People who know me, know that I am quite the extrovert. I’ve previously worked in large organisations, in places with a lot of staff and external clients, with loads of meetings and social contact. I’ve always been one for a conversation, a meal, a drink, a laugh, a party…you get the picture. So how does someone like me manage in such a solitary career as writing?
Like most other writers I spend the majority of my working week alone. Just me and the computer. Even the extra work I do for money (the stuff I do to prevent myself from starving and being targeted by debt collectors) is a home business/email and internet contact only thing (yes it is typing and writing too). So how do I stop myself from going barking mad (this is of course assuming that I actually have been successful here and don’t just have some delusional belief that this is the case. Woof, ruff, snarl!)
Some suggestions for avoiding becoming a bizarre writing recluse:
- Join your local writers organisation. In Australia we have a national body – Australian Society of Authors, and each state has a writers organise like Writers Victoria. Membership is reasonably priced and it offers the opportunity to access industry information and meet other writers.
- Take a part time job or casual work. Not only do you have the benefit of a little extra money in the pocket, but you get to interact with other human beings and potential writing subjects. I undertake two three week stints of full time casual work with a University every year just to keep me sane.
- Join (or establish) a writers group. Try to meet at least once a month. Its a great way to get your work reviewed, review the work of others, and swap stories (whine) about writing and the industry as a whole.
- Arrange to meet up with a friend/family member/colleague at for lunch or dinner at least once a week. It means that you get out of the house, see another human being, and have something to put in that diary of yours.
- Make the effort to attend at least one book event a month – be it a launch, a reading, a conference event or a free lecture. Stay involved.
- Attend any training courses/programs and events which may be of interest to you. This includes going to any cultural/art/music events. Expand your horizons.
- Join up and participate in various on-line author groups. It make take a while to find the one which is a good fit for you (and vice versa) but when you find the right group the rewards are endless.
Of course you may be perfectly happy being on your own! Do what ever feels right for you.