Quit Being a Lonely Writer – Live a little
When people ask me “What do you do?” I answer with confidence, mixed with a smidgen of bravado, “I am a writer.” It still gives me a thrill to hear myself say the words out loud. Usually the conversation then goes one of two ways: “Wow, how exciting. What are you writing?” or “You are so lucky. It must be wonderful, how did you get into that?” That is another post for another time. Today I want to tell you a little about my reality as a writer. I promise I’m not looking for sympathy – I am aware of my fortune in being able to spend my time immersed in creativity, but it isn’t quite as simple as watching my own fingers flying over the keyboard with no effort.
When you are writing do you feel lonely? If you do then, like me, you are in good company. Many established writers experience those same feelings of isolation. Even published authors!
Sure I have a wonderful study, recently refurbished; a beautiful writing desk with plenty of pens and my trusty companions, Dictionary and Thesaurus. For me though, that isn’t enough. I find working from home in such a solitary pursuit very difficult. I need the stimulation of being out and about in the world, interacting with others, observing and living life. In some ways this makes me feel more like a ‘proper’ writer. A short while ago I was at an inspiring writers event. Three best-selling authors, Freya North, Jojo Moyes and Lisa Jewell, were on a panel discussing their writing lives. Freya told the story of her move to a new home, where she had converted a barn into her ‘dream’ writing space. Soon after its completion she found it turning into a nightmare! She just couldn’t write there. It was a tough time for her. She was stuck. Thankfully she found a solution. She went ‘out to work’ each day at the local library. The words began to flow again and eventually resulted in a new best-selling novel.
My solution is also to head out, to different local cafés and coffee shops. I write my novel, longhand, in the company of clattering cups and chattering friends. The noises are a background hum. Far from distracting me, they help me settle into the book, wrapped in a warm blanket of comfort, like a Ready-Brek glow, protecting me from feelings of loneliness.
So were the refurbishments and the desk a wasted investment? Of course though I can’t speak for Freya’s Barn conversion, I can tell you my own writing space is a much loved, cosy spot with a purpose. Still integral to my creative process, it is the place where the real hard work happens; editing and polishing my scrawled words, to breathe life into the imaginary places and people conjured up in the company of strangers from the real world.
If you get stuck, like Freya or me why not give it a try? I’d love to hear how you get on.
For more tips on how to beat isolation see my free guide Top Ten Tips to Beat your Writer’s Blues.
© Nikki Halsall 2016