I've heard it time after time. I like writing, but it's a solitary art. Sometimes, I get lonely. I think that at one time I may have agreed, but in the past few years I have learned a few tips to make myself a "Social Writer," and prove that writing doesn't have to be solitary, unless you want it to be of course. The pen is enough company at times, but it doesn't hurt to share your love of writing, even as you are in the midst of the act.
Tip Number One:
Learn to write around other people:
I write in coffee shops, libraries, and on friends couches. My friends are accepting of my writing obsession. Spending time with other people can be just that. When you're younger you think that friendship has to be about entertaining each other when really it is about being the support that can fade over a long stressful day. If I have committed to one thousand words that day, but I told my friend I would come over and watch "Say Yes to the Dress," I have realized I don't have to choose one or the other. I can choose both. I either write on commercials or give myself word goals. I can watch five minutes after two hundred more words. Most of all I stick to my resolutions.
Be open. If you have a friend or maybe family who thinks that when you are with them, that your attention should be undivided, then you should ditch them. No, I'm just kidding, but you simply have to explain that writing is important to you. Maybe they have homework or work for their job that they can complete. They might have a hobby that they can do while you work on your own novel or story. Some of my favorite moments with my friends are while they plan their lessons for teaching and I finish a few chapters.
Writing with other people around can be just as fun as going to the movies or getting a few drinks.
Coffee shops are great as well because you get to people watch and everyone loves listening to personal conversations. This is also known as being nosey or stalking, but being as a writer you can pass it off as "RESEARCH" and call it a day.
Tip Number Two:
Share your work:
I try not to talk about writing all the time. I'm not going to lie, it's hard. I usually fail hardcore. When you love something so completely, you try to find ways to force the topic into every conversation. It's like when you first start dating someone and you bring that person up to everyone, but the mailman. That is how writing is for me. However, I do like to share what i'm writing with other people.
Your friends don't want to hear your work ALL THE TIME, but it is okay to ask them to listen to a few pages here and there. It helps you as a writer and you get to share your work with the people you care about. I'm writing a romance novel for fun since I'm nearly finished with "Grimm and White." (Insert writer jumping up and down and clapping here). Some of the material is a little ridiculous and I do dramatic readings for a few of my close friends. They laugh, I get to read some of my work, and we are together. That's what matters, the act of being together.
Tip Number Three:
Virtual communication is still communication:
I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that it took me an abnormally long time to figure out how to use twitter. I didn't get the whole word count thing, what was the point? Don't get me started on hashtags. However, now I have found this platform where I can communicate with writers across the globe. I get to form relationships and share my love for writing in a whole new way. For all the downfalls of social media, there is a lot of upsides as well.
I even started editing and making lines stronger, by seeing how I could condense the sentences to put on twitter.
Then there's my blog. I can talk about my writing adventures, by writing. Who would have thunk it? (=
John Greene said,
“Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don't want to make eye contact while doing it."
I disagree. Writing is something that you do on your own, but you don't have to be alone. Each word I put on the paper is carried by the support of my friends and family. I can feel their love with each chapter I write. They guide my pen and give me hope. When the doubts creep in they are the dragon slayers. The words may be mine, but they don't belong to me alone. They become the property of those who I am writing for. Not all of my work is about love, but they are still all love letters to the people who push me to me better.
Writing is not a solitary art form. Writing is what connects us; creating worlds that string souls together. If you need to be alone to get words on the page, then be alone, but know that there are people out there cheering you on.
The lady across the way from me, with the purple blouse and two babies, is laughing. I dedicate my next chapter to her and I dedicate my words to you, my muses, my friends, my family. This is all for you.
Happy Writing and Wishing,
About the blog:
Emily Ann Hansen
I'm a writer and teacher living in Baltimore City. I'm originally from Chicago. I graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Fiction. Instead of babbling, I will list a few of the things in life that make me happy: