Alone But Not Lonely, Writing in a Crowd

“I know I should be working on my book/course work,” I said to Nathan this morning. “But the problem is my instructor chose the story A. I don’t know where that story begins. I don’t really know what the conflict is. I’ll never be a writer.”

“Let’s talk about this,” he said, and started asking me questions about the characters, the world, and anything he thought might help.

This all happened as he was packing up his lunch and preparing to leave for the day, which would leave me alone in a house where you would think I could get a lot of writing done. Except that I don’t. Or maybe I can’t. Or is it simply that, in my current state of confusion, I simply don’t want to write?

No that’s not it. I want to write. I want to create a story, a world. While deep down inside I hope that I write something good enough to be published, I know that I will never achieve that if I don’t sit down and write.

Nathan left for work. A quiet home. Do I sit down and write? No. I lie down and read, not even something new as I am rereading one of my favorite YA fantasy series (the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull). But thoughts begin to distract me, and I just down some ideas on my yellow pad. I finally think I know where the story can begin.

I hop into the shower, and a chapter begins to write itself in my head.

Of course, out of the shower, over at my computer, the first thing I do is check Facebook.  Uh oh! I think, time to make a move away from the lonely so that I can get some actual work done.

I’ve written about before about the pros and cons of a coffee shop office. The truth is there are times when I want to be in the comfort of my own home, locked away in the privacy of my office, working. But, recently I find that I accomplish more when I get myself out of the house, take myself to one of the two or three locations that have internet access and wall plugs, buy myself a warm drink and a little snack, and then face the blank screen.

I guess there’s just something about being alone in a crowd that helps me focus.

Today’s writing location. I’m sure you can figure out where it is.

It seems to have worked. I have managed to write a chapter, edit some others, write a rough draft of a 1500 word summary, and now I am working on this blog post.

I was going to quit after I finished the summary, but I hopped over to Facebook to find that blogging buddy Mckenzie is attempting to write at a bakery in the hopes that it will help her write. We chatted for a minute and I started this post. She is typing away (I hope) on a chapter as we speak.

See, I’m not alone. We had a short chat and it inspired this post. Writing can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be.

For me, at least, it seems I write better in a crowd. How about you?

25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Katie
    May 15, 2012 @ 14:02:07

    It seems like a pretty good idea to write out and about: you get to observe people, you’re out of your familiar house, and delicious and necessary coffees are easily accessible. I think that would be too distracting for me, but I’m glad you found something to help you get to work!


    • Lisa Wields Words
      May 15, 2012 @ 14:21:50

      It only works for me because I don’t have the distractions of a regular day job at the moment. I need to feel like I’m not alone in the world. Sometimes though, I just want to be at home. It all depends on the day.


  2. Taochild
    May 15, 2012 @ 14:02:08

    Hmmm. Food for thought. Too bad not an option for me these days. But makes sense. Good for you!!


  3. Julie Frayn
    May 15, 2012 @ 14:08:37

    I’m never good in a crowd. l like home, in my room or my kitchen or in my easy chair. I write best with loud music and not logged into facebook or twitter. I focus so well at work with all the distractions there, but at home I am a shiny object girl. Anything pulls me away, so I have to remove those from my line of vision.


  4. 4amWriter
    May 15, 2012 @ 14:10:12

    No, I fare much better in my house all by my lonesome. And that’s because when I am at a crossroads in my project, I must think out loud. Crazy but true. I get up and walk around my house talking out loud about all the possible choices my characters have and what they might do next, what would be the most compelling choice. I think much better when I can hash it out vocally.

    Only downside to this is that my dog thinks I’m talking to her, and she follows me all around the house, listening with that typical tilted-head mannerism dogs have.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      May 15, 2012 @ 14:20:09

      Oh, trust me, I do that too. I talk to myself in the car. I talk to myself when I am home (and two dogs follow me around) I sometimes talk to myself even in the public writing places. I’m sure people think I am crazy, but as long as I am getting work done I don’t care.


  5. Andra Watkins
    May 15, 2012 @ 16:55:01

    My blog is my crowd writing, and my novels are my lonely writing. They both work. Somehow. 🙂


  6. sterlingsop
    May 15, 2012 @ 17:09:41

    I am so with you there – the curse of Facebook has struck me so many times I can’t even count them!


  7. Kathryn McCullough
    May 15, 2012 @ 18:16:36

    I can’t write anything unless I’m alone and things are quiet. However, I love to do art projects when I’m not alone. Weird how we work. Glad you got some writing done.


  8. orples
    May 15, 2012 @ 18:28:54

    I prefer to be alone when I write. But my stories are generally children’s stories and sometimes I draw the actions before I write about them. What ever works at the time is what I go with. Sometimes just a word or two can spark a landslide, and at other times I feel like I’m tunneling through rock. I don’t know how you write with distractions, such as in a cafe. I doubt I’d be very productive there. But to each their own.


  9. Geoff
    May 15, 2012 @ 19:11:13

    I have to confess I like your stories where you start out by writing about not writing and how it grows and develops and before you know it … there’s all this stuff … these words and thoughts … this writing (about not writing) 🙂


  10. thepetalpusher
    May 15, 2012 @ 20:48:44

    I like the mood of this piece, Lisa. It’s hopeful. And I must say that writing in a crowd or when I’m really busy is always helpful. Good for you!


  11. Dana
    May 16, 2012 @ 00:12:07

    I seem to write better outside of the house as well, Lisa. There’s just too many distractions at home– chores, cooking, mindless internet surfing, etc. For some reason, it’s easier for me to concentrate in the midst of a bustling coffee shop than it is in the dead quiet of my expectant home. (It’s like my apartment walls are waiting for me to produce something… tapping their fingers impatiently. These walls feel unwavering and judgmental compared to the easy flow vibe of the coffee shop. It makes no sense, I know, but I get where you’re coming from.)


  12. teeceecounsel
    May 16, 2012 @ 00:41:53

    Alone but not lonely. Beautiful one!
    Whether or not there’s a crowd, I write. Except someone starts up a conversation that I can’t escape. I love to type with my phone; with it, I write volumes without even feeling it! It works anywhere and anytime. I’m smiling because I’m in somewhere funny right now! 🙂


  13. CMSmith
    May 16, 2012 @ 15:17:00

    I don’t know if it is the crowd that is important, or just the fact that I am away from home sometimes. I need to do that more often. I’m glad the writing is moving along for you.


  14. winsomebella
    May 22, 2012 @ 15:29:34

    There is value to be gained in the energy of being around other people. I usually do best with a certain gauge of accountability too–be it a deadline or a promise to a friend that I will share something with them by a certain date. Sounds like you are on a good roll of productivity 🙂


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