Embrace Solitude, Not Loneliness

Solitude And The Writer's Social Life by whoislimos from unsplash

Writing is a solitary life. 

In order to eke out a few words worth reading, we sit alone for hours every day. To write, you have to embrace the solitude without feeling alone.

You aren’t alone, you know.

You’ve travelled miles of print to arrive at this very point. Hundreds if not thousands if not millions of miles of print, and every author who shaped your writing hovers over your shoulder. Those authors woke something inside of you. Heed their wisdom and experience. 

When one of us does good work, we all benefit.

The readers of your work, figments though they may be, whisper in your ear. Learn to trust your readers. They’ll get what you’re trying to do if you’re honest about what you’ve done and who you are.

The voices of your teachers echo in your mind. Those philosophers, grammarians, logicians, historians, and drill sergeants who shaped your ability to write and think, they continue to push you beyond what you consider possible. Ignore them if they were negative. Embrace them if they were constructive.

Your intuitions give you directions. Listen to them. They know more than you think.

Your crazy keeps you company. Give those voices my best. Why else were you rewriting a passage for the fifteenth time without a clear sense of how you wanted to improve it? Maybe your subconscious is trying to tell you something. Why are you asking yourself if this draft is any better than the third draft? Maybe you’re too close to the page. Why did you pause to mentally revise an acceptance speech for an award you plan to someday receive? 

When the polyphony of voices that keeps you company settles down and you realize you’re alone in a literal sense of the word, embrace your imagination.

And, of course, think of all of us. We’re alone too, but we’ll understand. We’ll sympathize. We’ll empathize. We care. We’re rooting for you.

When one of us does good work, we all benefit. 

Image by whoislimos courtesy of Unsplash



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2 thoughts on “Embrace Solitude, Not Loneliness”

  1. I’ve spent a lot of time interacting with the writing community on twitter. Even when I’m sitting at my desk, I feel connected. I feel a little distracted too.

    1. Hi Dan,
      The twitter writing community can be a great way to connect in solitude! I know I’ve let myself get distracted now and again.
      Indy Perro

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