Is writing a lonely pursuit? #amwriting

Most people who write do so alone. Yes, it’s possible to write sitting in a coffee shop, and in the midst of bustling venues of all kinds, but often, we don’t. Fundamentally, writing is about our innermost thoughts going down onto paper (or its electronic equivalent).

When we write, we step into our head and out of our body, to a place where the real world fades and imagination runs wild.

For all that, writing is not a lonely occupation; at least, it doesn’t feel like one to me. When we write, we become lost in another dimension that is rich with life and people. We step outside the ordinary and seek the extraordinary.

I often wonder at that perception that writers must be lonely; a view perpetuated by many writers themselves through their quotes and comments and interviews.

For me, there is a great difference between being alone and being lonely.


“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.”

Ernest Hemingway


“Writing is a lonely job. Even if a writer socializes regularly, when he gets down to the real business of his life, it is he and his type writer or word processor. No one else is or can be involved in the matter.”

Isaac Asimov, I. Asimov


“Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot if difference. They don’t have to makes speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

21 thoughts on “Is writing a lonely pursuit? #amwriting

  1. Love all of these quotes. That last one reminds me of what I posted about on Monday. The whole ‘write in a coffee house or library’ thing always irks me. I don’t think non-writers realize that there’s an environmental factor. Being out in public or in a new place removes the comfort factor, which can be a rather big problem. At least for me. Kind of need that space to pace or think when I hit a rough patch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t find “alone” and “lonely” to be much connected. I was an only child, with parents who both worked more than full-time jobs, so I grew up figuring how to keep myself entertained.

    Also, the great thing about writing (unlike being in a band, for example, as I was for a period of time) is that I can do what I want without having to explain why I want to do it. Convenient, since I almost never know the “why” until much later.

    There’s also collaboration. Not that common in prose writing, but very common in movies and television. I have a friend who’s working on a screenplay now with two other writers (one of whom is his wife).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Author Kelly Miles and commented:
    An excellent and thought provoking question. I’ve always said writing is a lonely existence, but this makes me rethink that perspective. When writing, yes, you are alone, or at least I am. I can’t work with the distractions of everyday life. However, with my characters, who any writer will tell you is as real as anyone else, I’m never truly alone and I like the thought of that. Excellent piece. Thank you, Georgina, for bringing this to light.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your final sentence is profound and thought-provoking. Sometimes, I wholeheartedly believe that my writing time alone is a sort of personal sanctuary for me – a chance to quietly reflect on the maelstrom of ideas, thoughts, and perceptions that swirl around through the voices of the varied characters in my head. Whether people view me as an introvert or anti-social is of no consequence to me, at least as far as my writing is concerned. I “need” that writing time alone like I need to inhale oxygen. It breathes life into me and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Thanks for sharing and best wishes for an inspired day!

    Liked by 1 person

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