Writing is a solitary pursuit often requiring long periods of self-imposed isolation in order to complete a given work. Whether the end product is a book, script or blood-scrawled scroll, many writers compensate for the inherent loneliness of authorship by leading bawdy social lives centered around chemical binges and chaotic if not ultimately destructive relationships. While I fully support any writer’s determination to find a healthy work-life balance, not all writers are constitutionally inclined to such interstitial exuberance.
If you live a fairly quiet life, as I do, the time you spend writing may not seem all that different from the time you spend staring at the wall, flipping channels, surfing the web, or leaning on the open door of the refrigerator for the fourth time in twenty minutes. Such mind-numbing activities may actually increase the appeal of the writing process, turning each typo and turn of phrase into the most galvanizing thing that has ever happened to you, but the banality of such an existence presents a problem. Where more outgoing writers survive secluded toil by subsisting on memories of social conquests and defeats, or even pending legal action, mild-mannered types are at serious risk of cerebral whiteout, where the isolation necessary for work merges indistinguishably with the vapidity of down time.
While it is possible for introverted writers to break up the monotony of their non-writing life by engaging in socially acceptable forms of self-abuse like exercise or watching the news, the real problem with being a low-key person in a low-key profession is that it’s often hard to find motivations that can withstand the darkest hours of the writing process. Where your more socially engaged writer always has an intellectual foe they’re determined to prove wrong or embarrass, or a object of fancy they aim to seduce with the words flowing from their fingertips, the loner writer (not to be confused with the antisocial writer) often struggles to remember why they’re subjecting themselves to torment when they could just as easily be staring at a crack in the ceiling. [ Read more ]