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Challenge #2: Isolation

The Rich Writer: Challenge #2: Isolation

The Rich Writer

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Challenge #2: Isolation


Isolation is another one of those big challenges we face as writers. Let’s face it: most of us work alone, avoid the telephone, and spend more time with our favorite pens than our favorite people. With a large number of introverts in the writing community, many of us cultivate alone time. We thrive on it.


Even the most introverted of us all still needs occasional contact with other people—especially with other writers. Other writers can provide us with:

  • Support and encouragement: Every now and then, everyone needs to hear that they’re doing a good job. And no, your cat can’t actually provide the needed reassurance.
  • Normalization: things don’t look so bad when you realize you’re not the only one receiving six rejections for the same book on the same day…from the same publisher. It happens to everyone.
  • Networking: there’s a reason people network. Friends and colleagues help us to connect with future writing partners, business associates, and editors. It’s not about using people (which is why I disliked the term networking for a long time); networking is about helping people make beneficial connections.
  • Shop Talk: Whether you’re looking for someone to vent with about the current state of the publishing industry or a critique partner or someone who knows a bit more about social media than you do—talking shop is a great way to hone your ideas and knowledge, and collect info from colleagues.
  • Accountability/Motivation: There’s nothing like a writing buddy to help you make that word count goal, finish revising that project, or send out the novel you want to protect from the big, bad world. Accountability partners come in all styles, from Boot-Camp Billie to Sweets and Sympathy Sylvia. Find someone and team up with them!

People need other people—in small doses, perhaps, but even introverted writer-types need to rub elbows with others traveling the same road.

Maybe you know that—and don’t know where to go from there. More on tackling isolation in my next post….

:) Cheryl

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At March 25, 2010 at 11:56 AM , Blogger Saxon Henry said...

I find that getting out of my own way in my desire to hole-up and writer is my biggest challenge. It feels so good to have a string on unencumbered days for my projects, but I look up at some point and realize four days have gone by since I've seen another human being! Thanks for this post. It was really enjoyable!

At March 25, 2010 at 12:52 PM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

I'm with you--it's hard to find a balance between lovely isolation and too MUCH isolation. Thanks for stopping by!


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