Writing is a curious combination of solitude and solidarity. The process of writing a piece of work is often a lonely journey, yet it creates a product that is intended to be shared with the world. Hopefully the result is for a community to engage with a text and find comradeship through their shared experience and analysis.
So often my spurts of prolific writing have been triggered by circumstances where I found myself alone. More specifically, writing has been a response to what I have perceived to be involuntarily solitude. Bear in mind that I am referring to my creative writings, not any writing I have done professionally through my work as a grant writer or other positions.
My first foray into FanFiction came about by the reality that I could not participate in soccer, theater, or any other extra-curricular activities offered by my high school. This was because I lived 45 minutes outside of the district, thus I resigned myself to the reality that logistically I would never be able to commit to any club. Writing then became a hobby I could do on my own.
My current spurt of writing has emerged partially due to the deliberate self-isolation in which I have engaged over the last few years. This isolation did not manifest itself by choice or preference; it came to be because I was avoiding a relentless cyberbully and their flying monkeys. I didn’t know who I could trust and therefore veered on the side of caution.
I do not regret the precautions I took, given the severity of the situation, but it still saddens me to think that I had to repress my otherwise social self. Once again, writing gave me a creative outlet and a sense of direction/purpose when so many variables were beyond my control.
The cyberbully has since moved on, but casting aside the lone wolf lifestyle I adopted out of survival has proved a little bit of a challenge. I am getting better, though. I now take willful steps to increase my socialization. I’ve started a book club among my neighbors. I’ve gotten back into online writing groups. I go to yoga.
Still there is an inevitable degree of seclusion when one devotes a sizable chunk of one’s time to writing. It isn’t exactly a spectator sport. No one wants to sit there as you trudge through a particularly grueling chapter. But there is the hope that a type of togetherness will come with the finished product.