Are writers loners?

Some say writing is a lonely activity and therefore writers are loners.

Writers are hungry for the world around them. They devour human drama, desperation, pain, madness, crimes, despair… In their hunger they are insatiable and thus – often difficult to put up with. But, I would not say – loners. Solitary, perhaps. Solitude as a choice of lifestyle, or rather – a necessity.

Just because someone craves solitude does not mean one is a loner. Even when the number of friends and colleagues dwindles, one is not necessarily lonely. True loneliness starts when one does not want to see friends, when one does not want to make new friends, and when one does not want to share thoughts or experiences with friends. Even so – it is loneliness by choice, driven by compulsion, but as such it leads to freedom. No?

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4 responses to “Are writers loners?

  1. “Writers are hungry for the world around them. They devour human drama, desperation, pain, madness, crimes, despair… In their hunger they are insatiable and thus – often difficult to put up with.”

    I would think that those are the signs of a psychopath… But, meh, I’m guilty of those things as well. Can I join the club?

    I don’t think it’s exactly solitude we’re seeking. I still enjoy spending time with people, but that’s a very small number of people. Because when you spend time alone, you also have time to think. And in today’s world when you spend a couple of hours each day thinking, the average person on the street will seem so shallow and trite that you’d rather cut your own throat with the fingernail you sharpened by rubbing it quietly against your chair than spend time with them.

    As for drama and despair and all that, then it’s much better to experience them yourself than to simply observe. I whole-heartedly recommend that.

  2. heroicmuse

    I would say that loneliness and solitude are two completely different things. Loneliness is the state of feeling that no-one in the universe does or could understand the way you see the world. It’s possible to b e lonely and be surrounded by people.

    Solitude is the state of being in a quiet place just with yourself. I think that’s what writers need and want a lot of. It’s a place to recharge and to dream. I personally need a lot of that, especially if I’ve been around people too long.

  3. Perhaps it comes down to the need for some place in time and space that is reserved for privacy and private dreams. Writers are exhibitionists, and solitude helps retain that little piece of them, without which they will simply become… expendable, much as their characters. As Francois Mauriac once said, and I quote from ailing memory:
    A writer does not entrust everything to his diary, correspondence, or friends. Only his characters tell the true history of the writer – the one which he never lived, but always wanted to.

  4. Yes. To an extent. We need experience to regale that one story we’re trying to tell. And it is indeed one story. It doesn’t matter if we write a thousand different stories. They’re all the same. I know that I prefer being alone. My life outside of writing is my mask. My solitude IN my writings are my reality. Perhaps we just don’t know what’s real. Perhaps we’re wound up in our own minds. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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