A Lonely Trade?

I have read numerous accounts by writers about how “lonely” writing can feel. You are sitting there before the PC, alone with the page, alone with your thoughts. The lack of an out of home workplace, and the stimulation of colleagues – including annoying ones – leaves you feeling isolated.

But I can say that, over the last year, I have almost never felt that way. Having previously worked in education, and then as a consultant, I have been used to working on my own and sometimes at home. While writing fiction is new to me, my new routine is not much different from previous ones.


A long-published writer relation of mine years ago told me he even found it difficult to avoid being bothered during the day. The assumption was that, being home, he must be “available.” He reached the point where he would rarely answer the phone (his answering machine always picked up), and never answered his door. “If I was in an office somewhere,” he said, “I wouldn’t be home to answer the door. When I’m working, I’m not here.”

He would write early in the day, and then head out to the gym or meet friends, and then return home to write more in the afternoon. It worked for him. That was also then pre-social media.

Being distracted vs. being “isolated” are two different issues. First, you need discipline and determination NOT to be distracted. As for “isolation,” seek out some daily companionship.

In our social media world, I find Twitter also helps me break down any feelings of isolation. It serves almost as the proverbial “water cooler.” Having Twitter open during the day – in fact, anytime, as it is 24 hours – while writing, often provided me a few minutes here and there to recharge.


  1. I totally agree. Determination, discipline and dedication are musts for the full-time author. However, it is a profession I love, so if I need a change away from the home then I take my net-book or lap top to the library or coffee shop or just take a walk for a break.


  2. It may be something one enjoys (I know I do a lot), but it must be treated as “work.” I treat it that way. The more effort you put in, the better the final product is likely to be.

    I work for a few hours in the morning non-stop, then take a break and go do something else for a while and get something to eat. When I return, before I move on I reread what I had just written. More than a few times when I reviewed the morning’s output I had thought, “What the heck was I thinking? That’s awful!” and I move to “fix it” immediately.

    And you definitely have to be able to motivate yourself. If you don’t, and cannot, you’ll drift. We all know the world is full of “unfinished masterpieces.”


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