On the Solitary Writer

After 70 episodes of my serial, I find myself contemplating it—wondering how it got to 70 episodes—and marveling at how great a difference it can make to have readers.

Writing is by nature a very isolated activity. I now wonder how much of that isolation is self-imposed. Why does every writer have to brood over a typewriter in a dark room? I have found in recent months that writing blossoms when warmed by the presence of friends.

It might be a cliche romantic notion, the lonely writer with the quill pen, hidden in a castle tower (or dungeon.) Maybe it’s just me: If I don’t have company to provide encouragement and ideas, I lose my own direction. I question the point of what I am doing. It’s easier to fall into the trap of “no one is going to read what’s on this page, so I have no need to improve anything.”

I have written 70 episodes and that makes almost 2 novels. That would not have happened if not for the writing friends who read each episode as it was published and provided motivation. Before Vella, I did write—but those stories went nowhere, since no one was egging me on. After Vella, everything changed.

Of course, some writers will be the sort to work better in secrecy and privacy. We are all different. But I personally have come to realize that I wouldn’t have made it to 70 episodes if I had stayed in that dark corner with my desk (or laptop.)

Are you a social writer, or do you prefer to keep private and take your time? Have you ever tried doing the opposite of what you’re accustomed to?

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2 thoughts on “On the Solitary Writer

  1. I’m more inclined to be private … I write first and foremost for myself, and that’s a driving motivation that practically forces me to write whether anyone will ever read my stories or not. I think in stories; I have to create them.

    That said, I do have a first reader I often share things with even as I am writing them. But I’ve written without that, and while I love my first reader, it doesn’t make that much of a difference … to when I write, how much I write, or how I write/pursue “perfection.”

  2. Sometimes the goals of other writers are too different – the first group I joined were mostly magazine article writers when I was trying to write my first novel, hoping for tips which just weren’t there. A Round Of Words In 80 Days, which I was part of back in the early 20-teens, stopped being fun after a while (when real life took precedence over writing and much else besides).
    Novels take so much time and effort, versus poetry and short stories. It’s hard enough without having someone else’s ideas thrown at you, even if you dismiss them and carry on as before. That takes time too.
    A friend and fellow writer adapted his writing group to an online “write-in”, where instead of meeting up in a pub or café they all log into a Zoom call and then… write. I’d just find that distracting – and I can find enough distractions online or off!

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