Thursday, April 24, 2014

Is writing a solitary occupation?

Writing is a difficult business and it’s something that comes from inside of you, not from several people. Sure, we can discuss writing and share our work with others, but when the time comes to actually write, everyone else disappears. Regardless of how close you might get to sharing that experience with someone, the actual act of writing is still by its nature a solitary one, it is intimately personal. Even in the case of a collaboration only one author can write certain scenes at any given moment, one chapter at a time, each author taking a turn to create. A writer needs time to think about how to put the words down, to cross out the wrong phrases and take a break when said words won't come.

I was often asked if I could write to music or in public places. The answer is no. I covet my writing time. To me writing requires time spent alone, day after day, mental isolation to dive into a character's problems and conflict. To complete a book I need to spend lots of hours on my own, uninterrupted by noise, conversation or distractions. When I write I’m facing the blank page, talking to nobody except the characters in my head. Some days I may zip forward, others I may stall, so I read again and revise, over and over until I’m finally satisfied with it…it’s not an easy task, but the feeling of accomplishment at the sight of the final product and the readers’ appreciation makes it all worthwhile.

However, writing as an activity is quite funny if you think of it. In general authors are thought to be living in their own little world, we have to write when we're alone, but the best stories are born from real life events and oddities. That’s why I think it’s important to be sociable as writers and surround ourselves with people with common interest as ours and not only, people we can learn from, people who have a story to tell.

In conclusion, I think that the “solitary occupation” part is true. Of course, we may be surrounded by family and friends, a community of authors, editors, beta readers, proofreaders, cover artists, marketing and promotion teams, street teams, and last but not least, the readers. Each person plays a key role in bringing the book to fruition, but when it comes to the actual writing of the book, we are on our own.

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