The writing life: lonely, but not alone

The Writer's Life: Lonely, but not alone. ('Remi' by Zev @ Flickr.com)

The Writer’s Life: Lonely, but not alone. (‘Remi’ by Zev @ Flickr.com)

I’ve written before about how the writing path can be long one, but I was in touch with a fellow writer recently and the subject of loneliness came up. Specifically, the loneliness that often accompanies writing.

It got me thinking. It made me realise that it has never been a better time to be a writer. Sure, we still have to spend hours alone labouring over our manuscripts, but the concept of a writer being cut off from the rest of the world is as antiquated as this photo of an old typewriter. Here’s why:

  • Social media: I love social media, because it’s all about connecting people. In my time as a writer, most of the writers I’ve met have been online. Some of these have flourished into genuine friendships. At the very minimum, social media is a great place for sharing ideas and writing tips and I’ve learnt an incredible amount in the online and social media environment.
  • Writing organisations: these days we seem to be spoiled for choice when it comes to organisations and groups. I’m a member of the Romance Writers Australia, I have attended courses at the Australian Writers Centre and NSW Writers Centre, and there’s regular conferences if you’re keen to meet up with like-minded writers.
  • Blogging: obviously I’m writing a blog right now, but I like to think it’s not a one way street. I regularly read content on other writer’s blogs and find myself the better for it.
  • Beta-readers: this group get a very special mention here. If not for my fantastic support of my beta-readers, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve written about the importance of beta-readers here and the ideal qualities of a beta-reader here, but in a nutshell: beta-readers are my cheer squad, my reality check and my sounding boards. I couldn’t do it without them! Whenever I feel like I’m alone, all I have to do is call up one of my beta-readers and after a a few minutes of discussing my latest project (yes, they’re genuinely interested!) I feel a sense of relief.
  • Family and friends (the special ones): it’s a sad fact that not all of your family and friends are going to get your writing. That’s ok. The important thing is that you have the treasured one or two who support you. The ones who actually understand how hard you are working towards your writing goals instead of viewing it as some sort of self-indulgence. Hold on to these people. They’re gold!

So next time you’re stuck/frustrated/despondent/overwhelmed (insert any other similarly appropriate angst-like writerly emotion here), give yourself a little shake. You might be the only one who can put those words onto the screen and make your story happen, but if you step back and look around, there’s a village of supporters. Don’t forget about them. They’re the ones who will be there during the tough times and celebrate with you during the good times.

How do you keep loneliness at bay as a writer?

 

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