On the first Friday of every month, Novelista Annie Burrows has been sharing a very personal view of what it is like to be a writer. And is dealing with themes in alphabetical order. This month, she's reached L...and has chosen to talk about one aspect of working from home that many can find tough.
"But hold onto your loneliness and your silence. They are part of what make you a writer."
I've got this quote pinned up in my study. I cut it out of The Author magazine some time ago - I think it's by Terence Black. Whenever I start wondering if I'm in danger of becoming agoraphobic, I read it and take heart. And remind myself that I'm not abnormally antisocial, no - I'm just a writer.
Because, you see, I could quite easily be a hermit. (Apart from the growing a beard thing - whenever you see a picture of a hermit it's always a man with a huge bushy beard. I suppose I could throw away my tweezers...) For example, when I go to put the bins out on a Friday morning, I sometimes realize that it's the first time I've been outside all week - and I'm not bothered.
I don't even like going out shopping. The thought of wandering around, browsing has always seemed to me like a huge waste of time. If I have to go into town, I try and get as many things done as I possibly can while I'm out. I write a list, get everything done as fast as I can and get home. And thanks to internet shopping I can have life's necessities, like groceries and books, delivered. Nor do I have to visit an actual library very often. I do most of my research online nowadays.
About the only time I really look forward to getting out of the house is to meet up with other writers, to discuss...yes, you've guessed it, writing. It's only when I'm in the company of other writers that I don't feel odd. They totally get that I have several stories drifting through my head at any one time, and that I would rather spend my day writing down the adventures of my imaginary friends, than going out for coffee with real ones. I don't have much of a social life, apart from having lunch with other writers, or attending writers conferences. But I'm not lonely.
Not at all.
What I am, is a bit of a loner.
I think to be a writer you have to be. You have to be content with your own company. Prepared to set your own goals and reach targets nobody else cares about.
And only a writer would completely empathise with Oscar Wilde when he said: "I'm exhausted. I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out."
That's pretty much my life!
Annie is currently working on her 21st book for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her next release will be in June.
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