Writing is thought of as a lonely occupation or preoccupation. Writers may write alone, but their work may represent years of research or thriving worlds and communities or a day in the life of a character. The process may seem lonely, but not necessarily solitary. Writers constantly learn, from other writers, from workshops and from works they read. Material and topics about which to write surround a writer’s existence. However, the writer can not exist in a void.
When I am not working on any of my many writing projects or taking workshops and classes, I enjoy socializing with my friends and family over a meal or drinks. I am drawn to coffee shops both when I write and when I am not writing for their eclectic appeal and creative vibe. I enjoy being in the middle of live conversation, hearing the buzzing of chatter and laughter. I am energized by the stories that are exchanged over everyday conversation. Listening to other people’s stories reminds me of how much I enjoy listening to a good story and the importance of effective storytelling. I enjoy the flow of conversation. Social settings leave me inspired to want to capture the flow and energy of conversation into my writing.
Yes, even when I am not writing, I think about my writing though not all the time. I can not be a good storyteller if I am not a good listener or attentive to my surroundings. I am no good to my story if I can not listen to my own thoughts. If while I am writing I notice that my own thoughts are too loud or negative or perhaps too quiet, then I know that I need to step away and stop thinking about my current project. Talking to someone else, be it in person or on the phone or over an instant messenger, helps clear my mind. I also enjoy catching up on one of my favorite television series, especially the ones with good writing.
If I do not spend time socializing with others, I begin to feel as if I am building castles in the sky. My writing begins to feel impossible and imaginary if I write alone for too long. Social networks where I can interact with other writers help the process of writing feel less solitary to me and help me feel like I am part of a larger writing community.
If you are working on a writing project outside of your blog or website, I would love to hear about it. Are you working on a novel or chapbook? What do you do to keep your writing going?