Andi Cumbo - Writer, Editor, Online Writing Courses, Classes & Lessons

Writing Is Not Lonely, But Avoiding It Is

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You’ll never know what you’re made of until you sit long enough with the writing to move through the pulls for companionship (whether virtual or “real”). — Laraine Herring

I am agitated at the core of myself these days. Obviously, something is happening in my spirit – some cleansing, some burning off of the chaff, some rearranging of the fragments of myself – and I am tired, teary, and baffled with life most minutes of most days.

If I was smart, I’d be buried in words because of this. I’d fill pages and pages with the outpourings of my spirit. I’d read all day and all night. I’d let the rich curves and jagged spikes of language smooth me back to the place of peace.

But I am not smart. Instead, I run from words. I seek out distraction – Facebook, email, conversation – and I tell myself these are the things I need for my “work.” I am lying to myself. I am not working; I am trying to be less lonely.

“Writing is lonely.” People say this all the time; I’ve said it. But the truth is that writing isn’t lonely, not for me. As Laraine says, “I don’t feel lonely when I’m working. I feel the loneliness when I am avoiding working, when I’m distracting myself from the story or essay.”

When I write, I feel like I’ve walked into a forest where even the trees speak companionship to me. In my writing, I find a spaciousness, a richness, an abundance that restores me to wholeness. As I write, I find the companionship of myself to be quite enough.

So the struggle I have is not with loneliness but with fear, the fear that just one time I will come to the page and find it empty. It has never failed me, yet I fear it will. So I avoid, I busy myself, I seek out people when I know that human companionship will only aggravate me. I lie and say I am simply “working” when I am doing the farthest thing from it.

I must cocoon myself with my words and with my self. I must trust that this will be enough . . . as it always has been and always will be.

Lake – “Alone Among Many – Lake Kidelju

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Author: Andi

I'm a writer, teacher, and editor who is currently working on a book about the slaves who lived and worked on the farm where I now live. I blog daily at http://www.andilit.com I have three cats - Oscar, Emily and Charlotte - who have taken to living on the farm quite well - bird-, frog-, and butterfly-hunters all.

14 Comments

  1. this is one of the most accurate and best descriptions of writing that I’ve read in a long time. Thank you for this – it’s both inspiration and reminder!

  2. I grok your words–what you say is true of me, too. I flounder, and then find myself when I am working.

    Welcome to BlogRocket as well!

  3. Ouch! You hit me where it hurts with this one Andi. Why do we avoid words? Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I am worried I will only find disappointment with what I create.

  4. I’ve felt that way – too afraid to start putting it on paper because it would hurt too much to let it out. When this happens, I think you need time to process the feelings, and what finally makes it to the page will be cleaner and clearer :)

    Wishing you peace…

  5. I want to go to there.

  6. An excellent write! This is the way I feel definitely. If who you ARE is a writer, it makes sense that when you cannot write you become frustrated.

  7. Perfect description of me! Am I on Candid Camera? You couldn’t have described it better. Thank you for the push I needed this morning.

  8. Fantastic post. I think this will resonate with many writers who can’t quite grasp at how to describe this feeling.

  9. true, this is true and real

  10. You’re lucky you’ve never felt failed by the writing. I’ve had plenty of occasions where I was there and putting in the work, but the writing experience still SUCKED and it was a relief when it was over. I’m always afraid to start writing because I know from experience that there are good odds it’ll kick me in the teeth and I’ll end up wishing I’d done something else with my time. If writing really works for you every time then for heaven’s sake, pound that page, girl!

  11. I couldn’t agree with you more. I never feel more complete, than when I’ve spent time organizing my thoughts to march in a rhythm.

    Thank you for your insight. I look forward to reading more of you work.

  12. It’s like you took this right out of my head and heart. I do this all the time! Thanks for calling attention to it and giving me the slap in the face that I need to make like Nike and “Just do it.” Great post.

  13. “When I write, I feel like I’ve walked into a forest where even the trees speak companionship to me. In my writing, I find a spaciousness, a richness, an abundance that restores me to wholeness.” Amen to that, Andi. Just found this through Newbie Author’s newsletter – glad I did. Would you be interested in having this article featured on Murderby4? (www.murderby4.blogspot.com, 2010 and 2011 Writer’s Digest top 101 Websites) We are closed to submissions for the summer, but I’m selecting certain articles to feature throughout summer and I really loved the feelings behind your words. Let me know at aaron.lazar@yahoo.com.

  14. I’m actually more afraid that the writing will go well and I’ll become lost in it.
    There is also some guilt for me when I’m enjoying something so much as writing going well or rereading something I’m proud of.

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