Yesterday, I sat down to write a quick blog, and found my thoughts terrifyingly blank. It could have been the time of night and it could have been that I was tired, but I think the bigger problem has to do with isolation.
I tend to be a solitary person to begin with. I like time to myself and long for those rare moments when there is no one else in the house. For as long as I can remember, I have been shy and don't usually make friends easily. My closest girlfriend passed away almost two years ago, and I don't have that kind of close connection with anyone else. I can go days where the most meaningful phone call is from a telemarketer and the only adult I speak to is my husband. Sometimes I wish I had a job in the real world just for the human interaction, or that I had numerous girlfriends who called every week. But most of the time, I love the solitude. Just to be clear, I'm not looking for sympathy. I like my life.
Many of the writers I talk to are solitary people. Writing lends itself to this. It's hard to get those great ideas on paper when there are too many distractions. But this lifestyle does tend to present problems. Lately, I haven't turned on the television or radio, read a newspaper, or talked to anyone about anything. I've just been too busy. This isolation can be harmful to the writing life. Most of my ideas come from the world around me and the things I hear and see. I love to take the time to wander in the city and watch people, or keep up on the latest news stories. I like to listen to people talk so I can write more realistic dialogue. Unfortunately, I haven't made the time for these things lately.
As with everything, being a writer requires balance. Solitude is good. It gives me time to think and formulate characters, plot lines and settings. But I believe too much solitude can sap even the most creative of spirits. This is something I need to work on. I need to step out of my shell and past the shyness to establish new friendships. I need to make the time to keep up on the news and time to go out and people watch. I need to balance the need for quiet, alone time, with the need to get out and experience life. Only then will the ideas flow again, and my writing will come alive.