Writing alone

The aspect of writing that is most bugging me today is this question: are writers all in it together or, as a whole, are they in it for themselves?

For the most part, novel writing is an incredibly solitary business. While there are some writers that are able to collaborate with ease the majority of them tend to be writing in other genres. Some partnerships seem able to weather the storms of a joint novel project – Nicci French come to mind – but the thought that someone else could be as invested as I am in something I’m writing sounds scary as all hell.

That’s not to say I don’t rely on other writers, I totally do. From the folks in writers group to friends that prefer to chat about the writing process, I’m really lucky when it comes to sharing these days. But that doesn’t mean I’d want to share the failure or the glory of any particular piece.

Is that typical? What stops other novel writers from drawing on the support and back up that a joint venture can provide? Is it the long held vision of the writers scribbling away in a solitary garret or is it the fact that it’s just much easier to get lost in your fictional world when there’s no one there to disturb you? Do I have to talk to people in the real world?

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4 responses to “Writing alone

  1. Firstly, yes (re your final question). Secondly, it just strikes me that we are way too possessive and controlling to possibly succeed at collaborative works. Like you want anybody to suggest how you tell your story – worse, to make it THEIR story as well. Screw that shit, this is MY piece and you aren’t having none of it!

    Okay, a little bit dramatic, but you get my drift. I just imagined that’s how most people felt…

    … also a big reason I could never probably be in a band. Way too controlling.

    Lonely forever, then!

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  2. it is lonely in that others can’t write your story for you. I joke in my writing group that when someone finishes their piece if they could then finish mine.
    But it isn’t entirely lonely. In research you’re engaging people for their insights. In your writing groups you are engaging people for their criticisms. In the coffeeshop or at work or on the bus you are at least observing if not engaging potential characters.

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