Writers know that often times, plotting manuscripts and hitting deadlines goes hand in hand with isolation. Sitting alone in a room with nothing but our screen and our imaginations, we shut out the real world and take up residency in one that we’ve created. When it’s time to finish for the day, we emerge from that zone, sometimes exhausted, sometimes charged, sometimes wanting to rush back the next day, and sometimes wanting to run screaming. But living in an alternate universe is part and parcel of our work.
Most people have experienced isolation at some point or another, whether by choice or by chance. For those in the public eye, isolation can be necessary, an antitoxin to living in front of the world so much of the time and having little control over our public image. For others, isolation can be crushing. It can be its own prison, keeping us from getting out and experiencing life.
In either case, isolation can be safe. And safe is a four letter word.
I find that I get caught up in the safe zone, and I doubt I’m the only one. There are days when I want to be alone and not leave the house. There are photos of me posted online that make me want to hide under the covers. There are reviews that deflate my spirit and make me wonder if I should hang up my keyboard.
But as it turns out, these words—hide, give up, safe—are not part of my day to day vernacular. And they shouldn’t be part of yours, either. We each have something to offer to the world, whether it’s writing or singing or painting or encouraging. We experience more when we get over ourselves and interact with each other. That’s the battery charger of life, the thing that keeps us all going. It’s called community.
It’s why we can attend conferences where time changes and rare face-to-face moments with friends take priority over sleep and return home rearing to go, ready to tackle whatever comes my way. Just think how we’d feel if, instead, we’d all spent that same amount of time in isolation?
What about you? Does isolation have a place in your life? Or are you surrounded by community?
Diane Vallere | @dianevallere