Wait, that’s hunting humans. “Writing is the loneliest sport” maybe?
Either way: not a sport. No one loses an eye. Eyesight, maybe… I am getting off topic.
Writing is the Loneliest Game
I used to, back in the day, write a blog to keep my diaspora of school friends up-to-date. I took the name from a scribbled note in a margin of one of my friend’s stories ( *[insert subplot here]). And it went well for a few years.
Then along came Facebook. So I tried to reinvent my blog as a writing journal, but as I was going through a bad depression and my creativity dried up… yeah.
RIP, *Insert Subplot Here, 2002-2008.
Here we are in 2016. Four novels later. Six in total.
Since June 2014–after starting Ashes–I’ve made writing a high priority in my life. No more waiting for inspiration to strike: I would treat it like a business. My career. I would set up a home office, I would dedicate myself to routines and deadlines. I would do research. I would sit myself down, no matter my mood. I focused my day job (graphic design) around this goal.
Naturally, working from home, there have been some slips along the way, but not many. My workshop is quiet, calm. Immersive.
I’ve hacked my writing process; on a good day I do 5K and feel exhilarated (previously it was more “brain leaking from ears”). I’m decent about hitting milestones.
I feel on track. Progressing.
I’m also lonely.
When Ashes was going well, when I was starting to write again for the first time in years, many of my friends were excited for me. Many thought it was my first novel and cheered me on thinking I was accomplishing a bucket-list goal. Perhaps even living vicariously. But after I completed Ashes–and Creampuffs–and started on Embers–the questions stopped coming.
Because it’s my job, now. And no one–
wants to hear about the minutiae of your day-to-day work life. It’s super-uber boring. That’s what impromptu clusters around the coffee machine are for: dissecting the minor victories and defeats of an ordinary day so that we don’t inflict that tedium on our loved ones.
But I don’t have co-workers any more.
My best friend is a writer. My social circle has plenty. And yet… we don’t talk about writing. In fact, I find the opposite: my writer friends are the least likely to want to know. They sometimes ask, of course, the same way that people ask how any work is going, with their eyes glazing over and no follow-up. It’s polite conversation. Social contract.
I’ve done this myself, so I know about the deeper level: when my own writing is stalled the last thing I want to hear about is how so-and-so has just sold another story or did three chapters yesterday. I listen politely, but inside is a well of gloom.
Jealousy is a lonely thing too.
I know I’m not alone in that response, I’ve heard similar sentiments expressed by friends and online. So I try to minimize. I avoid mentioning. I don’t want to be boring.
But writing is such a large part of my life. I have so much that I want to share and discuss. My unsatisfying compromise is to parcel my thoughts out into small, digestible chunks, easily skimmed and skipped as the listener chooses.
My cutie’s suggestion: why not skip the small-talk and potentially unwilling audience to go straight to a blog? I can ramble as much as I like, and no one has to feign interest.
I can’t believe it took me this long.
Welcome back, Insert Subplot Here. It’s been a while.