A Sense of Isolation

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


Author: Diane Vallere

Diane is the author of four mystery series. Like her character Samantha Kidd, she is a former fashion buyer; like her character Madison Night, she loves Doris Day movies, like her character Polyester Monroe, she lives in California; and like her character Margo Tamblyn, she has a thing for costumes. Find out more at http://dianevallere.com/.

9 thoughts on “A Sense of Isolation”

  1. Safe is four letter word. Wow, that’s going to be my new mantra. Wonderful post, Diane – I am shy, and by nature a loner, but I am not alone or isolated. I pick and choose who to spend time with, and sometimes, that means spending it with me. I am a member of a number of communities. My family, my friends, my day job group, and most of all, my writing/reading communities give me enormous joy and satisfaction. Great post.


  2. Great post, Diane. I’m an introvert – not shy – which means I can talk up a storm, but then I have to seek the refuge of isolation to regain my balance and recharge the social battery. But I definitely wouldn’t be where I am writing-wise without a great community around me to cheer me on.


  3. Most writers I’ve known are introverts, myself included. I’ve always thought I could be happy as a hermit. Yet, as a writer, we need to interact with community in order to have the stories we tell. It’s a constant conundrum!


  4. Wonderful post. I love my day job. I’m an attorney representing injured workers against insurance companies. Interacting with my clients and opponents and going to trial on cases that can’t be settled is eminently satisfying. Especially when I win. A big pay-off is the human interaction. I can take it only in small doses but I need it. Kind of like exercise.


  5. Diane, this is such a great post. I kind of swing back and forth…depends whether I’m working at home (isolated) or on campus (surrounded). It’s much harder to write unless I’m isolated–need to “immerse” into quiet/calm for creativity purposes, but I am always energized by positive interactions with others.

    ps: Please don’t ever hang up your keyboard! We want your stories!


  6. Love this! Kait nails it–I think the “safe is a four-letter word” may be the mantra for a lot of us.

    Diane, I finally figured out that I’m an extroverted introvert, which explains why most don’t believe I’m introvert. Recharging is definitely a solo activity for me! Fantastic post; thank you.


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