Does Solitary Mean Lonely?

There’s no way around it, writing is a lonely occupation. It’s just you and the words. —Scott Yates

(I feel like maybe I should send this guy a fruit basket or something. I keep getting post ideas from his emails.)

Anyway, I have to disagree with you, Scott. Again.

Writing isn’t necessarily lonely; it’s solitary. And solitary doesn’t automatically equal lonely. It’s funny how often people conflate the two. To be fair, they do often go hand in hand. But I think it all comes down to what you do with the time you spend alone while writing that tips the balance in either direction.

And who’s to say that your words don’t count for company? Our own words are often excellent company for introverts and creatives.

In my case, writing gets lonely when I’m writing and rewriting and rephrasing the same line of text thirty million times and it still doesn’t sound the way I want it to. Because the words in my head aren’t keeping me company then. They’re snickering in the far corners of my brain—if they’re not on a fast jet to some tropical paradise.

That’s usually my cue to save my draft and bury myself in someone else’s words for a few hours. Most of the time I end up chortling my way through a Julia Quinn Regency romance. (I love love LOVE bodice-rippers, but I’m actually really hard to please most of the time. I blame my master’s degree.) Something about the rhythm of her writing is immensely inspiring for me. Then it’s back to work, and I usually find the words I’ve been looking for sitting toasty and tanned right where I need them. Maybe sipping a Mai Tai if they’re feeling particularly puckish.


Side note: I’m moving to Knoxville, TN this weekend, so I might not manage to get a post ready for next Sunday; going mad with last minute details doesn’t bode well.


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