Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Solitude of Writing

Writing is a very solitary occupation.  In other professions, there is often work done in teams, meetings (perhaps too many meetings), and work done side by side.  When I did IT work, we were gathered into cubicles placed close together to maximize the number of people they could squeeze into a limited number of square feet.  I hated the cubes.  Nothing could be said without someone else making a comment through the faux walls that separated the desks.  I wanted to work in silence - I was bothered by the phone conversations and idle chit chat of my co-workers.  The commotion and constant buzz was a distraction.

Now that I am writing at home alone in my guaranteed six hours a week of complete silence spread over two days, I really long for the camaraderie of the workplace.  I have been very productive this week, even during the evenings when the family was bustling around in the background.  I was worried my baby's daycare would be closed because of snow, so I worked and worked fast just in case I didn't get the three hours of editing time in before my writing class on Wednesday night.  I really wanted to have a few polished chapters to choose from for class, embarrassed that the week before I read a first draft that was full of typos.

After an evening of frantic work and another three hours while my baby was at daycare (the storm missed us), I found myself printing polished versions of five of the nine chapters of the book I am writing.  I was so happy.  I let my family read some of the chapters.  Everyone loved the story, but, let's face it, it's my family - what else are they going to say?

It wasn't until I went to writing class last night, shared my chapter, and my peers shared theirs that I realized the importance of that act.  It wasn't as much getting validation from other people as being in a community of people who are working on similar goals, quite likely feeling as solitary in the pursuit of their goals as I do today.

My house is very quiet, and I am very tired today.  I think any attempt to write a new chapter would be a waste of time today, which I don't have a lot of.  So today, I will edit some more.  I will read as much of the remaining chapters that I can, mark the edits, and hopefully type up the changes tonight when my kids go to sleep. (Please, God, let the baby sleep.)

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