Writing advice by Stephen King

Making writing less lonely

There is one sentiment that successful authors almost always echo: writing is a lonely job. Stephen King tells us this fact in On Writing and Jennifer Probst makes the same point in Write Naked. As someone who writes for my 9-5 gig and also runs a busy blog, social media accounts and, oh yeah, crafts contemporary romance novels, I certainly spend a lot of time writing. So, how do you go about making writing less lonely?  

Is writing a lonely job

Here is my disclaimer: I’m an introvert on the very far end of the spectrum. If I didn’t see anyone other than my family for months on end, I would be perfectly content. Many writers are in my same somewhat anti-social boat.

However, for some folks, the loneliness of writing can be rattling. Writing sounds like a glamorous job – it isn’t. Much of it involves sitting alone in a room without distractions and getting sh*t done. If that doesn’t sound tolerable, then writing isn’t for you.

There are methods you can leverage for making less lonely though:

Making writing less lonely

Read compulsively. Writers are a bit crazy. Everyone knows that, though not all of us revert to substance abuse, which Mr. King reinforces in his book. If you read craft books by your kindred spirits, you will feel less alone:

Join writing groups. Now, take this advice with a grain of salt because many writing groups are filled with unmotivated hobbyists and, dare I say, are a total waste of time (Mr. King agrees with my assessment). I’m dabbling in one right now and, so far, the feedback on other people’s writing has been solid. My work is up in February, so I’ll report back. Who knows, you may find a new critique partner or beta reader if not friend.

Attend writing conferences. I attended two writing conferences in 2018 and I pitched literary agents at both of them. One conference was genre-specific and the other was generic. Not surprisingly, the romance writing conference was far more valuable for me and is the only type I’ll attend going forward. Conferences are a great way to network, learn and spend time away from the screen with other people.

Make a point to live. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s easy to lose all sense of time and space when you’re writing and before you know it, an entire day has gone by. I’m married to an awesome dude who is very supportive and also has his own interests. There will be times he’s doing his own thing while I write and we are just happily co-existing in the same room.

If you want writing to be your job, you have to treat it like a job and put the hours in. However, there are also many times James and I have date night and leave everything behind to simply be together (and we always eat together). Don’t let writing isolate you from the people who truly matter.

Don`t forget about self-care. Physical jobs are grueling on your body, but sitting all day isn’t a picnic either. To make self-care more social, you can do a spa day with your girlfriends or do a group fitness class together. Incense, essential oilsdiffusers and non-toxic candles are my jam, so I always have a relaxing scent circulating in the house (James gets to benefit from my Christmas presents).

How to find your writing tribe

What are your best tips for making writing less lonely?

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5 thoughts on “Making writing less lonely

  1. I agree with basically everything you’ve written! Writing is lonely. Being an only child was lonely, too, and I know that’s part of the reason I fell in love with writing in the first place. I love On Writing – It’s one of the best memoirs I think I’ve read. I want to read more (working on it – My goal is more than 17 books read and reviewed in 2019), and I’m learning more about a local writing center in a neighboring city. I’ve been following them on social media, and I hope to attend my first event with them soon. I want to research conferences, too. More to come. Great advice – Thank you!

    1. I have two older brothers, but they didn’t often want to play with me, lol. I was an only child for all intents and purposes 😂 I was in my own head a lot, reading and writing my own stories from a very young age. It’s not surprising to me that I gravitated towards a writing career as an adult. I’m quite introverted and when I write with James and Buster in the room, it doesn’t feel lonely. However, I’m sure for days on end as a full-time writer, it would be tough to have no human contact. I’m sure if you add a deadline when you can’t write with other people around and have to lock yourself alone in a room, it’s a totally different ball game.

      1. I have similar memories. I filled notebook after notebook with stories about my Barbies, the one American Girl doll I had from age nine on, and more. Sadly, I threw away most of them when I was a teenager! I’m kicking myself now. I wish I had saved them. But, I did save my famous blue binder, covered in stickers, that holds all my childhood short stories that I either typed or hand-wrote. I want to dig it out again and re-read everything.

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