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  • How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Skippoo at 08:16 on 15 June 2005
    Over the last few years I've calmed down my social life a lot (i.e. I still have the odd wild night out, but they're much less often.). I have a lot of good friends, but I see them less. I try to spend more of my time working on writing and other creative interests.

    Being a twenty-something Londoner, this means I go out less then a lot of my friends. The last two flatmates I've lived with have been extremely sociable, going out drinking, etc. four or more nights a week. I wouldn't want my life to be like that any more, but sometimes I've found myself feeling a little insecure, wondering if they think I'm boring!

    I just wondered what other writers think of this issue? How much time do you spend alone writing and how do you feel about it?

  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Al T at 08:44 on 15 June 2005
    Cath, if your friends think you're boring, then get some new friends. Your life has changed and some of those old friendships may be past their sell-by date. If people can't accept you for who you really are, as opposed to who they would like you to be, than bin them, I say. That may sound harsh, but I think it's only fair for all concerned.

  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Skippoo at 09:04 on 15 June 2005
    Hey, no, I think you've kind of misread my point a bit there, Adele!

    I was talking more about how my lifestyle is different from my flatmates - because they're the people whose day-to-day routine I really see (I totally agree about binning friends if your life changes and they don't support it, etc.). I was just raising the issue of how other people feel about how much time they spend alone writing because I think it's an interesting subject, that's all!!

  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Beadle at 09:44 on 15 June 2005
    Hey Skip

    Nice question - it's almost to the point of "Am I spending too long exploring my belly button here?!"

    There's a balance isn't there - essentially how much time you devote to your writing (your art, your muse whatever) and at what expense to the rest of your live?

    If, like most of us on this site I guess, you also have a full time job, then you have to limit your writing to your spare time. If you decide to sacrifice nights out to do it, then so be it.

    If you start feeling that you need to 'get out a bit more', then you have to sacrifice your writing a bit. And I think you (one) do need to take a break from your writing to experience life, because life is what informs our writing for the most part. Even if it is complete fantasy, it must have some linke with reality to be able to touch other readers.

    Of course if you could live off your writing, then you could write 9 to 5 and then still go out and play every night, or whatever.

    I think that sacrifice, or perhaps discipline is more accurate, is key in writing. I have very little discipline in making time for myself to write creatively. I have some great excuses - I write a lot for a living, I have a young family I want to spend time with, I'm working on the house with a view to moving, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares' is on tonight etc - but they are just excuses.

    I should write on a more regular basis because I think it's a bit like exercise - the more often and regularly you do it, the fitter you get.

    I am, in every sense of the word, a fat git.

    Also the 'Alone' bit is a key point. I think we all get a bit lonely in our seclusion, writing in our Ivory Towers, which is why we end up shooting the breeze on this site. I also work from home most of the time, so I really enjoy getting out of my home ofice/spare bedroom and working with other people to talk about something different and share those 'water cooler' moments.

    In a way I envy those comedy writing partners (or even musicians) that get to be creative with somebody else, bouncing off each other, feeding off and sharing ideas.

    I'm sure, however, there are some writers that can exist in complete isolation and churn out stuff - whether it's any good is another thing.

    Perhaps it's not whether you are boring or if others think you are boring that is making you insecure, but just the isolation, working away at something that means so much to you, but that you really have no control over in terms of success.

    You know - "fuck it, why am I spending all my time and energy on this frigging book when it might just end up sitting in my bottom drawer for the rest of my life?"

    Skip, I think you are the best judge of whether what you are doing is too much or too little, extremely interesting or boring as shite. You'll be the one that jacks it all in for the night and 'get's on one', or sits beavering away and enjoys the satisfaction of your creative endeavours.

    Be honest with yourself about how you feel and whether it's how you want to be.

    Alternatively you could be like me and spend too much time on here instead of working... let alone writing.

  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Account Closed at 11:10 on 15 June 2005
    For me, I've managed to get myself into a routine, work and writing in the week, the weekends for relaxation and if I want to go out, I go out. I don't worry when my friends say 'how can you just sit there for hours typing?' or think I'm being boring. They'll never understand how much fun I have when I'm in the grip of a good story, or that I need to be alone to get into the space I need to be creative.

  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Al T at 15:52 on 15 June 2005
    Cath, sorry, I obviously misinterpreted what you were saying. Blame Mr MCC!



    Btw, I know that some of my friends are very envious of the amount of time I have to write, which makse me more determined than ever not to fritter it all away. However, as Beadle wisely said, you do need a balance and interacting with other people is not only good for your (one's) sanity, but may give you something to write about.

  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Silverelli at 16:09 on 15 June 2005
    I know exactly how you feel, Cath.

    You are not missing anything and your character/personality is not disintigrating by opting to forego those party/social nights. In fact, the opposite, you are enhancing your talent and self awareness, while your friends waste time "just being there".

    But it is essential to "get out" at least once a week. Four+ times a week is way too much if you have other serious goals in mind, unless you are already established in what position you want to be in.


    At least that what works for me. I gotta believe that some people NEED those 4+ party nights a week to survive. But, with a lot of hard work, and I mean a fucking LOT, it's possible to change lifestyle and ethical/thought processing habits.
  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Account Closed at 16:20 on 15 June 2005
    Especially with shock therapy. I hear shock therapy is good.

  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Al T at 16:22 on 15 June 2005
    Or the stuff they do in Camp Delta...

  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Silverelli at 17:05 on 15 June 2005
    and anti-depressant inhibitors.
  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Beadle at 17:54 on 15 June 2005
    overdrafts, mortgages and kids also do the trick
  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Skippoo at 23:32 on 15 June 2005
    I'd say I go out once, sometimes twice a week usually. Luckily my good mates would still be cool even if I lived in a cave, stopped washing and grew floor-length armpit hair in the name of creativity. It is hard to juggle everything, though. I work full-time, I'm writing a novel, working on a proposal for a non-fiction book, writing songs and doing vocal exercises/practice (I have singing lessons - poor neighbours), going to the gym and yoga classes (on a major fitness mission at the mo). On top of that I keep discovering new long-lost family members to get to know. It's tough!

    I agree, though. It's important to get out there for inspiration too - especially as my stuff is very character-driven. Luckily, as my current novel is for teenagers, there's plenty of inspiration at work.

    I do feel a bit self-conscious sometimes when I see my flatmate's more sociable lifestyle. But actually, I am happy with the balance I've got at the mo. And actually, she has said she's envious of how I can sit down and write so much - she's interested in writing too but cannot sit still for long and hates being alone.

    Beadle, I spend a lot of time procrastinating by writing e-mails and posting on here too! Adele, who's Mr MCC? Silver, it must be extra hard for you as you've got the whole alcohol thing to deal with - respect to you for that!


    Oh, I've got another one, besides shock treatments, mortgages, etc: How about spending so much time on your arse at your computer that you get really bloody fat and can't fit into any of your going out clothes any more?! (a current fear of mine - hence the revived Astanga yogaing.)
  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Account Closed at 09:01 on 16 June 2005
    I swear by avocado's. I'm doing a good fat v. bad fat diet and I've already lost about a stone with hardly trying. Not that I was ever fat to begin with, you understand.

    I still go out, but my downtime has become much more important since I started getting published. Writing feels less like a hobby now, but still as much fun. I do fantasise about owning a small rickety cottage in a big woodland somewhere, shutting myself away for a few months and churning out an epic, but in truth, I think I need the balance of social life and friends etc. Who else could I bore with my ideas?

    I have noticed though that my desire to imbibe booze and get totally wasted, has definately reduced. It's fun to do now and again, but I used to be out there three or four times a week, and nowadays, I like to have something to show for my time other than a hangover, or a stranger in the bathroom.

  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Al T at 09:21 on 16 June 2005
    Cath, getting fat is a major concern! At the moment, I'm going to the gym two to three times a week, taking a dance class and lots of long walks, and my weight is flat-lining. However, a full blown diet is out of the question as being hungry makes me distracted and cranky - not a price worth paying.

    Btw Mr MCC is a friend who took for a very liquid day at Lords on Tuesday - terrible for the waistline, but excellent for morale!

  • Re: How solitary does a writer`s life have to be?
    by Davy Skyflyer at 10:45 on 16 June 2005
    I think everyone feels bad about not going out and making loads of friends and being Mr Sociable coz our society kind of revolves around it.

    Of course, when you think about it, standing around waxing lyrical about how Tony Blair is a lying bitch, why football is now over as we used to know it, or comment on the day's bizarre weather, or them nasty hooded top kids around the corner, the price of herion, WHATEVER, is pretty irrelevent when you consider what the reclusive artist types have acheived over the centuries.

    The thing is I reckon its a charade. Most people are facking cyants anyway, and beyond small talk and pint sharing, most people have fuck all in common. Also, if you go to the pub and someone asks what you're up to, and you say, writing a book, they'll say "...are you getting paid" and if you say no, they'll say "...so what are you REALLY doin?" to which you slap them in the mouth and say "...writing a facking book you stupid cyant". This is primarily because most people have the imagination and vision of a severly retarded ant (ahhh, poor ant) and would actually HATE it if you (one) finds any success through doing something they a) have no idea how to do and b) have no where near the dedication, passion, drive and ambition required or c) gets you about ten times the money they earn by selling there souls to some shite company for ten years.

    Of course the money is the real clincher, coz we all know we're not in this for the money (COUGH! Who was that??), but most people have dollar signs imprinted on their brains at an early age, so anything that doesn't offer a structured pyramid of progression, promotion and extra cash makes them go all funny and start talking about getting a real job.

    I'd rather sit in a room with a load of a)weed b)dogs (well one or two) c)paper d)pen and get paid loads of money to write a book.

    Then I'll go down the pub when its finished.

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