Solitarian Community: A Writer’s Story

Picture credit: Gerd Altmann

I write alone, think alone, drum up ideas alone – I think. “No person can help me accomplish the task of writing,” I say to myself. Truth or lie? The aloneness can be debilitating. Finding a community of like-minded writers is important – I call it the Solitarian Community. It’s a dichotomy, for sure.

Writers are solitary by nature – a blanket observation of myself and those I have met. We suffer alone, write alone, and need to be solitary for our own comfort. Yet…can we accomplish writing goals by being truly alone? Sure, but a writing life is better in a solitarian community.

My own thoughts and imaginings – my own successes and failures – I believe most of the time I must do this alone – hash things out internally. Yet, a community of like-minded Solitarians to reach out to for support is essential when those internal musing become stumbling blocks. A well-established community offers encouragement and understanding without encroaching on our solitarian-ism.

I learned to choose my solitarian community wisely. I meet writers who are honest, encouraging, full of vigor and positivity. I meet others who struggle with those attributes, for whatever hurt or reason. I learned to weed through and keep positive influences close. Those who exhibit negativity in any form, I jump ship and steer away – regardless of how successful they may be.

I write workbooks. I encourage people to go on solo journeys to discover inner hurts, deal with coping mechanisms and find a healing path using the S.C.A.R.s. Method®. The first step – Separate. Sometimes we are so immeshed and intertwined in the lives of others, their successes, we tend to overlook ourselves – we do a lot of comparisons, gauging our worth as writers by comparing the success or failure of others to our own – this is not the community of which I speak.

I started a Writer’s Roundtable for a group of writers I met in the spring. We meet monthly on a Zoom conference call. What do we talk about? Our writing life, stumbling blocks, resources, helpful hints to get us going again. It takes 30 minutes – the connection is vital. The Solitarian camaraderie is encouraging. I also joined the Nonfiction Authors Association and now lead the local chapter to help other writers and authors.

The Solitarian Community is unique and necessary for writers to feel less isolated in their aloneness. Find those who you trust, have a commonality with, and offer support in your writing life.

Here are tips on finding your Solitarian Community:

  1. Join a Writer’s Association – some are paid, some have free memberships – pick one matching your genre.
  2. Search Meetup.com in your local area to find writing communities and groups near you.
  3. Start your own – doesn’t have to be local – Use Zoom to hold webinar conferencing (free for limited participants). Create a Closed Facebook Group and invite other writers to join. Offer encouragement and set boundaries for what is shared.
  4. Go to Book Fairs and Writing Conferences – even if only for the networking and meeting like-minded writers. Stay in touch.
  5. Be the support person to others you envision for yourself.
  6. Pay for support – Remember – there are professional Mentors are out there, but good ones charge a fee, and should. Don’t ask a professional to offer free services.

Bonus:

My top 10 tips for staying motivated and successful in a solitary writing journey:

  1. Set goals and figured a way to track productivity. I use a spreadsheet to log daily progress and deadlines for myself and my editor.
  2. Read your work out loud or have Word “speak” the writing.
  3. Revise using ProWritingAid.
  4. Find those who believe in your writing to offer honest, constructive feedback – bounce off ideas, or just chat to get motivated – Find those you can trust, individually or in a group.
  5. Be your own parent, offering yourself rewards for reaching goals.
  6. Flow writing – just write, don’t edit – keep the ideas flowing even if it’s “I don’t know what to write at this moment.”
  7. Edit three times as much you think is appropriate – wait about two weeks in between final edits, then final, final edits – then EDIT again for good measure.
  8. TRUST your editor.
  9. Breath and Music – both clear my brainy tumbleweeds.
  10. Find a strong, supportive community.