Is Writing a 'Lonely' Endeavor?

  • I hear that a lot, but... For me... I don't feel that way at all. And it's not just because I have about 30 people chatting away inside my head at any given time, but because ever since I started writing with others and sharing my stuff online, I've actually felt less lonely.

    I always had awesome people physically present in my life. And others who've moved away but continued to be a part of my life nonetheless. I wasn't a recluse loner before I discovered online forums, but what I didn't have were people who understood me on a creative level.

    There was no one in my life, and physically speaking there still isn't tbh, who I could share my random ideas and be met with something other than complete confusion. As supportive and interested as my people were, there was a greater need that they were never going to be able to meet.

    And then I joined (or RPG as we call it) and oh boy did that change! Shadows of The Enlightened was this stupid little thing I started on a whim, but it opened up my eyes to the fact there are so many of us out there. Not to mention it was the beginning of what is possibly the biggest project I'll ever be a part of.

    So, yeah, when I'm actually writing; when I'm in the zone, I like to blast my music, lock the world outside the door and immerse myself. One can consider something like that as 'lonely' or as 'isolation', I call it focus. It's just my process.

    Loneliness is not a feeling I have. Not when I'm writing, at least. ^^'

    How about you guys?

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    For me, that feeling of "loneliness" was a byproduct of not being surrounded by individuals who could understand that side of me that obsesses over the prefect way to commit a murder, or hack into a satellite, or craft the ultimate kissing scene --- all in the same story. The digital world removed that loneliness factor as it is so much easier to find people who "get" me.

    I am like you, I hit the zone, the music goes loud, I forget to eat, drink, and breathe.. till my husband taps me and reminds me that there is a world outside my head. But I will admit that there are occasions where that 'lonely' creeps in. If I haven't had a chance to create in 48 hours (this past week has been insane for this because of the surgery), I start to feel like everyone has left me behind and is charging forward to their goals without me. Then I start creating and reconnecting and everything is okay again! :D

    I actually suffer horrific withdrawal symptoms if I don't get my week RP group together, or if I don't have a story idea, or a chapter concept, or put words to digital paper. :D

  • @Josey Ugh, I get sick a lot with allergies and my medication tends to make me insanely groggy. And that gets in the way of me doing any writing; or anything else that involves staying awake. This past year I was also very creatively blocked for other, more personal, reasons... And after a while of not writing anything... I start feeling a bit... Too... Sane. O.<

    It's not a pleasant feeling at all. So yeah, I know what you mean.

  • @Blackbird @Josey I agree with you. This November has been a crazy experience because I got involved with my local region in the online chatroom, and idk, it's been interesting to have people to bounce ideas off of or to complain about something random (coughmytimeline) and have other people that are like, "Yep, same boat." Or that offer advice/encouragement about it.

    It's weird.

    Not writing for X amount of time just makes me feel weird. Like I feel right now. It's like the less often I write, the more the creative juices start to dry up. Plus, I currently don't have a lot of voices talking to me. Tbh, I think they're feeling abandoned. O.o

    I think that's probably why a lot of writers enjoy RPing. It's an easy, fun way to let out creative energy (or try to restart it) with people who have similar interests.

  • Plotist Team: Timeline Master

    @Blackbird I am thrilled that you don't class yourself as a 'lonely' writer, I think that sounds like an extremely healthy way to enjoy writing! Online communities are fantastic for filling niche interests, aren't they? I've definitely found myself doing the same over the years, searching out places on the web where I can connect with people creatively that I can't necessarily do in real life - usually in fandoms which inevitably led to fanfic!

    It's not really the same thing as you're talking about, but I've definitely had lonely periods in my life (once when working a new job in a different country with no support network around me), and I've actually found that I was far more prolific during those times! I think loneliness can be kind of inspiring, not just in terms of giving you more time to write, but in the feelings it inspires and the mood of the writing, as long as you can keep it in check and not sail into depression waters!! But I doubt lonely writing works for very long without causing a lot of damage to your wellbeing, so I'm glad I'm in a better place now... but now I do have more trouble writing than I used to! Maybe I need to go in search of a tiny bit of writer's angst again!

  • Writing was what made me different from everyone else.
    Back then, when I was a kid, I would read only because I wanted to be different and unique, I was the only girl at English class that would raise her hand to participate and share her opinion on the reading the teacher left the day before. Then all my classmates started reading as well, which is good, but from Mary The Girl Who Like To Read, I became once again Mary.
    And then it hit like a car, I could be Mary The Writer, so I started writing. In a beginning I did outstand from others. But as I grew up, I realized I wanted to share with someone what made me myself, I wanted to talk with anyone about what I was coming up with, and I wanted those people to understand. That was when I realized I was kind of... alone. Of course I had friends, but none of them were writers, none of them knew the struggle of being blank, of loving to see a blank piece of paper and feel the need to fill it words, writing for hours and deleting the whole thing because you didn't like the result and then regretting it. They just didn't know.
    It took me a while to meet people who could get me.
    And I'm proud to say I don't feel alone anymore.

  • Plotist Team: Timeline Master

    @MaryMalone I'm glad you feel like you've found your people! And you'll always be in good company here. I understand the enjoyment of being "the bookish girl", I liked that in school also, but I think it's natural to eventually want to surround yourself with people who understand that aspect of your life...

  • Plotist Team: Keepers of Code

    For me it's been strange. Although I consider myself an introvert and a loner, I've never really felt lonely. I've always had friends I could count on and never really got on bad terms with anyone. So I might spend most of my time on my own, but I still have the option to be with others.

    When it comes to writing, I think most people believe it's a solitary profession/hobby because in the end it is. Like @Blackbird said, at the end of the process it's only you and your page. This is also true about many other professions (programming, for example, is all about you and your code), but it is more uncommon to have big collaborative projects in writing unless you are writing for tv, a long running comic series, or something similar. I think that's why writing is perceived as solitary, as much as we talk to others, ask for help, and share, it's not really a team activity.

    There are many exceptions to this, of course. Like I said, tv writers and writers for comics usually work in teams, but people don't think of them as 'writers'. In novels, shared worlds like Star Trek, Star Wars, and many video game based books, as well as novels based in RPG worlds, they all invite team efforts to keep continuity and build storylines and arcs.

    Other than that, I don't think writers usually feel lonely or that they have to be loners. Neruda, Hemingway and many other writers were quite gregarious, and it's very common to name literary movements by the cafes where they started (especially in France and Spain).

  • I think people confuse the writer with the actual act of writing. The act is solitary (except in special cases, as @jaycano says), but the person themself may be the most extroverted person you've ever met.

  • @typical_demigod said in Is Writing a 'Lonely' Endeavor?:

    I think people confuse the writer with the actual act of writing. The act is solitary (except in special cases, as @jaycano says), but the person themself may be the most extroverted person you've ever met.

    This is very much true.

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