Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A to Z Challenge: Alone

Hi all! Just a heads-up that I've also posted on Unicorn Bell today about my dilemma when a nasty character changes the way the story's unfolding.

But now, let's get into the Challenge.

My theme for this year is The Things All Writers Should Know About Being Writers. I'm starting with a biggie.


Unless you're doing a co-writing project, this is probably going to be the word that best describes your writing experience.

There are other words (aggravating, satisfying, challenging, ambitious, for example) that also work, but if it comes down to it, writing is a solitary experience. Yes, you're still going to go outside and live life. You've still got your family and friends. 

There comes a time, though, that you're going to have to withdraw from it all (even if for only a few hours) so that you can get some words down. 

When you're new to this writing gig, you're probably going to find that no one else understands this. They will want to draw you into their activities, to distract you with things like wanting some of your time. And even if they're supportive of your writing, they still won't understand the amount of blood, sweat and tears that actually goes into a story. 

They definitely won't understand what compels you to withdraw in the first place. 

You're going to try to explain it and will probably fail. My own family has accused me of being anti-social, a hermit, of thinking myself better than them, of losing all outside interests etc etc back when I was starting out with seriously writing to finish a project. Were they right? More often than not, no. Basically, they were worried about me because I, a TV addict, had suddenly stopped watching TV in the evenings and withdrew after work and dinner so that I could write. 

Because in the end, no matter how social we try to make writing by connecting to other writers, writing is a solitary activity. 

Just don't take it too far, though. Don't begrudge life for taking you away from your writing for a few short hours. It's easy to become so absorbed in our writing that we don't want to do anything else. But the good memories are made by doing things with those you love. 

So make sure that you're never so alone that you don't really live. 

Veteran writers: How do you keep life balanced with withdrawing to write?
New writers: Have you been struggling with this? 

Heads-up! I've changed my comment form to pop-ups because the embedded version seems to be giving some people trouble. Word verification is turned off, though, so you can ignore the block that says "Prove you're not a robot." Sadly, I can't seem to remove it. Stupid Blogger. 


  1. Boy is this ever true, and why for me writing often gets shoved aside for more social pursuits! Thankfully I have a supportive family who understands my need for solitude. It's the balancing act that can be so very difficult.

  2. I'm happy to be alone when I'm actually writing, but like to talk to other writers in between. Luckily blogs and social media make that very easy.

  3. I actually like the alone time that writing gives me - it's nice to switch off from work and family/home commitments - but I do often have to remind myself that I need to take a break and join the real world once in a while!

  4. I love my alone time. With a kid, I don't get enough of it. I'd like more time to write, but eventually I'll have plenty. Right now I enjoy getting out and gathering inspiration for future stories. :) Good luck with the Challenge!

  5. I like your theme, writing can definitely be lonely at times, good job we have the challenge to make lots of new friends.

  6. My friends and family know the lose me in November for NaNoWriMo. Lol. Monday nights are usually out too for my writer's group. I haven't really noticed it much in my average day to day writing. Then again that might be because I don't have a good schedule set up that I can stick to.

    Sarah from Scribbles and Shorts

  7. Old writer here, in every sense, and as my husband's carer, I'd say with difficulty, but I keep going.

  8. Fortunately my wife understands that when I'm writing, I have to devote chunks of time to it. I'm not sure you'd call it balance, but I make everything still work.
    And yes, stupid Blogger.

  9. I'm a writer and I know what you mean. I have to prioritize everything. Time to write, to with family/friends, time to pursue hobbies and interests.

  10. I like being alone. Always have, so it suits me fine! I love my family, but they are very demanding. But you definitely shouldn't take the withdrawal too far, no.

  11. Yes, yes and yes! I have a friend I talk to every day who does not like to write, but does like to chat while doing things on her to-do this...this works well unless "writing" is on MY to-do list ;)

  12. I struggle just trying to write a simple blog that I started only a few months ago. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to juggle all that you guys are doing.

  13. I can SO relate to this. My boyfriend, in particular, hates it when I withdraw to write. Lately, I have hardly been writing, so he is much happier. At least it give a good side to not writing :)

  14. Good Post Misha!! My family hates to see me on the computer all the time. I can only write during the day when no one is home, and now, only when my grandson is napping. Alone is a good description for a writer.

  15. Thank you for visiting my blog page and leaving a comment. Re: being alone to write, I have trouble getting to be alone to focus upon my writing. I am lucky to get the Hodgepodge done every week. Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!

  16. Balance? Yeah, I don't balance. What I do is steal away time from everything else--kid happily watching a movie? WRITE. Spouse happily involved in hobby? WRITE. All those tiny pieces add up. Lots of little bits make a really big bit.

    As they say, you eat the elephant one bite at a time.

  17. Karen, the balancing act can be so incredibly hard, and it just never quite seems to work like it should. We always hit a wobble somewhere.

    Patsy, I'm also so grateful for social media for giving me easy access to other writers.

    Rachel I also need to remind myself every now and then. :-D

    Christine, I like the way you look at it. :-)

    Rosie, the Challenge is definitely awesome for that.

    Karen I know what you mean. It takes a lot of discipline to decline those invitations.

    Hahaha Sarah yeah I think the world population goes down by a few hundred thousand people in the beginning of November at least.

    You're an inspiration, Carole.

    You're lucky, Alex. :-)

    Luana, I approach life like that too.

    Nick I agree. Withdrawing from life's demands can be good for us. In moderation.

    Thanks, Evalina.

    Hahaha Andrea. Yeah chatting makes almost all tasks go by quicker. Except, oddly enough, writing. ;-)

    Snarky, we start small and uncertain, usually. Until the writing bug really bites. Then, all bets are off.

    Shell, I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling to write. But rest while you can. ;-)

    Cathrina, I have to say I'm lucky in that one member of my family (my Grandmother) is a writer too. So she usually backs me when I say I HAVE to graft.

    Thanks for stopping by, Life SPW. :-)

    Rena, that's true. Stolen moments can add to a LOT when we steal diligently. :-P

  18. I struggle with taking the time to be alone and write. It always seems like there's one more thing to be done. I'm trying to work on that.

  19. And, since you're alone, there's that, "Oh, you aren't doing anything, so can you run this errand for me?"

    Not sure when the idea that other people need to surround you for anything to count as "doing something" come into play, but man is that irritating!


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