Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Magic World of Being a Writer

This weeks topic, about the seeming lonliness of the writing industry I think is left over from the days without internet. Like JD said in her post yesterday, I have SO many people I talk to on a daily basis from twitter, crit groups, blogs, writing sites, etc it's not even funny. I'm hardly alone by any stretch of the imagination.

So why do people still see writing as a lonely occupation? I think it comes from the idea - or illusion - of a writer, hunched over the type writer or paper furiously putting that story onto the page. Locked inside their office ignoring the world around them. Getting caught up in the story and the characters and forgetting there are real people around them too.

While that vision is still true to a certain point (I do lock myself in my office and I'm sure my husband sees me as all hunched over the keyboard typing away, lost in my own world) but is that really lonely or just a sign of pure dedication?

Then of course there are the non-writer's out there that don't GET it. They still see the writer locked away for days on end - alone - in their offices and lost in the world of make believe. They don't see the other side where we network, meet people, attend conferences, and actually come out of la-la land to talk with real live people. The side where we worry about trends and marketing and promotion. Because that takes away the magic of writing to them. It's a magical, awe inspiring vision of the writer plugging away at the typewriter/computer/paper, because as a non-writer they can't imagine doing it themselves. The energy it must take, the dedication, the imagination. Magic.

But in truth, no, writing is not a lonely occupation. I am always 'surrounded' by other people through blogs, writing sites, workshops, twitter, facebook - the list goes on.

Sure, there are times where I turn all that stuff off (surprising I know), I do lock my husband and son out of the office and I do nothing but write or edit on my own in some semblance of peace. I drift away to the lands of my stories and I'm no longer in my office. (And with all my character there I'm hardly alone either!)

I have never met an actual writer that seriously feels lonely in this industry! Even as a writer though, I still have the vision of the dedicated writer all hold up away from the real world - of course always alone. I never have the vision of the author surrounded by people cheering, offering advice, or just talking about every day silly things. It doesn't fit the image in my head of a writer is.

So is writing a lonely occupation? The magical mysterious side to the non-writer folks - perhaps. But to the actual writers, it's anything but. (Heck, even in la-la land we have plenty of characters to keep up company too!)


  1. Well, it can be kinda quiet at 2.00am and still plugging away at the keyboard! The only time I actually felt lonely was writing my PhD thesis and the book that followed it - no one could understand a word I was saying lol. I have to agree with you though, the world of fiction is not a lonely place at all!! Some great people around here, Anastasia :)

  2. Yes David. It does get quiet at 2 in the morning when my hubby and little man are sleeping. Yea, a PhD thesis would make anyone feel lonely! I remember my Mom writing her Masters thesis - she cried the whole time she tried to write it! There are definitely some great people around here and I'm glad I get to know them!

  3. Man! You and J.D. are killing me! If we all agree on this subject, I'm going to get stuck posting about the weather this Friday! ;)

  4. That's it! Must I now defend the honor and reputation of the Lonely Writer?

  5. Soooo true! I place myself in solitary confinement when I'm writing the first draft. No internet allowed until later in the day. BUT, I don't feel lonely at all. It's great to chat with other writers every day. It allows me to talk about writing without causing my poor husband's eyes to glaze over

  6. Man, I need to smoke what you're smoking. Either that or get a lobotomy.

  7. James - LOL The weather is good I guess, but only if it's sunny and happy - with fluffy bunnies hopping around! :)

    Greg - Yes, yes you do. Represent!

    Julie - Your hubby's eyes glaze over too? I thought mine was the only one! Haha!

    George - I only smoke tobacco and I wouldn't recommend that at all. So I guess lobotomy is your only option. Sorry!

  8. Ana,
    I agree 100%. And without those other writers around me, I personally would not have advanced to
    wel, lik i did on anudder post.
    Seriously, I'm a better writer, still making mistakes, but a better writer, and a tad more confident.