Writing is a lonely craft. When a writer sits down to write—really write, not just talk about writing—there are only three components involved: a writing utensil, a blank page, and the writer’s own mind. Through the years, writing utensils and the blank page have changed drastically. Ink and quill morphed into typewriters, then laptop keyboards. The blank surface of papyrus became pressed printer paper, then mere pixels on a screen.
But while the instruments of writing transformed over time, their function remained mostly the same: to be a playground for the writer’s own mind.
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” (Virginia Woolf)
“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” (James A. Michener)
“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” (Ray Bradbury)
“You can make ANYTHING by writing.” (C.S. Lewis)
For the next month, I’m diving deep into the writing cave to make some headway on my next novel. I’ve been working on this one for a while, I’m stuck at 21,000 words, and I need something to push me. By the end of November (National Novel Writing Month), I’m hoping to add another 30,000 words to the draft.
I won’t be blogging until at least early December. But rest assured, I will be writing.
I’ll also be on Twitter. Why? Because I usually tweet when I write, even if only a meager “Need more coffee #amwriting.” And I’ll continue posting regularly to my FB author page, often in ways that provide hints to my mental state (if you haven’t liked my page yet, please do. I post regularly about coffee and writing, with some cyberpunk thrown into the mix).
Social media and events like NaNoWriMo remind us that as writers, we’re not alone. We desperately need this reminder.
But the truth of the matter—for every writer—is that the act of writing is lonely.
There’s a keyboard.
The blank page.
And the writer’s own mind—that fun place of chaos, characters, and worlds within worlds within worlds that have yet to be discovered.
“When I’m writing, it’s all the playground…” (Stephen King, On Writing)
Time to come out and play.