Writing can be a very lonely process, as many have noted before me — hours spent in front of a computer screen, typing and talking to yourself. After a while, it either gets to you or you forget that there is such a thing as a world outside the one you’ve created. But does it have to be so brutally individualistic? In the opinion of this writer, no. I think there are two ways that writers are inherently social creatures.
The first is research. My favorite novels are those that hold a mirror up to the real world. How could an author effectively do that if they don’t engage with that world? I like to do a lot of research before I get down to writing something new and that has opened up many interesting new fields to me. I get to talk to new people and learn tons of otherwise useless information. It makes me a more well-rounded person and it will also come in handy if I ever find myself in the Cash Cab.
The second way I think writing is more social than we’ve been led to believe is the phenomenon known as bragging. Writers love to tell people that they’re writers. We’re self-absorbed, egotistical maniacs who want attention. Well…I am, at the very least. Not only do I like telling people that I’m a writer, other people tend to be excited, too. (What they don’t realize is that they’ll probably end up in my next project.) And if we find someone else with a literary inclination, we’ve found a new best friend.
For something that is often so isolating and has been stereotyped in the popular culture as a solitary experience, it starts to look surprisingly social when you take a step back. Wild, huh?
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