Friday, August 17, 2012

Life Lessons—Conquering Loneliness


By Reba J. Hoffman

One of the greatest challenges you’ll face as a writer is loneliness. You sit for hours on end staring at a computer screen as it fills with word after word as you type away. It’s necessary in order to create that magnificent book you have in your heart. But, it does have its downside, and loneliness is that slippery slope.

Fortunately there are several things you can do that will help you combat writer isolation and loneliness. Here are just a few.

Write in a public place. Sometimes just being around other people—even total strangers—helps you feel as though you’re connected. My favorite spots are Barnes and Noble CafĂ© and Panera’s.

Get writing buddies. There is nothing more soothing than to get an email of support from one of your writing buds. Because they know exactly what you’re going through, they have just the right words to chase away the feelings of isolation and keep you connected with other humans.

Join a writer’s group. Being able to gather with other writers on a regular basis not only keeps you connected and feeling less lonely, it builds in personal accountability. Just thinking of meeting with other writers propels you forward in your word count.

Make author friends online. Authors—yes, even those famous best-selling ones—combat loneliness as well. Most love to make online friends with their readers and fans. Send them an email of encouragement. What you may get back could be the beginnings of a great relationship. My relationship with good friend, Susan May Warren, began just that way. Brandilyn Collins and I share a wonderful relationship that began online. Rachel Hauck, Beth K. Vogt, Lisa Jordan, Edie Melson… the list goes on.

Remember the Dream. When writers are combatting loneliness, they somehow feel they’ve been banished to their room and sentenced to type while the rest of the world has fun around them. Most, if not all of those “fun having” people outside your window don’t have a dream. Otherwise they’d be pursuing it, just like you. You’re dream of being a published author is honorable and noble. Not to mention a way to really change people’s lives.

While loneliness is an occupational hazard of being a writer, there are things you can do to keep it at bay. Find your own way around it. You can do it. After all, you are the creative one.

How do you combat WriLo?


Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching (www.magellanlifecoaching.com). She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at reba@magellanlifecoaching.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.

10 comments:

  1. I combat WriLo by talking to Rugby, my adorable Papillon. He is the best of listeners.

    My daughter, also a writer, and I occasionally enjoy "writerly times" at Paneras. Not sure I'm as productive as I could be, but we do have fun.

    Mostly I enjoy writing alone in my quiet house. For me, it's important to stay in touch and spend time with family and friends when I'm not writing.

    Thanks for the post and the tips.

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  2. Johnnie you sound like a very healthy writer. You instinctively put things in place to protect you from WiLo. Bravo!

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  3. Reba,
    One of the ways I combat WriLo is through My Book Therapy. Every Monday and Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. I tune in to this wonderful group of women who make me laugh while they share information that I don't think I could get anywhere else. Going to conferences is another way of connecting for me. I have no idea how I found MBT or the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. (I am sure it was one of those divine moments where they just fell in to my life and changed it forever.) The conference was exhausting, but I learned more there than I could have ever imagined. I met so many great people, fellow writers, who have the same dreams and goals as I do. They gave me hope that I can also be a published author and by connecting with them through Facebook I have learned so much about the business of writing.

    Look forward to meeting you in person in Dallas,
    Earleen

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    1. Earleen, I'm so glad you have found individuals and groups that can help you.

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    2. Hi Earleen,
      I am unfamiliar with MBT (I did google them, though). What occurs on Monday and Thur. nights at 8:00pm? I didn't see anything on their website about this.

      Thanks

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    3. Jonah, My Book Therapy (www.mybooktherapy.com) as you've seen is a place to share your writing journey, gather inspiration and instruction. On Monday nights from 8-9pm EST is a free, open chat about the industry. Then, Thursday nights is a slightly more advanced chat open only to paid members of My Book Therapy. About once a month, there's a special open house where those curious can see what's available to paid members. I think the monthly rate is around $14-$16. I'm really not sure.

      Reba is on staff at MBT as the Member Care Coach and I'm on staff as the Social Media Coach. Since my expertise is social media and non-fiction, I've learned a ton about fiction writing from being a member of My Book Therapy. Feel free to email any of us for more information. ediegmelson@gmail.com.

      Blessings, Edie

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  4. Your recommendations are right on, Reebs!
    I like texting my writing buddies too. Sometimes there's not enough time for a phone call, but there's always time for a quick text to stay in touch.

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  5. Thank you for the post, I found it quite helpful. I don't know any other authors so it does get difficult at times. God bless you.

    Glenda Parker

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    1. Glenda, of course you do! You're part of the community of writers here online. Sometimes it may seems like you're alone, but you're really not. Email me anytime. Blessings, E

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  6. Love these suggestions, Reba. I'm an introvert (guess lots of writers are) so I don't need much face time with people. Sometimes I even convince myself I don't need any, but that's not true. I joined a writers group and feel much more connected to others, as well as to my work. Also, I have online friends who I touch base with almost daily and I comment on blogs like this one to help me feel a part of an online writing community. I also get outside every day for a walk, to go to the gym, or out to dinner. Thanks for the reminder to stay connected with people!

    Love you blog's new look, Edie!

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