Writing in a Vacuum

I want to use today’s post to talk about something important, that I think a lot of writers forget.

So, I’ve been talking about Caladria a ton, I know. And if you’re sick of hearing about it, I’m sorry. But, it’s not going to stop anytime soon, so buckle up. I’ve only been a member of this project for about a month now, but I’ve learned so much. And it’s just a hint of the lessons and experiences available to me.

When we envision writers, we usually have a very detailed image. The lone person, sitting at a paper-strewn desk, staring off into space as they imagine worlds and characters, dust from the stuffed bookshelves floating in the ray of sunlight from the single window. The lone person. We have come to expect that writing is a solitary act. That creation demands solitude.
stephen-king-writingAnne Rice writing

And sometimes it does.

I’ve spent the better part of three years writing in a vacuum. I’ve written two manuscripts, and the only person to see even a word of them is my mother. And for first drafts, I think that’s all right. But, edits on Vessels have ground to a halt, even though the time I spend on them is really productive. And for the life of me, I can’t seem to devote time to finishing them.

Last year, I seriously considered attempting NaNoWriMo. I signed up, and joined my local chapter here in Salem. And then, in my post-Vessels haze, wrote a whopping 2,000 words of Cards. I then shelved it until the following February. But, during those 2,000 words I joined my fellow WriMos on Facebook, and they keep the writing conversation alive year round.

Now, in the heat of this NaNo, the page is constantly posting. Word Wars, prompts, and talks of starting a non-NaNo writing group.

Then this morning I received an email from the Caladria staff, a newsletter for the authors, that singled me out as the “All-Star Performer” of the month. I didn’t know such a thing existed, but they put my name out there, and linked to my blog. They did this because I’ve been talking about Caladria non-stop, and because I turned in Hunting Storm, and they loved it!

Which brings me back to my point about solitude. It’s not wrong to need time alone to get work done. But, you can’t write in a vacuum forever. You need the support and encouragement of others to keep you going. And, as much as people (co-workers, family, friends) ask after my writing, they don’t want to know the details. Even if they’re readers, they don’t really want to know the minutia of the creative process.

You need other writers. Even if it’s just once in a while.

Someone else who has some insight into this world of Collaborative Fiction is Andrew Knighton. If you click his name, it’ll take you to his post on the subject. Also, you really should add him to your reading list, seeing as he’s wonderful.

And since I’m linking to things, Caladria has just launched its Blog! Click on that bad boy if writing fantasy in an ever growing world appeals to you. Or if you just want to keep abreast of all the happenings as this project moves forward. You should also follow us on Twitter @Caladria1.

Anyway, Hunting Storm is done. I turned it in late Monday night, and received really enthusiastic feedback Tuesday morning. I haven’t gone back to read it myself, simply because I don’t have time, but I remember being really pleased with myself. It’s nice to know that my instincts about my work are good. I liked the piece, and had impressed myself, as well as my “Editor”.

So, now that there’s no pressing deadline, I can focus on school even more. Yay. Sarcasm. But, I’m doing well on that front. I went from an 85 in my French class to a 92, and I’m still killing my Short Story class. Speaking of which, I’ll update my reading page today.

Anyway, I’m falling behind on homework, so I’ve got to get going.

Blogland, have a great day! See you soon!


One thought on “Writing in a Vacuum

  1. I know I’ve banged on about this elsewhere, but I think this idea of the writer as the lone artist is not just wrong but counterproductive. We are so reliant on others for inspiration, editing, beta reading, cover design, formatting, and on and on and on, seeing writing as anything other than collaboration denies a vital part of it.

    And thanks for the link and kind words – always nice to be appreciated!

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