Overcoming Writer’s Isolation

A writer friend and I were corresponding recently. She was struggling with her current manuscript and finding it difficult to continue. She’d been getting in some productive writing time, but for a reason unknown to her was feeling discouraged. I recognized her symptoms—it wasn’t Writer’s Block. She was wrestling with something far worse. I call it Writer’s Isolation.

Writing is largely a solitary pursuit. We lock ourselves away in our offices, turn on our favorite playlist, and cut ourselves off from this world. This never comes without a price. Writing requires focus, dedication, passion, and a dream that cannot fully be understood by those who aren’t writers. While family and friends may offer a tremendous amount of support, they have a hard time relating to the frustrations that come from spending long hours alone at the keyboard.

/word-weavers/”>Find out more here, or, come to the Writing for the Soul conference! There’s still time to register.

This is why organizations like the Christian Writer’s Guild are so vital. The Guild doesn’t just offer courses to improve your craft or sponsor events that introduce you to agents and publishers. They provide a way to foster friendships among kindred spirits.

I’ve met many of my writing companions during my time as a Craftsman and at various Writing for the Soul Conferences. I’ve also found a community of writers through Twitter and Facebook. Chances are we’ll rarely, if ever, meet in person. But just knowing we’re on similar journeys goes a long way in forming a bond. We encourage each other, brainstorm, congratulate accomplishments, swap stories about our real lives, and, as a result, are reminded of why we chose this path in the first place: To inspire others and ourselves.

Scripture affirms that Christians, regardless of their craft, are never meant to undertake life’s journey alone. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls alone and has no one to help him up” (Ephesians 4:9-10).

If you’re struggling with Writer’s Isolation, don’t drop your pen in despair. Seek out a fellow traveler who can help you through whatever sludge is dragging your feet down. But most importantly, remember God’s greatest promise, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go” (Matthew 28: 20b).

You are never alone.

Jennifer Lindsay is an avid reader who draws much of her writing inspiration from the scenic Northwest. She began the Guild’s Apprentice course while earning her bachelor’s degree in English and writing and has since completed the Journeyman and Craftsman courses. A full-time editor, Jennifer also enjoys volunteering with local youth.

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3 Responses to Overcoming Writer’s Isolation

  1. Mark Sylvester says:

    Thanks Jennifer! Writers are not loners. We prefer to be alone when we write, but are as sociable as most people, especially when with others of like minds. Unfortunately, along with the mentality of the masochistic writer, is the thought “writers have been condemned to this mental illness without a cure–we must suffer alone and in isolation because of this gift given to us.” Blather! Thank God for writing conferences/chats/blogs/twitters/facebook/critique groups, but the greatest of these is one-on-one time with another writer. Hopefully, I’ll see some of you in Denver this thursday.
    Yes–we are not alone!

    • Jennifer Lindsay says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Mark. It really is amazing how God can use a weekend meeting to foster a long-term relationship that will encourage and challenge you for years.

      This will be the first time in a few years I’m unable to attend the Writing for the Soul Conference. However, I am praying for everyone who is in Denver this weekend, whether seeking direction in their writing or presenting manuscripts for potential publication. God bless!

  2. Terry Murphy says:

    So true, Jen. What we do needs focus and concentration, which generally requires time without distraction to accomplish the job. But isolation can not only bring discouragement, it can foster a false sense of the quality of our work. I also find if I don’t pull away from the computer and do some “face time” with life and people, I also lose my ability to target the right topics or care enough about the people for whom I write.