Writing and solitude

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I’ve been fighting it for ages – this whole commitment to writing thing. Up until recently I was merely dabbling in it, sitting on the fence if you like, and the reason why has only just become obvious to me; namely that by taking my writing seriously I would in effect be signing up to a life of solitude and that scared the hell out of me.

It’s weird really as I’ve always been a quiet introvert at heart, yet many people who know me probably don’t realise that. Quiet maybe; introvert, definitely not. This is mainly because I’ve spent the vast majority of my life doing extroverted type things. I’ve travelled extensively and have lived in five different countries. I’ve had numerous hobbies and adventures and am lucky enough to have a wide circle of friends. However, whereas I’d not too long ago be out most nights, what I actually prefer to do now is relax on my sofa with my kitten and write. I don’t want to go out when I could be working on my craft and as a result, I’m starting to see the benefits.

I feel immensely satisfied when I produce something of worth. Of course it doesn’t always happen but it’s becoming more common than it once was and that I believe, is down to the time I spend writing in solitude.  I don’t want to become a reclusive hermit but I can also see the necessity of spending time alone in order to achieve. Although it’s terrified me in the past, I believe I’m ready for it now. I don’t think I’ll be happy unless I pursue my dream of becoming a successful writer and spending time alone is essential for  that.

I was once almost ashamed to admit I was an introvert who often much preferred staying in alone than going out with friends as it seemed a very uncool thing to do, but I feel different now. Is that to do with age or is it more to do with knowing yourself better (and consequently what makes you happy)? It could be that the two go hand in hand.

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13 thoughts on “Writing and solitude

  1. I used to struggle with this feeling a lot. But one day, I just told myself that it was what I liked. And doing what I liked made me way cooler than doing something to fit in 😉

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  2. There’s a fine line between being introverted and extroverted. And you make a good point about the necessity of solitude if we’re going to produce anything of quality. When I am writing seriously, I HAVE to be shut away and force myself to forget about all those other things I could be doing (TV, reading, wasting time, etc.). I don’t consider myself an introvert, although I tend to be more comfortable leading an introverted life. Does that make sense? Anyway, I like your post. 🙂

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  3. Thanks very much, Mark. I think I’m similar really and I’m more relaxed now that I’m actually being true to myself and doing what feels right. I guess the only thing that worries me a bit is that I live alone so can see myself becoming a bit of a hermit which probably isn’t good!

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  4. Glad I stumbled across this 🙂 I always loved company and conversation. They are still a source of a lot of my writing and writing gives me so much joy. But I also find I need to be in solitude as a discipline to be able to write more often. So still trying to find a balance …

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  5. I can relate to this so much. I’ve always been an all or nothing, feast or famine type of person. I think I must have an addictive personality, so it means I constantly flip from one end of the spectrum to the other. In the past I was always worried I’d be missing something if I wasn’t involved in everything. This meant writing came in intense binges, followed by months of zero productivity.

    I think age plays a part, it mellows you, and makes you realise not being in the centre of everything doesn’t mean you’re missing out. Most of the time it’s a rehash of a former experience. Where I used to feel uncomfortable staying in (just in case the best night ever was about to occur), I now feel awkward if I’ve not produced a decent amount of words within a day.

    Obviously it’s important to find a balance but soaking up the joys of solitude should put us on the right path.

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    1. ‘I think age plays a part, it mellows you, and makes you realise not being in the centre of everything doesn’t mean you’re missing out. Most of the time it’s a rehash of a former experience.’ Very well put.. I feel exactly like that. I have a strange character I think as I’m either an outgoing introvert or a quiet extrovert – haven’t figured out which but I always love going out when I do, but adore staying in nowadays & you’re right re solitude – it’s essential if you want to commit to writing.

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  6. I like this piece, even though I don’t agree with Mr Chopra’s definition at the top.
    I do agree that being comfortable with solitariness is necessary for a writer.
    We live so much of our lives inside our own heads, but that in no way precludes us from being extrovert in company.
    It is good that you are discovering yourself along the way.

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    1. Thanks, ceayr. As I said, I’ve been resisting solitude even though it’s something I relish, probably because I live alone and need to see people. I do struggle to find a balance..

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      1. We are all different, and need to find our own life balance, definitely.
        Living alone, as we both do, has its own rewards and difficulties.
        But, unlike me, you have time on your side.
        I wish you luck.

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