Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Being Alone

In that weird blog synergy that often happens, no less than two authors who I am very sure don't read each other have both posted about being hermits.

So now I'm going to, too. :)

It's something I find a lot of, in the writing world. And that's kind of logical, isn't it? We have to be able to be content in our own brains to be able to do what we do. And a lot of the time, what we do requires us to stay deep in those brains, undistracted and unannoyed by the day-to-day chaos that surrounds many of us.

I don't know any writers who are complete hermits and avoid all human contact, a la The Net. Of course, if they were that level of hermit, they'd be hard to know. But most of us love getting together for writer's meetings, conferences, book events, parties...and then are very, very happy to go home again.

When I first started writing, 10 years ago (I'd actually already been writing for three years, but I'd finally joined RWA and my local chapter), four of our members had attended National, and roomed together. One was describing the whirlwind that is that conference, and she said by the end, they were four people in four corners of the room with their faces buried in books. For me, that sums it up completely.

I love people, but only some people. I want to get together with them, talk their ears off and require glue for my own, brainstorm and be high-energy and soak in the support of their friendships. Then, unless such event was less than an hour (and it never is), I'm drained. I need to be alone to recharge. I know there are people who are the opposite. They need to be around others to have any energy. I think those are the people who go into sales and become CEOs. They can have it.

I'll hunker down here in my lovely office, surrounded by my obsessions, with my lifeline to the world that I can turn off at my whim, and be alone with my brain.


Karmela said...

Some people have remarked how surprised they are that an extroverted person like me is a writer. They picture me more in the center of things -- like a meeting planner (been there) or a dance teacher (done that).

Yep, I'm a dichotomy. I love the contradictory nature of my personality too. I'm a raging liberal who loves guns. A fashionista who drives a minivan. A mom who won't let her kids watch adult TV but who will let them listen to Ludacris.

Go figer.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Karm, that dichotomy is exactly why I adore you. :)

Victoria said...

You summed things up very nicely!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks, V!

Hmmm. Did you post on this recently, too? Usually it takes three to get me to comment on a "trend." :)

I'm too lazy to go check, though. LOL

Anonymous said...

Hey Natalie:
I don't like conferences . . . or travel. But I do love a gathering with other writers, a bottle of wine, and good conversation. It's one reason I am in a women's book group--at least vicariously, once a month, I get to talk about writing or books (even though I have nothing else in common with the group).

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

You seem like the perfect person for a wine-and-chat gathering, Erica. :)

I like travel, but only if it's just me and I'm flying. Train's okay, too. But I hate driving long distances, and traveling with the kids is exhausting...as you obviously well know, having just been through that hell.

Anonymous said...

Yes, in Dante's Circles of Hell, there is one reserved for travel with little ones.


The Girl You Used to Know said...

I thrive on the energy of crowds. Love it. But yes, I do have to have some down time...otherwise I get overloaded and shut down. I've always been a social butterfly. For years, I hated being alone at all.

Not anymore.

I savor my alone time, but only in small spurts. I would go mad if I was by myself for too long.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

LOL, Erica. :)

Thanks for weighing in, Mel! It's nice to see similarities even in our differences. It's also necessary, IMO, for those who don't fit the "mold" someone writes about to say so. Otherwise, people like me might make people like you feel like they don't fit, and that's not something I ever want to do.