As I get back into the swing of things, finally getting some work done again, I find myself noticing the loneliness of my chosen career more than ever. I spend vast amounts of time alone in a room, staring at a screen. This doesn’t bother me. I’m agoraphobic and have some serious social anxiety issues. I don’t handle face-to-face interactions terribly well with anyone I don’t live with or consider family. Despite that, I’m very much a social person. This is where the internet comes in so handy. I can talk to anyone, anywhere in the world via text without having to worry about whether or not I’ll be able to formulate my thoughts properly on the first try or whether or not I look okay, if my awkward is showing, if I’m standing funny, am I crossing my arms too much, what’s my body language about, do they think I’m ugly, did my tone of voice adequately convey my sarcasm, are they judging me, did that person who just walked by think awful things about me, where do I put my hands, am I gesturing too much, AAAAAAAAGHHHH–Yeah. I’ve got a subscription.
However, I’ve really noticed lately how much I benefit from having someone I can chat with (man, I love instant messenger services) about…well, anything while I’m working. I especially love to have people I can bounce ideas off of, have glance at my blog or a hastily uploaded image I’m working on, or even just keep me company while I work. I’ve found that if I focus too intensely on any one thing, I have a tendency to over-analyze. So, instead of finishing that header up at the top of the page, I spent DAYS arguing with myself about whether that shade of red was exactly right, should I do more to the text, etc. The day I finally reached out to an online buddy and said to myself “Screw it. It’s good enough.” and showed the damn thing to said friend, is the day I stopped working on it and finally managed to revamp this blog.
Some writers wax poetic about how important complete solitude is for their work. They go on and on about unplugging the modem and closing themselves in a silent room with no distractions whatsoever. Me? I thrive in chaos. I write with reruns of favorite TV shows playing, a handful of instant message conversations going, and constant beeps and bonks from my phone to notify me of any number of social interactions which need my brief attention. And my best work happens in this manner.
The trouble is, I don’t have nearly enough writer friends to toss ideas around with, to help me figure out if the sentence I just wrote makes sense. I need more writing buddies. I love to start “word wars” and battle to a word-count in a specified time limit, argue about ideas, help with research, and joke about the occasional 150 word sentence with no commas that found its way into a story. The ideal writing buddy, for me anyway, is someone more experienced than I with a twisted sense of humor. But honestly, anyone who’s down to keep me company while I’m working and be a sounding board is a huge help.
I often wonder if I’m the only writer who functions best with distractions. Maybe I’m not. Maybe some of you will hit that big “Contact Paige” button under my lovely new header and use the information therein to get in touch to help enlarge my arsenal of writing buddies. I really could use the help.
My name is Paige Nolley and I handle solitude terribly. Anybody want to keep me virtual-company?