almost as if I've sunk into that part of my consciousness that holds an unlimited fount of creativity, and don't know how to get back out. And I'm not sure I want to. I kinda like it there. Interesting things happen.

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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by hektorkarl » April 28th, 2011, 10:57 am

Some degree of solitude is necessary for creativity. But it can be hard to balance. I think it's one of those things arrived at mostly through trial and error.

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Wren Emerson
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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by Wren Emerson » April 28th, 2011, 11:10 am

I'm finding balance really hard to maintain right now. It seems like the days of writers being hermits who get to spend their days writing and being eccentric are long gone. Now there's so much pressure to get out there and promote not only your books, but yourself, to the entire internet. I spend more time looking at message boards and blogs than I do writing most days. Clearly, I can't keep this up and have a successful career. But it really seems like every article about the industry or the craft is relevant and deserves my attention. And let's not forget forging connections via Twitter, Facebook, and the 5 or 6 forums I stalk.

If it were business only, it wouldn't be so bad, but I'm truly fascinated by the things I'm reading. I enjoy when I make meaningful contact with people via social networking. I'm a social creature by nature and the actual writing is such a solitary pursuit. It's a lot easier to give in to the temptations of the internet than it is to force myself to sit down and do edits right now. I'm tempted to ask for tips, but I think they all come down to having some self control. I'm seriously considering running my life according to timers and shutting off access to the internet during work hours.

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Re: Writers and Being Lonely

Post by sierramcconnell » April 28th, 2011, 11:34 am

It's a precarious balance because you have to have people to beta with, but then again, you don't want to deal with people in the first place. I think that's why I like doing NaNo so much, but then again I'm glad it's only a month. Because having to be around so many people all the time I might explode.

I can be social when I need to be, if there's no personal connection there, but if I have to make a personal connection for longer than five minutes, I get sick. (Physically, yes. It's a social phobia thing due to past traumas of losing people.) So it makes it especially difficult to make friends, even acquaintances in the world because I'm automatically assuming you're either wanting something, going to leave, or going to be killed\taken from me.

Even if you're just a shopkeeper. Because I've had all my favorite safe places taken away. So it makes it triple hard to get out and pound the pavement, do the blog thing, Twitter, and be nice to random people. Because...

...what if they're nice back?

Rejection? Hell, I can take that. Hell, I want that. You're safe then! You want to be my friend?

God be with you.

But yeah, I need to start my blog eventually. I just don't know what to talk about. Apartment dwelling with 45 resin children, now that I'm free of the evil oppression? That would be interesting now that I'm sure they've started moving things. O_O
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The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

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