Loneliness and the writer

Recently, fellow blogger Rebecca Thorne wrote a great post about combating loneliness. After having read Rebecca’s post, Alice got to thinking about loneliness and, in particular, the loneliness of writers.

A lot of work today is done in teams. But, unless you’re a screenwriter, writing still tends to be the effort of a single monkey, tucked away in her lonely cell. But, we writers sorely need that which all monkeys need: other monkeys. Which is not a given these days for anyone, writer or not.

More than that, for a writer, not any monkey will do. A writer monkey will need another writer monkey.

That’s why writers are so eager for writing groups. Or if they’re not, they should be. Writing groups are essential for writers. And not because of the chance to give and get critique, share techniques, create networks, or the like. The main reason is to simplyย be together.

There’s an ugly, persistent myth that links art with madness. Part of it may stem from the fact that adversity is handy fuel for creativity. But another part could be that many artists have toiled for too long without the support of their peers.

Loneliness will drive anyone mad, like the British fella who went to Antarctica for solitude and was afflicted with depression a few months later.

Shared experiences alleviate the pain of existence. That is why writers need writers, just like fighter pilots need fighter pilots, plumbers need plumbers, and biochemists need biochemists.

So, my fellow writer, if you’re not already part of a writing group, join one! If there isn’t a group nearby, create one. If the prospect of creating such a group feels terrifying, do it anyway. If you can’t bear the nearness of other fleshbags, go virtual. But, for the sake of your sanity, create it.


11 thoughts on “Loneliness and the writer”

  1. Thank you for bringing this up. Most of us are on our own and that’s a good. We need to be. Creativity is all about the writer and their characters but the writers needs to be careful. To much alone time is not healthy. Most of us are sociable creatures, therefore we need to get out. You brought up an excellent point with writer groups. I’ve been in one for a long time. They are excellent and important for our social well being.



    1. True! I hope that the majority of writers are indeed in writing groups. But I don’t have any facts to know if this is true or not… Say, how often does your group get together? And how many are you?

      No problem! Thanks for commenting, too!


      1. Hi Alice,

        There are six of us. We get together every other week in an old bookstore in downtown Eugene, Oregon. We gather around 7 pm and stay for a few hours. If a group can find a way to meet in a bookstore, especially an old one with lots of history, do it. The atmosphere is top notch.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s just awesome. ๐Ÿ˜€ How did you find it? Just walk in and ask the owner? Alice’s group meets in an old school building turned tavern – atmospheric, but no bookstore, to be sure!


      3. I answered an add. I left a few years back to go to a different one, didn’t like it and came back to them. Sometimes word of mouth is the best way to meet groups or another way is to create one of you own. A tavern. Now that would be interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great article!! I know for a fact the first thing I’d do if I moved to a new city is locate the writing groups. That’s probably how I’d find all my new friends. ๐Ÿ˜€ Writers make such excellent company!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Usually, anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s not like there aren’t egoists among us. And Alice knows she has her unlikable moments, too… But that’s human monkeys for you, and even an egoist doesn’t deserve to be lonely! Thanks for hopping over to comment! ๐Ÿ˜€


  3. It’s a curious thing about our species that we’re both a social and an individualistic animal. We seem to need some sort of combination of both time with our fellows and alone time to function well.

    One thing our fellows can do for us is — if they are trustworthy and insightful — provide us with reality-checks. Humans have an alarming tendency to go off the tracks if they don’t get reality-checks now and then from other humans.

    I knew an accomplished artist once — a man name Robert who was the least social person I’ve known in my life. When he was growing up, his school built a wall around his desk because the sight of the other students would incense him. But he created beautiful paintings.

    One night, around three in the morning, he took a knife and slashed up everyone of them that he had in his possession. Something like 50 or 60, I recall. The only thing left was his very first work. He had overlooked it.

    When I told him what he’d done — destroyed some very good works of art — he became sad and said, “I wish I’d thought of asking you first before I destroyed them.”


    1. Reality-checks! Yes, so much yes. ๐Ÿ˜€ That’s why I like comments like yours, much more so than the, um, more impersonal “likes”.

      Sadly, more often I see the Robert story turning out differently. In it, Robert hears nothing but praise from the brown-nosers around him, and thinks he’s God’s gift to humankind. Equally destructive results.


      1. That’s the thing. I think most of us have a tendency to affirm people, and those of us who do not are usually pretty messed up people in the sense they’re always looking at the downside to everything, and seldom positive about anything (I used to be like that in high school). Our tendency to affirm each other, though, can easily give rise to distorted views. A good reality check must take into account both the positives and the negatives. Otherwise, as you point out, it’s dangerous.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s