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The writing life: lonely, but not alone

30 June 2014

From author Belinda Williams:

I’ve written before about how the writing path can be long one, but I was in touch with a fellow writer recently and the subject of loneliness came up. Specifically, the loneliness that often accompanies writing.

It got me thinking. It made me realise that it has never been a better time to be a writer. Sure, we still have to spend hours alone labouring over our manuscripts, but the concept of a writer being cut off from the rest of the world is as antiquated as this photo of an old typewriter. Here’s why:

Social media: I love social media, because it’s all about connecting people. In my time as a writer, most of the writers I’ve met have been online. Some of these have flourished into genuine friendships. At the very minimum, social media is a great place for sharing ideas and writing tips and I’ve learnt an incredible amount in the online and social media environment.
. . . .

Beta-readers are my cheer squad, my reality check and my sounding boards. I couldn’t do it without them! Whenever I feel like I’m alone, all I have to do is call up one of my beta-readers and after a a few minutes of discussing my latest project (yes, they’re genuinely interested!) I feel a sense of relief.

Link to the rest at Belinda Williams

Writing Advice

12 Comments to “The writing life: lonely, but not alone”

  1. So much this. Because of social media, I’m surrounded by my writer friends all day long. Sometimes it is a bit too social and I need to get back to work! 🙂

  2. I should probably embrace social media more than I have to date, but every time I try I feel I’m better off writing. That and one look at my Twitter feed and it kind of turns me off to be frank. It’s full of people advertising their books. Which is great, and I’ve done a little bit of that too, but most of my followers are other authors who just plug their books all day. Yes, writers are also readers, but how many of us actually want to read that story about a dog that just got another 5* review from their aunty? Call me an old cynic…because I’m an old cynic.

    • In the last few months, I went through a Twitter housekeeping. Authors who advertised their books incessently were dumped. Those who did nothing but link to other Twits I dumped. Book marketers I set on fire and then dumped.

      Then I set up various lists, including Personal, Writers, Sherlockians and Writing Business, so I can look at the ones I wanted when I wanted.

      Surprisingly, it didn’t seem to affect my total number of followers (about 1K), and I’m more interested in what’s going on (except my main stream of tweets, which is full of politics).

      • Hi Bill, what a great idea. Thanks for that, I shall have a stiff gin and start sorting out my own in a similar fashion. Then another stiff gin. Cheers.

    • With the exception of a book release day/week, any author that posts more about their book than anything else gets deleted from my Twitter stream. I follow a lot of writers who talk about their lives, silly things, interesting things and occasionally mention their books. That’s how it should be.

  3. I take part in a forum for fantasy writers. It has a chat function which is active quite a bit. It’s a nice place to connect with other people who share my passion. Most of the people there are still working toward publication, but more than a few have published work.


  4. I’ve never found writing to be a lonely experience. For me it’s time spent with the most interesting characters. 😉

  5. The hours spent in solitude are part of the REASON I write, not some side effect against which I should inoculate myself. I cherish this time, for it is mine.

  6. A little late to this, but I don’t find writing lonely. But that is because I surround myself with other writers in both the forum and chatrooms at Forward Motion for Writers (http://fmwriters.com ). We all talk the same language even if we happen to write in different genres. I find that I get a lot done because of the encouragement we give each other. And if I want quiet? Then I close down the website or put Scrivener into full-screen mode for whatever section I’m currently writing.

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