Writing is known for being a solitary pursuit. While there are writer’s groups and ways to create a network around writing, the work itself has to be done alone. Chatting with friends cuts into writing time. It’s easy for a write to tumble into THE ANTI-SOCIAL BUBBLE aka the thunder dome where no one makes eye-contact or speaks. It’s even easier when the creative life takes a nosedive and depression crawls in.
You get wrapped into the world of writing and see relationships drift away until you look up to see you’re a thousand miles from where you started with no one there to help and little energy to even call for help. There’s a reason that the classic image of a writer is someone alone with nothing but a bottle keeping them company. Writers tend to be introverted but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need people, social contact and to remember how to say hello and have a conversation. Having a rich fantasy life won’t save you from having to still call the phone company, interact with readers/reviewers/editors/people or any number of other things.
Not to mention that writing can be an emotionally draining and challenging roller coaster. I always fall into a heavy crash after I finish a project and even though I don’t want to be around people, it’s what I need to help get me out of my funk and into the next project. A support system can be a lifesaver.
Here are five ways that I try to get myself out of the bubble and back into being a somewhat functioning part of life.
1. Make plans in advance
Know that you’re finishing a draft at the end of September and going to crash emotionally? Make plans with a friend to do something you’re excited about. It could be a big trip, or it could just be watching a TV show you’ve been meaning to catch up on. Have those plans in place in advance.
2. Reach out online/text/phone/video
Sometimes the people you most want to see aren’t able to physically be there. That’s okay. We live in the future and you have a device around where you can send someone a message. Email a friend and talk about what’s going on. Text a friend that you’re having a hard time. Skype with your sister. Send a silly cat video to your friend who lives in Korea.
I like throwing parties so planning a gathering almost always helps throw me out of a funk. There’s so much to do to get ready that I keep myself busy and excited about my friends coming over. Plan parties around times you think you’ll be feeling rough.
4. Go to a class
Interested in Sky Yoga? What about marketing? Find a class, online or in person, and go check it out. You’ll learn a lot and meet interesting new people. Who knows, maybe you’re next story will spring from what you’re learning?
5. Find help.
Sometimes you need more than just a friend to talk and you need to look to talk to a therapist or other type of professional. There are options online, there are help lines and ways to reach someone at little to no cost. Don’t be afraid to reach out for that lifeline.
The roller coaster of the creative life can be a challenge to manage, especially when you’re a new writer and still learning what patterns your work might trigger, or when you’re querying, going on submission, or through a rough edit for the first time. There’s no shame in reaching out to the people around you for support.