On the whole, I am comfortable in my own company. I’m an only child and lived for many years as an expatriate.
Despite this I have found writing lonely at times.
When in the grip of writing a story, I am happy, delighted even, to be alone. After all, I have an entire cast of characters in my head to keep me company.
At other times, being a writer can feel lonely.
Sadly though, the loneliness is not relieved by company.
Non-writing friends and family try to help, but they can’t. Non-writers find it rude if I call them for a chat and then suddenly, and obviously, lose interest in the conversation. Non-writers are mystified to be invited in, to then be ignored. Writers don’t do this on purpose – but when a character demands attention, we must listen. If a scene appears in our heads, we must capture it; to the exclusion of anything else.
Most people go to coffee bars to meet friends, to chat and laugh. Some people even go for the coffee. Writers go to be alone. To observe. Sometimes we go to be ‘not lonely’ but still alone.
During NaNoWriMo there are regional meet-ups. Four of five of us met in a coffee bar in Salisbury. We said Hi, opened our laptops and started tapping away, flatly ignoring each other. After a few hours, I closed the laptop and stood.
‘Same time next week?’
We are definitely not quite right.