As I have written in my article “4 big secrets to staying always inspired” – a novelist’s life should be exciting. If you haven’t had a Martini with the local soon-to-be superstar, what are you waiting for? Historically, writers were always out there with the crowd, first observing the society, then commenting on its changes. What makes a great writer is not their self-imposed isolation – but the discipline and faithfulness to the craft.
Here is what to do if you feel lonely as a writer:
- Come out as a writer. Even if your family and friends aren’t writing themselves, they may provide useful insights as readers; or at least listen to your complaints. If you are afraid of coming out of the library, here is some advice on how to do it.
- Stay close to those who care about you. Don’t neglect your friends just because they aren’t writing.
- Write outside of home. Cafes, tea houses, parks etc. are all good places. Nowadays everyone has a notes app in their phone so lack of paper is not an excuse.
- Seek writing people. Building your writing team is not easy, but it’s worth it. You can receive free feedback and reviews, and the knowledge that someone is waiting for the next chapter is very rewarding!
- Join writer communities. There are many of them on the internet, for example Wattpad, WritersCafe, NaNoWriMo…
- Attend creative writing classes. If there aren’t any nearby, sign up online. It doesn’t have to be costly. Here is a list of free classes (outside link). Simply listening to other writers talking about their own experiences will be enough to make you feel understood, valid.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your stories. If you need someone to read your story, or an opinion on a character you are not sure about – tell them! Also, telling your stories before you publish them is a great way to keep the people interested in your writing!
- Interview professional writers. Not necessarily professionally. If I find someone who catches my attention and have questions I’d like to ask them, I use the e-mail form or write them on Twitter. There is no need to be shy, and if you don’t get a response it’s probably because they haven’t seen the message or had no time to reply. It may also happen that they market their books in English, but don’t speak it. Try your luck with less famous authors – indies are the easiest to contact.
- * Write in another language. This is a major change, but still worthy of considering if people interested in reading your books live abroad.
- !!! If you’ve been bullied by other writers (which sadly happens)… Don’t tolerate this sort of behavior. Walk away immediately, before they manage to inflict even more damage on your self-esteem, writing process and work. Criticism should inspire improvement and empower; but if you feel offended, hurt or abused by other writer’s “earnest opinion / precious advice”, then they probably don’t have your best interest at heart. Don’t waste time with such people. Your dreams are precious flowers that need to be nurtured and not trampled on. There are tons of compassionate writers willing to support you. You just need to reach out to them.