The Dangers Of Writing

I’ve noticed something about all of us writers: We are, for the most part, solitary creatures. Of course there are exceptions, but as a general rule, I believe writers tend to be introverts. We can go for days without any outside human contact.

Is this a good thing? Well, I think it can be. But just like everything else, too much time alone can have a negative effect on us.

For example.

While I was working on Final Final Revisions for PULL, I spent a lot of time in front of my computer, lost in a fictional world. This wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t have A) a full-time job and B) a husband and baby daughter. Every day, I would come home from work, put Baby Girl down for her afternoon nap, and crank out some edits while she rested.

Everything was fine until about two hours into my revision time, when one of two things would happen: Baby Girl would wake up or my husband would come home. Either way, I was interrupted.

And for a moment–just the briefest of seconds–I would totally resent whichever one of them interrupted my FLOW.

Which means that basically, at that instant, I considered my FICTIONAL people more important than my REAL people.

And that’s a little bit messed up.

Writing is such a noble pursuit. It can be such a wonderful job and hobby. But I think it’s important to strike a balance between alone time and social time. Let’s take care not to shut down and hibernate in our literary worlds.

What struggles do you have in your Writer Life? How do you deal with it?

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16 thoughts on “The Dangers Of Writing

  1. Starr Parnell says:

    So just replace writing with painting or creating in a more tangible sense… and you’re talking about me! I at least don’t have a baby in the mix but it is a very conscious thing for me to make sure I still put forth effort to see my husband (and yeah, we live together in a tiny apartment, but it is easy not to really see each other somehow!? crazy huh?) I get so consumed with making products for other people and their gifts that I have to make sure to still acknowledge that MY life and MY family need that attention too. I feel ya. I’ve been giving up sleep to try to meet that balance but it isn’t really a healthy balance and is about to implode… I’ve even resorted to trying to do some of my felt cutting while commuting on the metro – i get some strange looks 🙂

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Ha! I can just see you snipping away in your seat. That’s pretty funny! I don’t really know what the solution is; I’m just having to settle for less time spent at the computer, period. Until the day comes when I can write full time, I just can’t give it the time and attention I want to give it because there are other more important things that need MORE attention.

  2. hal lilburn says:

    It’s true, my family complains that I’m on the computer too much. I think I am too. So I try to write in notebooks or use a dictaphone. It changes my pace and gives my family a different image beside puter bum. I also try and write when they aren’t home.

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Yeah, I’m trying to write before my husband gets home and while my baby is napping. Otherwise I feel like I’m missing out on too much family time.

  3. Clare Davidson says:

    I think it’s natural, rather than messed up. We all have moments where we just want ‘a bit more time’ before we have to deal with other people – even if those other people are our own children! I love my daughter to bits, but I look forward to her having an afternoon nap so I can get some ‘me time’ and by that I mean ‘writing time’, because that’s all I do with any bit of time I get to myself!

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Yeah, I think you’re right in a way–it is natural. I think my fear for myself is that I will get SO caught up in my fictional world that I don’t give my family the attention they deserve! This goes for any job, though, don’t you think? Not just writing!

  4. Charity Bradford says:

    I’m so with you! The worst part for me is that the rest of my family is busy too and I find that I turn to the blogging community more and more for my personal validation. I’m either writing or blogging. Hubby and I had a long talk about this last night. I reminded him how it used to be when we were teens. Anytime my life at home went crazy, he was the person I called. He always made me feel like everything would be all right. It hasn’t been that way for a while. We have our own teens now and his work/life balance is off as much as my writing/life balance.

    I guess what I’m getting at is, for me, I had to remind him that I would prefer to spend more time with him. I would prefer to rely on him, but it’s going to take a lot of conscious effort from both of us.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to go on and on. Writing life balance has been a constant trial in my house. And Nano starts tomorrow. *head smack*

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Yes, I totally get what you’re saying. It’s easy to turn to the online community because there is ALWAYS someone there, and they are writers like us, so we feel like they “get” us. It’s been a struggle with us as well; my husband plays rugby and likes to work out a lot. So that’s what he has to balance. With me, it’s writing, and of course we both work full time. Time management is essential!

  5. Alexandra Shostak says:

    That happens to me, too. I get annoyed with anything and everything that interrupts me when I’m in the zone. I’ve been known to snap at or ignore people who try to talk to me while I’m writing in my little notebook that I keep for recording ideas.

    Sometimes I actually have to force myself out of the house and remind myself that interacting with people and with the world is where ideas come from.

    1. Anne Riley says:

      It totally is. In fact, Veronica Roth has made it a point to get out of her house a few times a month and just walk around her city. She doesn’t write at all on those days. She just experiences life. And she says this has made a big difference for her!

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