A lonely job

lonely“An artist is always alone – if he is an artist.”Henry Miller

Writing is a lonely job, no doubt about it. And no matter how successful you might become, you’re still alone. It’s the inexorable truth of the writer’s condition: you sit at your desk, in an empty room or in the most crowded coffee shop, yet you’re alone. You just do your thing.

Of course, this poses a rather interesting question: if you spend that much time alone, how do you find stuff to write about?

I find that a lot of aspiring writers tend to obsesses about the what part of their craft, sometimes long before they even figure out the how part. I know I was like that. I wanted to find that brilliant, one of a kind idea… and I spent an awful lot of time searching for it, rummaging through my mind for something that kept running away from me.

It was there, but it wasn’t.

And I’m pretty sure when I say that no idea has ever come to me when I was purposefully searching for it. No, ideas came to me when I least expected them to, in the bus, or when talking to a friend on the phone.

The best of ideas came to me when I was as far away from a keyboard, a pen, and a paper as possible. The best ideas came to me in the middle of the night, in the form of a bizarre dream that lingered long after I’d open my eyes.

In my humble opinion, writing is not about finding something worth writing about, something no one else has ever thought of writing down, something innovative and brilliant and all that stuff. No, I believe it’s far more important to find something you care about so much, and yet you don’t entirely understand, that you have to write about it, in the hope of finding out more.

Big or small, interesting or not, the places and events and people that define who we are will always make good literature. At least.

Because, sadly, it’s not enough to be passionate about writing. We all are, otherwise we wouldn’t be spending so many hours of our lives doing it. But we need to live, to discover, to experiment.

And maybe it’s not about searching for something we care about so much that we have to write it down, but about that something finding us.

This is not a mad quest for original ideas, but just a really long road to self-discovery.

Who am I? is the most important question we can ask ourselves, and no matter the answer we might give ourselves at one point or another, we’ll never stop asking it.

And writing is just that. A way for us to discover who we are, and what our purpose is, and what are we going to do with the time we have.

Yes, writing is a lonely job, maybe the loneliest there is. It’s not spectator art, you can’t write with a crowd behind you, with people cheering and clapping like crazy.

And there’s one more thing about writing: that we can never be sure that our message, what we’re really trying to say, is ever going to reach the right people at the right time. Sometimes, some of our messages won’t reach anyone. But we never lose hope that, if we’re lucky enough, our words might reach someone exactly when they need to read them the most.

Ultimately, one of art’s many purposes is to make us feel less lonely because, in the end, we’re all utterly and inconsolably alone.

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26 comments on “A lonely job

  1. This is a great post! Exactly what I needed to read at this moment.

  2. You reiterated what I’ve been reading (On writing-Stephen King).

    Reading about writing is so romanticizing it, in a way it’s an excuse for my reason for not writing it. Great post as always

  3. .. and having an idea in a dream, that’s such a good tool! Never happens with me, I am however more productive early morning.

    Writing is tough, writing good is tougher. Editing is excruciating, having all your sentences chopped off by yourself or others.

    I am realising this as I am seriously getting into it, rather than slacking it off as a hobby. ( I even proofread this comment) 😅 Thanks for this.

    And who is your favourite author, whom you studied for your craft(just curious)

  4. craigbednar says:

    These words suit my life so well right now. I’m teaching English overseas. Far away from the distractions of my friends and family. And finally, I am determined to write a novel. Thank you.

  5. Amra Ismail says:

    Wonderful post. But I do think that ideas spring up when you start writing just as you think that they do when you are least prepared as in a dream

  6. anyposs says:

    I’m honest when I tell you that this piece of writing reached me exactly when I needed it most.

  7. Amra Ismail says:

    Wonderful post. But I do think that anything even a busride could inspire writing. Sometimes writing could be tiresome especially if you don’t get a good feedback. But I guess if that’s what you like, then there is some happiness embidded in it :)

  8. Amra Ismail says:

    Wonderful post. Although there is some boredom associated with writing, if that’s what you enjoy then there is some happiness embidded in it.

  9. Pat says:

    I love this..you’re speaking to my
    heart. It is about self discovery and I love my alone time with my writing as it draws me into purpose.

  10. Oh how I love your words.. And I’m happy to belong to the lonely hearts club band 😊
    Keep writing – I love it..

  11. dvaal says:

    Ah….my characters are my friends, so I do not feel alone. Besides, I am lucky. I like me! Enjoy your posts, thanks.

  12. natachabeim says:

    I can absolutely relate to that feeling! Thank you :)

  13. ambikakhanna says:

    I share the same belief as yours- of writing not being about that one unique crazy idea but just something you pen down because you feel so strongly about, also in the quest to know more about it. Your words often hit the right notes :)

  14. dcavnar says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject! It truly is amazing just how lonely the act of creation can be, especially considering how many of us are scattered all over the world, attempting to extract something from our imagination. Whether we’re sitting in front of a screen, blank canvas, or a lump of clay, we are pouring ourselves out into our medium. Well, I wanted to let you know that your message was received by me, and from the look of it, lots of other people too! Keep up the great work!

  15. odesalle777 says:

    Beautifully and truthfully expressed! Whenever I see a post written by you, it seems like you speak to my soul. So I skip a few posts if I don;t feel like getting affected. You’re prolific and profound!

  16. amiezor says:

    Just wrote about this on my blog as well!! YES yes yes. The road to knowing yourself is revealed.

  17. shakeclouds says:

    Amazing words Cristian! I’m a researcher and writer in the free time.. I couldn’t agree more with you!
    Enrico

  18. rhondabreen says:

    True words and also good to know others face the same things I do. Thanks

  19. Wonderful work! I have to say I strongly hold to your words. Please look up https://theladyintheredscarfmindtalks.wordpress.com/. Thank you!

  20. ladytopazentr says:

    Yes! This is a wonderful post, and I really needed to read this!

  21. SaviSoul says:

    I’m presently in “the most crowded coffee shop”, reading this time, not writing. Yes, I often feel utterly alone, necessary when one is immersed in creating, but I often interrupt this aloneness to see what’s going on around me because I’ve learned that magic happens when I’m paying attention. I enjoyed your words Cristian.

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