Are you a writer struggling with feeling alone and isolated?
Do you spend all day inside writing and not even notice the beautiful day outside until it is too late to enjoy?
Writing is solitary work. You need to concentrate and immerse yourself in your story. Or at least that is how I feel.
As a work-at-home-mum I fit my writing in around a very active toddler, not to mention the day-to-day running of the household. I usually find that I am writing my novels and stories during his nap time or of a nighttime, when I should be enjoying adult conversation with my husband. However these are the only quiet times I have available, except for child care days, to write.
As a registered nurse, I am used to a busy, loud and social environment to be working in. At first, when I took up writing, I enjoyed the solitary nature of it. I liked not having to think about what I said, or to have to be constantly talking, thinking and caring for others.
However, now I do get lonely.
The days when my little one is in childcare, and I am in an empty house can feel very isolating. Or the long evenings I spend tapping away at my computer trying to get all those pent-up ideas from the day out with no real conversation with my partner. I can go a whole week and realize I have not had a proper conversation with him. Poor husband! (I am sure he is thankful for the peace and quiet)!
What can you do to not feel so alone?
It seems that being alone is essential to write and get those ideas out. However, you need human connection and interactions.
You need to find that balance between your writing job and your personal life.
For me I need to take a night or full day off to enjoy my husbands company and have adult time. I write myself a to-do list each week (keeping in mind I am also running my own freelance writing business) and prioritise what absolute must be done, what is important and what can be left until next week. I then make sure I have a night, or day off to enjoy family time. Not to mention catch ups with friends and outings with my toddler!
Build strong networks
Another way I have found is to build strong writing connections. The Australian Writers Marketplace runs a writers race on Wednesday nights. It only goes for an hour, but it is a sacred hour! In that time you concentrate on writing, however you know all the other people participating are too. A volunteer runs the race each week. It is a great place to meet like-minded people for support, ideas and inspiration.
Your local community centres, TAFEs and uni’s also run writing groups or classes where you can meet with local writers and other creative people. It is another fantastic way of creating a strong network of like-minded people you can turn to for support and encouragement. Or just a coffee when the isolation gets too much for you!
Online writing courses, or face-to-face writing courses achieve the same thing. It depends if you prefer to foster online or face-to-face relationships. For myself, it is easier online. Between being a mum, nursing, running my own freelance writing business, and creative writing I find my time can be very limited. Therefore, online connections are easier. They tend not to have the same impact, but it is nice knowing there are others out there who are feeling the same way.
So are you lonely? Do you have any other tips or advice for overcoming those feelings of isolation? I would love to hear them.