Writing From Loneliness

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AnimaDictio
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Writing From Loneliness

Post by AnimaDictio » August 2nd, 2012, 9:40 pm

I was reflecting on my life today and it occurred to me that I began writing out of loneliness. I felt so different from everyone around me. No one seemed to understand what I was talking about. So I wrote my thoughts down, which developed into poetry, stories, songs, etc. I was maybe 9 or 10 years old.

Is that typical or am I unique in this?

Now, I avoid crowds and group activities. I'm an introvert. Not shy in the least, but I'm at my best when in solitude. Like Thoreau in the woods or Moses on the mountainside.

Are you guys generally sociable? Extroverted or Introverted?

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dios4vida
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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by dios4vida » August 2nd, 2012, 10:00 pm

I'm a major introvert. Most people won't believe me when I say that, because when I'm around lots of people and I get nervous I talk. A lot. It makes me seem outgoing when in reality I'm just hoping I won't be forgotten or labeled the weird Space Cadet Kid in the corner (and yes, I was called that when I was a kid - by my family sometimes, no less). After a few hours of that, though, I'm completely exhausted and I will gladly skip out of the drinks or clubs or other goings-on just to retreat and get some rest and be quiet and alone.

I didn't start writing out of loneliness, per se, but more from a feeling that the written word and fantasy lands I create were the only way to truly communicate with the world. Growing up, even a lot of times now, people have a hard time relating to me. They say I'm nice and brave and I smile a lot but I don't feel like anyone really knows me, other than my husband and some of my closest friends. Geeky tees and brightly colored Converse only go so far for self-expression. When I'm writing, the magics and creatures I create and the struggles of my characters - those show the world who I am far better than anything I can say ever will.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by LurkingVirologist » August 3rd, 2012, 2:02 am

I'd say I'm more introspective than introverted, though I can very much identify with being young and feeling disconnected from the people around me (that's a whole other story). I have a good sized group of close friends that I get along with really well, but I do need more alone time than most people. A lot of the stuff I wrote as a kid definitely fell into the 'writing as free therapy' category. Thank goodness that was before the internet really got going :oops: . So that was a long way of saying "yep, I'm guessing a lot of us were that way." Moving on...

I went to a lecture by Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried) many years ago, and during his talk he expounded on the notion that sometimes fiction does a better job of conveying emotional experiences than an accurate description of reality can. As he put it (and this is a terribly mangled paraphrase) sometimes lying is the best way to tell the truth. That idea has really stuck with me. I don't write with the intent of being "understood," or as a sort of personal polemic, but I do end up encapsulating little bits of my emotional experiences in certain scenes or characters that I create. At the expense of waxing philosophical, it's another side of 'write what you know.' I can't infuse an emotion into a story if I haven't experienced it. Getting back to O'Brien's lecture, it's not that I need to experience the details of a particular situation to write the scene, but rather, I need to have experienced the underlying emotions for it to be believable. So in a sense, I don't think a writer can avoid tapping sometimes difficult and sometimes private emotional veins in order to write characters that are experiencing those same emotions, regardless of the (fictional) context. Without at least a grain of personal truth, I think it would be almost impossible to create a sense of emotional authenticity.

An adorkable emcee friend of mine put it brilliantly. She said (in regard to writing lyrics, or raps in her case): Yeah, I pretty much sit in the closet and talk to myself all day. I'm pretty popular.
"Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic." -Carl Sagan

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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by writersink » August 3rd, 2012, 5:15 am

I'm an introvert, which would surprise many people (I guess I'm a little like Brenda.) I seem fine around groups of people, but I don't tend to talk a lot, and if I do, and I feel there's too much attention on me, I start stuttering like crazy. After a while of being in a group I get tired and just have to be on my own, so I tend to skip the after party, so to speak. I do tend to avoid/ make excuses as to why I can't go out a lot, simply because I prefer being by myself.

My reasons for writing have changed over time. I think I started writing because I wanted to be like the people I read. When I started writing the book I'm on now, I did it out of loneliness, and that followed me right until a couple of months ago. Being an introvert means I'm not "popular" and it's only now I feel like I'm confident in myself. Always, though, I think my main reason for writing is the need to be in complete control over something, and to be the one who builds the worlds and decides what people say, and put my characters through tough times where I know the exact outcome, even if it isn't a nice one.
I didn't start writing out of loneliness, per se, but more from a feeling that the written word and fantasy lands I create were the only way to truly communicate with the world. Growing up, even a lot of times now, people have a hard time relating to me. They say I'm nice and brave and I smile a lot but I don't feel like anyone really knows me, other than my husband and some of my closest friends. Geeky tees and brightly colored Converse only go so far for self-expression. When I'm writing, the magics and creatures I create and the struggles of my characters - those show the world who I am far better than anything I can say ever will.
I can relate to that completely.

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Hillsy
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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by Hillsy » August 3rd, 2012, 5:32 am

Taking Introversion/extroversion as whether you take energy from social interactions or they tire you out, and shyness as the confidence in dealing with people when you meet them: I'm a shy extrovert.

It's a bit like being hungry, living next to a plaza of reseraunts, but having a 10 pound limit on your credit card. You want food, you crave food, but you can wander the plaza as much as you like and you just don't have the means to get in. Instead you go to the same old truckstop where you can run up your tab, like you do every week, and order the cheese and bacon omlette like you always do. It's not new or exciting, it's not what you want or need, but it gets you through til next week when you're hungry again.

Writing wise - like most things it's because of boredom. I have ADHD so I'll do anything to kill 5 minutes in the hope it'll turn into 5 hours. As I don't really do tv I rely on writing, music, computer games, tabletop RPGs, sport - anything really. I guess because I'm not out all the time because I'm quite shy I've had to turn to more solitary pursuits to fight off the horrors of boredom - and to be fair writing is pretty damn good. It combines the creativity of writing music with the narrative of games and the rule-building of TT RPGs....The only problem is that writing and being a shy extrovert is a really inefficient mix.

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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by Sommer Leigh » August 3rd, 2012, 9:46 am

I'm an extrovert and rarely shy. I've always been the one who herds people together for activities and events and group outings, and I am happiest when I'm surrounded by people I adore or new people I can't wait to get to know. I'm rarely at a loss for words - a Leo trait, for sure. I get bored easily.

I started writing when I was very very young, so my motivation came from an overactive imagination and a desire to always be in the limelight. I was an only child who didn't live near other kids, so I spent a lot of time by myself making things up. After I made things up, I would present them to anyone who would listen. My earliest "writings" were me dictating stories to my grandfather who would write them down for me. Then I'd perform them for family, neighbors, strangers... When I was in high school and I was churning out 100+ pages typed stories, they ended up getting passed around my school by friends who would give them to their friends. Sometimes teachers would end up with a copy. Writing has never been a private thing for me.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
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AnimaDictio
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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by AnimaDictio » August 3rd, 2012, 11:09 am

Sommer, that sounds like a wonderful childhood. At first, I imagined that a lot of modern writers were like you -- performers at heart. I see so many writers hustling, selling, promoting like musicians that I figured the day of the lonesome writer was done. But after reading some of these other posts, I realize, not so much.

Hillsy, I'm glad you made the distinction between introversion and shyness. That's exactly what I was getting at. People too often confuse one for the other. I'm a lawyer by profession and so I speak professionally. It comes easily. I'm also a (musician/singer/preacher/poet) in the church world so, again, I'm perfectly at ease around people, in front of people, etc. But I never crave it. I don't look forward to being the center of attention. I very much look forward to being alone with my thoughts, considering, writing, exploring.

And I think that was the tendency that made people see me as weird. Like LurkingVirologist said, introspection. It leads you to far-off conclusions that others perhaps haven't considered. So when you talk, they look at you and marvel or they look at you like you're a freak (which is what happened to me as a kid.)

Brenda, I was so odd that my dad called me, "the Thumb." There were five in our family. But he also said to me, "your way of thinking is so different, I suspect it's going to make you a lot of money one day, or you're going to start a revolution or something."

Anyway, I think it's helpful (if not essential) to good writing ... that ability to disconnect, consider, explore one's opinions thoroughly. How else does one infuse a scene with emotion if he or she doesn't fully grasp that emotion as they've experienced it?

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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by dios4vida » August 3rd, 2012, 11:20 am

AnimaDictio wrote:Brenda, I was so odd that my dad called me, "the Thumb." There were five in our family. But he also said to me, "your way of thinking is so different, I suspect it's going to make you a lot of money one day, or you're going to start a revolution or something."

Anyway, I think it's helpful (if not essential) to good writing ... that ability to disconnect, consider, explore one's opinions thoroughly. How else does one infuse a scene with emotion if he or she doesn't fully grasp that emotion as they've experienced it?
Oh, that sounds familiar. When I was younger I had a reputation for being slow of mind and a bit dense because of how often I'd sit back and just watch the people around me or daydream. For many years only my Mum knew that it wasn't because I was stupid, but because I was observing and imagining and creating. She always told me that would come in useful, and I have to admit it often has. (And having a reputation for being none too bright, especially when your older sister has an almost-genius level intelligence, sure did take a lot of pressure off me to overachieve.)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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AnimaDictio
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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by AnimaDictio » August 3rd, 2012, 11:28 am

dios4vida wrote: (And having a reputation for being none too bright, especially when your older sister has an almost-genius level intelligence, sure did take a lot of pressure off me to overachieve.)
I too was the underachiever in my family! My little brother got a college education and a family and a successful business. And I did none of those things.

I was a bum (nightclub musician/web designer with dreadlocks).

But now that I'm a respectable attorney with a wife (and a kid on the way) and a decent haircut, they love me to pieces. :) Of course, they still don't understand why I continue to insist on playing make believe with creatures of fantasy. *shrug* can't win them all ...

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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by dios4vida » August 3rd, 2012, 11:53 am

AnimaDictio wrote:
dios4vida wrote: (And having a reputation for being none too bright, especially when your older sister has an almost-genius level intelligence, sure did take a lot of pressure off me to overachieve.)
I too was the underachiever in my family! My little brother got a college education and a family and a successful business. And I did none of those things.

I was a bum (nightclub musician/web designer with dreadlocks).
Dude, Anima, you and I would get along great in real life. :) My sister married her high school sweetheart at 20, has three kids, has her bachelor's in Molecular and Cellular Biology, a master's in Applied Biosciences, working on her PhD in Pharmaceutical Economics, Outcomes, and Procedures (yeah, I don't know what that is, either) and is the assistant director of the University of Arizona's Human Subjects Protection Program. Did I mention she's 31?

Meanwhile, I dropped out of college (twice), finally met and married a great guy but can't and won't have kids, and spend all my time playing make-believe in my head. My husband and I are hardcore, unrepentant gamers. Some of my close family understands us, but the rest kinda look at me and Brian and shake their heads sadly and say "well, at least they found each other."

And you know what? I couldn't be happier. :D
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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AnimaDictio
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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by AnimaDictio » August 3rd, 2012, 12:05 pm

Awesome!

We sure would. You had me at the Brandon Sanderson sig line.

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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by Beethovenfan » August 3rd, 2012, 12:49 pm

I'm reading everyone's posts on this thread and thinking, "Gee, I'm such a fraud. A fake! I'm not REALLY a writer, I'm just pretending to be."
It seems to me that beginning one's writing at a young age is a pre-requisite, and I don't have it. I didn't begin to seriously write until well into adulthood. I didn't write little snippets of this and that when I was a kid. I was always outside building forts and playing cowboys and aliens with my brothers. (We did the cowboys and Indians kind too, but we were pretty creative a lot of the time, mixing things up.) In fact, school stuff was a bit of drag for me growing up. I'd much prefer playing outside.

But as for WHY I write... I guess I'm a lot like Hillsy. Boredom. And having an imagination that won't stop working. There are stories in this 'ol noggin that just want out!
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by guichizango » August 3rd, 2012, 2:02 pm

writersink wrote:I think my main reason for writing is the need to be in complete control over something, and to be the one who builds the worlds and decides what people say, and put my characters through tough times where I know the exact outcome, even if it isn't a nice one.
I think that's the reason that I write. When I'm going through something that I just can't control and when I'm stressed and pushed beyond my own measure, I can go in someone else's life and make theirs even worse. I've found that a lot of times, I focus much more on my writing when I'm stressed. Then I can go in my character's life and burn down their house... or something else just as awful, and then I come out of it and I say, 'Well, at least my life isn't that bad.' I guess it could be considered therapy. Plus, even when my characters go through so much, I can decide the outcome, which gives me hope that maybe I can make it through whatever's going on in my life.

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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by Sommer Leigh » August 3rd, 2012, 2:04 pm

Beethovenfan wrote:I'm reading everyone's posts on this thread and thinking, "Gee, I'm such a fraud. A fake! I'm not REALLY a writer, I'm just pretending to be."
It seems to me that beginning one's writing at a young age is a pre-requisite, and I don't have it.
I think there is only one requisite to calling yourself a writer and it has a caveat.

You must write. There are no other qualifiers.

The caveat is that you must also finish what you write. Otherwise you are a writing hamster, running in circles, and while it may be great fun, you will get no where fast.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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dios4vida
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Re: Writing From Loneliness

Post by dios4vida » August 3rd, 2012, 2:07 pm

Sommer Leigh wrote:
Beethovenfan wrote:I'm reading everyone's posts on this thread and thinking, "Gee, I'm such a fraud. A fake! I'm not REALLY a writer, I'm just pretending to be."
It seems to me that beginning one's writing at a young age is a pre-requisite, and I don't have it.
I think there is only one requisite to calling yourself a writer and it has a caveat.

You must write. There are no other qualifiers.

The caveat is that you must also finish what you write. Otherwise you are a writing hamster, running in circles, and while it may be great fun, you will get no where fast.
Here, here!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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