Writing can be a lonely profession. Most of my days (when I’m writing anyway) are spent on my sofa, usually in my pajamas with my laptop on my knees working on something or other with various internet windows open for research or procrastination purposes. I’m always content when I’m like that. I do what I love and that’s what’s important. However, there are times when I realise that I might have spent an entire two days (my two days off work) doing this and that I haven’t been anywhere or seen anyone or done anything. Sometimes I’m fine with that but sometimes I’m not.
I have to remind myself that there is a life outside of both work and writing and that I need to take time to explore it and have fun. It’s important to do that.
Inside of the writing world, when I’m spending days in front of my computer, I realise the importance for contact with other writers. When I first started out I had a couple of people I talked to, who knew what it was like to be a writer and how lonely it could be. As my work has expanded and my social circles within the writing community developed, I realise that I have friends all over the globe. Most of them are in America and I know one very special couple that always keep me going from Carolina. We talk daily and it means the world to me, not only to have someone who understands what I do and who I can talk to about writing, but someone I can just talk to as a friend.
I signed up to do an author signing down the line but has led me to make friends with those authors who I’ll be sharing a room with for twelve hours and more recently, I began talking to a man in my very own UK who I’m going to be sharing an anthology with. After some general chit-chatting and realising how similar we were in some aspects, we’ve decided to do a collaboration on a short story. That’s something I’m really looking forward to.
I guess what I’m trying to say is embrace the people you talk to, get yourself out there and don’t be shy. Although we all have times when we have our introvert selves come into play, we have to have a strong social network of other writers and authors to prevent the loneliness creeping in.
What are some of the things you do to prevent isolation when writing?
I often find that inspiration can be lacking. I think all writers go through this at some point. Sometimes we are so focused and have so much to do, yet trying to think of a story idea to work on can lead to frustration and apathy. I have struggled with this from time to time. I always find that the longer I don’t write for, the harder it is to get back into the swing of it and generate new ideas.
Currently, I’m working on my no zero days policy which is going well. Some days I write thousands of words, sometimes hundreds, sometimes just enough to call it a no zero day. While those days disappoint me I always have to remind myself to take each day as it comes.
I’m trying to enter a lot of short stories at the minute as well as editing my novel and I find that my biggest source of inspiration for this is my partner. I bounce ideas off him or tell him what the call is and he’s usually really great at getting my brain sparked and getting me writing. We seem to be on the same wavelength and we both wonder at odd things and pose silly questions to each other, you know those ‘what if’ questions. It never fails to get me thinking and that’s what I need. That’s what everybody needs. Something–or someone–who sparks your creativity.
A couple of things I do to spark my creativity:
* talk to my partner.
* pay close attention to my dreams.
* ask myself and others and situations the question: what if.
* look at my everyday life and the people in it.
I keep a notebook of my ideas, things I might want to work on in the future, things that interest me but I don’t have time to work on. It means that even if that spark hasn’t worked for me at this point, I know it might in the future. Sometimes just going back through that notebook is enough.