It was Hemingway who said, 'Writing, at its best, is a lonely life'.
Writing is something that we will often do alone, but does that mean it is a 'lonely life' or do we just have that need for solitude that makes one perceive that writing is a lonely occupation?
I can't say I've ever felt lonely when I'm writing because my head is so full of ideas and characters rattling around in there, chatting away to me in their raw language that I interpret and hone for the page. Time passes without me knowing, I'm engrossed in what I am doing. I look up and it's lunchtime already.
Sometimes we do need to share what we're doing with someone else, a collaboration or a mentoring, someone to coach us from the sidelines or dive deep into the fray alongside, to wrestle those ideas into a story, a poem, a song, a film script. I was reminded of this when I was out gardening the other day, alone with my spade and shears, rummaging about amidst a tangle of weedy horror, in despair because the more I weeded, the worse things got.
Then I looked up and there were my two wee mates from next door, Poppy and Mr. Boy, appearing silently from behind a clump of hydrangea. I encouraged them to pick up some tools and get stuck in but they just sat and stared at what I was doing. However, their mere presence and intense interest in my horticultural labours spurred me on and soon my garden waste bucket was full and the mission was accomplished.
Afterwards, the three of us retired to the deck where we lay in the sun for a while to bask in the glory of our achievements.
I've noticed in my work with writers that yes, the writing life can be heavy going at times, because we are essentially on our own and can get bogged down, tangled up, overwhelmed and it can be so helpful to have someone like Poppy and Mr. Boy who show up, hang out with you, encourage and cheer from the sidelines. Such collegial support can help restore faith and get back on track.
If you need someone to cheer you on, come and see me. Book in for a one or two hour mentoring session and, who knows, those two precious wee buddies from next door might pop in and join us for a cup of tea.