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Lonely Writing (1 Viewer)

KatPC

Senior Member
I hope many can read and follow this, but I also want this to be a blantent plug to the Collaboration Section in the Forum.

I often read that writing is a lonely process; you vs the white screen, battling to get the ideas from your head and conveying those thoughts into that beautiful picture in front of you that have been ruminating for so long. When you have created, drafted the backbone of the story, it is time to pick up the chisel, to smooth out the rough edges, to fill in the missing gaps only then to get a finer chisel or sand paper to rub away a little more, going through each line to make sure every sentence is the best you.

Nervous you put it out to 'display' you raw feelings open for others to interpret. Words may not be kind and you are trapped once more with Fear sniggering in the background. It can feel so lonely.

Yet i look at the Forum. Like minded people offering advice, some may say opinions but let us be positive... advice. There is a chance to make friends, to rid of your anxieties and angst, at your own struggles or just to a place to offer help, to remind yourself of your own journey, to where you have gone, and read of the problems you have over come.

It doesn't seem lonely to me ... Writing. Though this is a paradox, i feel dreadfully misinterpreted, misunderstood but with an open mind ... maybe i can get better for others to appreciate my creations and learn to have finished articles.

I am a new writer ... like many of you. I'm scared a lot, that what i write, comment and reply can be hurtful or be seen as opinionated but my aims (as I'm sure with most if not all here) are well intentioned and honest.

To have a friend, to have a partner, to help us in our journey, to make our writing, the pleasure that it brings ... better, brilliant, enjoyable with a friend or two ... i can only imagine to be wonderful.

Find a partner.
Those who have here ... please share your views, your journey, those who haven't raise your hand, find a friend. I can see lots of cons but what are the pros?

It's scary ... but so is writing ... but maybe we don't have to be alone?
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
Anyone remember "Mr Incredible's" pet saying?

It was, "I work alone."

It didn't seem to do him much harm - but he was a cartoon character :)
I noticed the alone (not lonely) nature of writing more when the face-to-face writing groups closed, but that was when I was at my most productive.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
There are so many ways to look at the word “lonely” in the context of writing, but one way would be Rilke’s admonition to a young writer to embrace your loneliness, embrace your own mind, your own self in writing. Here is a Rilke quote and there are more where it came from:

“What is needed is this, and this alone: solitude, great inner loneliness. Going into oneself and not meeting anyone for hours – that is what one must arrive at. Loneliness of the kind one knew as a child, when the grown-ups went back and forth bound up in things which seemed grave and weighty because they looked so busy, and because one had no idea what they were up to.

And when one day you realise that their preoccupations are meagre, their professions barren and no longer connected to life, why not continue to look on them like a child, as if on something alien, drawing on the depths of your own world, on the expanse of your own solitude, which itself is work and achievement and a vocation? Why wish to exchange a child’s wise incomprehension for rejection and contempt, when incomprehension is solitude, whereas rejection and contempt are ways of participating in what, by precisely these means, you want to sever yourself from?”
-Rilke
 

NajaNoir

Senior Member
I think I would find writing regularly with others quite dreadful. Not to say that writing isn't a lonely process, but that is precisely, imo, the best thing about it.

I too share your feelings of being misinterpreted, misunderstood, sharing things I never thought I'd share is scary. That's why I joined this forum. To connect, for moral support, honest feedback, to share struggles, defeats, and wins with fellow writers, but I can log out and focus inward when needed. I've had ideas where it seems like the only way to complete a story, is to collaborate, so they remain just that, ideas. Writing is personal (imo). I think it's really cool that other people can share themselves like that though. I'll never say never, but I need control, and I write at my own pace...weaving in and out of my stories as needed, so it's doubtful.

Though I am still somewhat new to writing fiction, (think I have about 42 pages total) I've always written things down, journals, letters, etc... So, I write the way I am feeling. It seems unrealistic to put that onto another. "You must write what I feel." How would they know? Creepy thought, I might delve deeper into that later for another story.

However, having said all that, I should also state that friends are always a welcome and cherished gift.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
It’s interesting… there are so many ways to look at this subject. I showed the counter-argument by Rilke, above, but it’s kind of interesting how I think some things have to be written alone, others not… Just different people’s different processes and the type of thing to be written.

I’m all for some works being collaborative. There would be a lot to learn about how to bring talent together into a piece as well. Some screen plays, and most comedy shows have a team of writers. You can make many creative things collaborative.

By the way, I was discussing Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s crappier early works with my family like State Fair and even Carousel (but I like Oklahoma!) and just a few years later their amazing Sound of Music, King and I, South Pacific. etc. I’m glad people don’t give up.

Some partnerships are really great stuff, some not as much! Look at Rian Johnson. I think his ideas weren’t able to come out with Star Wars and I wonder if it was just that very collaborative setting with Disney, and then look at Knives Out! :). So it’s all just interesting… and a lot depends on who you want to team up with too.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
Interesting ...
Thank you for replying everyone btw
I noticed the alone (not lonely) nature of writing more when the face-to-face writing groups closed, but that was when I was at my most productive.
I think you hit the nail on its head here ... writing alone not lonely.

I have never written with others, and have always thought of the process of having another as scary, but also a great learning curve and learn things much quicker. You can try figure things out yourself, but it is only through others (ie beta readers, or friend's, fellow writer's support) to bounce off ideas, to share ideas, can you solve the problems you face, but a partner ... a one to one ... is so interesting.

There are so many ways to look at the word “lonely” in the context of writing, but one way would be Rilke’s admonition to a young writer to embrace your loneliness, embrace your own mind, your own self in writing. Here is a Rilke quote and there are more where it came from:

“What is needed is this, and this alone: solitude, great inner loneliness. Going into oneself and not meeting anyone for hours – that is what one must arrive at. Loneliness of the kind one knew as a child, when the grown-ups went back and forth bound up in things which seemed grave and weighty because they looked so busy, and because one had no idea what they were up to.

And when one day you realise that their preoccupations are meagre, their professions barren and no longer connected to life, why not continue to look on them like a child, as if on something alien, drawing on the depths of your own world, on the expanse of your own solitude, which itself is work and achievement and a vocation? Why wish to exchange a child’s wise incomprehension for rejection and contempt, when incomprehension is solitude, whereas rejection and contempt are ways of participating in what, by precisely these means, you want to sever yourself from?”
-Rilke
I agree ... the great inner loneliness. Many a time I have hid myself in these moments, never wanting to escape the words that are flowing. I love the Silence (A friend who does not betray - Confucius). I find Writing tough, because unlike sports you can 'show' your character - In Writing you have to immerse yourself to be that character. At times you have to 'be' someone you are not, or it maybe a part of what you are, but the intrigue to dig deeper to find that voice often comes through the searches within.

How many times have you (anyone) started a story only to fall back, drift away ... stop, thinking it is awful, that you can't make out the mess you are trying to convey? I can look around and jump into the Forum to reply, hoping for a pick up and not feel 'lonely' in this struggle, but wouldn't it be great if someone could say ... you're doing great ... it just messed up here. I am married, but my other half doesn't care about what I do ... so for me ... the thought of 'if' ... intrigues. Maybe a partner will never work, but I've been working on this 'sod it' mentality lately. If I am to ever get better at writing I need to get challenge myself ... try new things, not hide behind my stories thinking they are good, scared others may attack them, knowing i need to be positive and trusting in self ... I hate it when my time comes, I have never posted a story, never tried my best to chase the impossible dream. I think we all know that in life things go up and things go down, but to try something different ... to not be scared ... to Face your Fears with no Fears ... who knows ... Even if i fail it wasn't for not trying or listening.

I think I would find writing regularly with others quite dreadful. Not to say that writing isn't a lonely process, but that is precisely, imo, the best thing about it.
I absolutely agree. There has been many dark times when I have felt low in life, and I turn to my other and let it out. Never solved my problems, but I had someone to turn to. I get drawn to writing a lot, sometimes to create and edit, a lot for cathartic reasons. I translate a lot of this into my stories, but to be understood ... it's beautiful.

I too share your feelings of being misinterpreted, misunderstood, sharing things I never thought I'd share is scary. That's why I joined this forum. To connect, for moral support, honest feedback, to share struggles, defeats, and wins with fellow writers, but I can log out and focus inward when needed. I've had ideas where it seems like the only way to complete a story, is to collaborate, so they remain just that, ideas. Writing is personal (imo). I think it's really cool that other people can share themselves like that though. I'll never say never, but I need control, and I write at my own pace...weaving in and out of my stories as needed, so it's doubtful.
I know. It's why I called this thread Lonely Writing ... I don't think it should be ... and that encompasses newer thoughts of going it with others ... try different things ... it's all chat ... i'm just curious at what others think and feel.

I don't necessarily want to work with another, but I would like to have a "check in" partner. Like, we both write, and then we hold each other accountable for getting work done. Other than that, yeah, I'm more productive alone too.
Isn't that a partner? :)
I remember your old post a while back ... We were supposed to scold you to write more?! Kinda failed as 'check in' Writing friend here.

I've just been approaching Writing with a different angle, to try, experiment, do different things. I like the idea of support, more than just a voice or words on a screen to say 'yeah carry on, you're doing great.' The thought of writing something, sending it to someone, and they writing something that you never thought of but totally changes the whole story ... sounds amazing and the thought of not trying ...
 

Darkkin

WF Veterans
From a writer's standpoint, an autistic standpoint, I have a tendency to flow toward the extreme end of introversion. (In school I would volunteer to work alone because I do not interface well with others.). Heck, I got off track this morning, misidentified a rondeau, learned about quintilla, read up on paradelle, wrote a tercet rhyme, a paradelle, and a rubiayat in less than three hours. I also figured out how to save the Wild Dogs of Tenebrous Wold and reset all the lost constellations with the help of Phi, a deaf hyena, and a roaring hedgehog. Almost a 100% chance there is not one person in a thousand who will understand one word in five of what I just info dumped.

When it comes to my creative process, it is huge, it is too fast and too complicated to work or play well with others. When my linear side is in control things are way more workable, which is why I can critique fairly well. Nonfiction is straight forward. Fiction is an endorphin high every single time. That level of energy can/does terrify normal people. It is too much power and information at a rate that is too fast for comprehension. How do you check the process that has never been tempered to accommodate input that is not your own in that moment. It is why I post for critique and actively critique once the piece is done. I don't draft with any of my projects, it is organic and the process chaotic especially when I'm the only one who can see the pattern. The whole pattern. How do you explain that when they get lost three sentences in. Too often I have had people ask me how I do the things I do, my process is just too aberrant to function as a cohesive, stable element with others. From a control freak standpoint, I have a way I do things, like the Mandalorian this is the way, disturb it or try and change it, talk about a meltdown trigger.

Social interactions cost me a lot of spoons, writing is a way I recoup spoons, to pay for a process I use to rebalance would quash anything and everything I have. I am alone, but I am at peace. I can look up facts on lyres, egyptian math systems, or explore the roots of words I don' t know. These are the weird tangents that can and/do occur in any given day. Subjecting the unwary to such a trail would be unkind.

Just some thoughts.

- D.
 
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JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
I'm not sure I have the mental rigging to split a writing project with somebody else. Too much off in the weeds, I suspect, and making sense of how my brain (and alleged 'process') works is probably akin to straightening a bowl of overcooked spaghetti.

The real truth of the matter is that I'm too possessive.

I've quit writing twice in my adult life. The first was after high school but before I left home and my parents, in whatever way, ran across one of my going projects. They said it was good - though this was after I'd figured they wouldn't say otherwise - and followed up by mentioning that I was probably so good (I wasn't) because they taught me. I was also lucky to have it for a talent.

Not because I spent four hours a night hammering out garbage in search of gold. Not dedication. Not how I saw the world and translated it on paper. Just something I chanced into, wholly incidental to my own actions. So I deleted that particular story and shredded what hard copies I could find. Wasn't mine, anyway, so no big loss. I didn't have much taste for writing afterwards. Not for two or three years at least.

I picked it up again about the time I started school. Minor hiccup this time; I made the minor mistake of showing a half-finished project to a roommate who provided feedback in the form of four or five semi-serious notes on a hundred pages of text, most of those unrelated to the content. Which would have been fine had he not bragged at some length about all the artistic talent (heh) in the house and how we were writing a book.

Didn't stay gone near so long that time. A month, maybe two.

You could fairly argue I was thin-skinned then. I still am, but more calloused now, so you figure it all shakes out about the same.

My two current roommates are dimly aware I write. My parents ask now and again, and I tell them not lately. I don't talk about it at work or with friends of friends. Truth is, if I ever finish something...if I ever publish something...if I ever amount to better than a failed white-trash experiment, there's not more than a handful of people who are ever going to know. It easier to discuss here because there's no baggage - what's on the page is what you get, and none of the messy entanglements you find with closer acquaintances.

So to make a long way around to a short point...the lonely part is the appeal. I just don't think of it as lonely so much. It's that one rare chance to construct something of your wins and losses and heartbreaks and fuck-ups. To distill some truth out of life that halfway makes sense. Used to be I wanted to be famous. I don't want that anymore. I'd like to be good enough to buy someplace in the middle of nowhere and figure out if there's any peace in silence.

If it works out, great.

If not, it's still cheaper and marginally less hazardous than meth.
 
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Llyralen

Senior Member
@JBF I haven't tried meth, but I could read that over a few more times!
To add to this thread is that wonderful moment of finding aloneness in another writer while you're reading. I feel kinship with Rilke because of how he wrote about it. I feel kinship with Charlotte Bronte because of her lonliness. The more alone I feel and the more I know some other writer feels that too... the more a part of the human race I know I am. I think I wrote a poem about that, that when I feel the most alone it's when I feel the most a part of everyone, because everyone sometimes feels alone.
Anyway, thank you.... what a gorgeous piece of writing this is ^... and why would parents DO that?
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
@JBF I haven't tried meth, but I could read that over a few more times!

For what it's worth...neither have I. Figure I've occupationally absorbed plenty of other fun toxins, though. It might explain some things. 🤪


Anyway, thank you.... what a gorgeous piece of writing this is ^... and why would parents DO that?

In hindsight, I imagine it was meant as a compliment.

It's difficult to offer praise to somebody with aspie tendencies. Sort of that looking-a-gift-horse-in-the-mouth deal. You make it to your twenties and thirties realizing how screwed up the world is, and from that point on you start realizing how screwed-up you are. Eventually it all kind of falls together into something like sense.
 
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Llyralen

Senior Member
In hindsight, I imagine it was meant as a compliment.

All things considered, it's difficult to offer praise to somebody with aspie tendencies. Sort of that looking-a-gift-horse-in-the-mouth deal.
I think it's affirming to a certain type of parent, but they might not have the imagination to know where else talent and abilities bubble up from other than what has been taught and molded by them. I'm afraid I'm assuming a lot about them with their statement. I have witnessed the type. Of course it was the best affirmation and approval they could give in their minds, I bet.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Well ... I never write alone. My wife is always right here beside me, and I read scenes out to her as I write them. And I have a lot of fun writing my own stuff. The collaboration with @PiP is a completely different experience, and it's more fun than writing normally is for me. However, I easily understand how what we're doing wouldn't work for everyone ... possibly only for a very few. We have tremendous personality compatibility and a shared sense of humor. It was an almost random match that simply turned into gold ... and a shared product we both look forward to expanding every day.
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
I think it's affirming to a certain type of parent, but they might not have the imagination to know where else talent and abilities bubble up from other than what has been taught and molded by them. I'm afraid I'm assuming a lot about them with their statement. I have witnessed the type. Of course it was the best affirmation and approval they could give in their minds, I bet.

The Law of Unintended Consequences gets us all, eventually.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I also figured out how to save the Wild Dogs of Tenebrous Wold and reset all the lost constellations with the help of Phi, a deaf hyena, and a roaring hedgehog. Almost a 100% chance there is not one person in a thousand who will understand one word in five of what I just info dumped.
I understood it perfectly - Star Socks Fox et al! No pressure, but I want this epic creation of yours to never end. In fact I'm gonna read through it all over the course of today, even though I am confident I really need to block out a year and that's barely scratching the surface.

I'm pretty curious about the Deeper Knight.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
@Darkkin @JBF
Your replies were wonderful, insightful and I could easily say ... a little bit of self reflected in your words.
I have only really started writing for 3 years, 2 taken up trying to figure out how to write another, this year, trying to figure out figuring out. I have quit Writing twice this year, not being strong enough to take on board words, the low self esteem drawing the mind away concluding that with a poor foundation, with a weak mind only damages, not offer that escape I find in the worlds I create.

I long for a friend to share my views, not to unravel, to sort out the mess, but just to see it. My processes to write? They are a mess. The last was 3 stories jammed into 1, 4 parts in a short story started as a simple tale of a walk in the park only for the mind to switch mid sentence to start another story. I opened another word.doc just to write the few words that were annoying me, to go back to unfinished sentence only to press twenty of thirty ENTER bars ... to the bottom of the screen, and start another story that pushed it's way in.

At work I thought of the story, a quote jumping in from no where, the 4th part of this story. Finished in 3 days, 10 hours, a first draft so messy, mentally exhausting, I quit writing because of it's effects. I posted about Writing Confidences here ... trying to see if others' have this problem, where writing makes you think you are awful, that what you made is exactly what the voices have been dragging you down about ... just stop, it is awful. Who is going to understand this? Dot dot dot.

@JBF I have read some of your pieces here and you are a brilliant writer. I have no standing in any place in Writing, and I don't really care, but it is easy to say your writing is great.
@Darkkin I understood little of what you wrote, yet understanding those feelings you carry. I live a life where no one comprehends ... looking towards my stories for others to see 'me' and even this I worry, constantly, that others read and think ... well anything.

I posted a story in the workshop, it has favourable reviews, which perks the spirits, quietens the demons, but one message made me feel, for once, I have attained what i wanted in writing. Someone resonated with what i wrote. This is something I am still trying to process ... the wonderful compliment of understanding.

I am not advocating everyone to grab a friend or someone here and work together to write ... it is just the thought ... of ... If

My aims were to finish my novel, send it to publishers, it will be a massive success, the story connecting with millions because of its roots, but I know this won't happen. I create short stories, to take my mind away from the struggles of life, letting writing, alone, make me a better person, not bitter at the strains of life and 'unfairness,' and through writing I feel less alone.

For me Writing is an indispensable part of who I am. It is a secret project not many know (not many even care in this fast world of Netflix and gossip.) I long for someone to hold my hand and say ... I understand. I hold no pressure in opening up to a partner, because it is all there in my stories, but if having someone, a friend, to point to where I am messing up, so that i can get my craziness out better, my random process doesn't seem so scary. Even at the risk of failure, at the risk of someone thinking how I work that I am odd ... I feel is worth it. I don't think you can ever escape the lonely process that is where the origins of creation begins, but I don't think you have to be alone.
 

Darkkin

WF Veterans
I might get some heat for this thought, but from a writer's standpoint, I honestly know that for myself at least, there is a certain degree of arrogance and slightly impractical expectation involved in my writing process. The foundations need to be unshakeable or it is scorched earth. Yes, there will always be edits, grammar correction, and typos, but the foundations of the world are sunk deep, as real and rich, sometimes richer than reality. It takes a bit of arrogance to say such a thing, to be that comfortable with your process that you are willing to challenge yourself, just because you can.

To be comfortable in your own skin as a writer and believe in your skills to the point where you can admit your a decent writer is often viewed as arrogance or hubris. Yet when the body of work has been opened to critique, to review, and opinion it does not falter. In fact, it is an impossible thing. The work the we have been so self critical of stands, takes the weight, and holds. People actually like it. While the soul is ready to accept the cruicifiction of its labour, as foundations are toppled, the mind is much more grounded. Some of us are our own worst critics, almost cruel in our own expexctation that it establishes a surprising skill set that can actually challenge the internalised scorched earth policy.

When you can face your inner critic and say: This is a good piece of work and know the truth in the matter, that is arrogance. It is a game of one-upmanship against ourselves. That drive to beat your own worst tendencies that is not something that is readily shared.

The reactions from admitting to others what you're inner critic has to say really tell the tale:

e.g.

How can you believe such tripe?

Who told you that?

What gave you that idea?

We are reading the same thing right?

They don't have this particular critic, the critic who has the skill set to dismantle work line by line. This is why the foundations have to be stronger than Roman concrete. There can be no gaps.

One other way arrogance comes into play during the solo process, actively critiquing others work to strengthen one's own skill set through basic roadwork and kitchen business, while still having grounded expectations for responses to your own work, which let's get real, can look like Mensa level logic puzzles to most readers.

Working from autistic, slightly smarter than average POV, you learn the baselines patterns really fast. What sort of work gains response and what type scares readers off. I can and do write both sides of the coin. Mask writing, if you will.

Tip: No one wants to do geometry that is posing as a poem.

And while I readily admit I will never be the smartest person in the room, I'm usually within the top five. (It offers more room for growth and more reasonable expectations.)
 
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indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
People have been a large disappointment for my entire life, and so I prefer my own company. Yes, I have a cadre of friends, but I mostly keep them at a distance - it's better / safer that way.
When writing, my characters keep me company. The solitude and immersion in a world of my own creation is probably why I enjoy what I do. I'm not lonely, I'm self contained.
 
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