I wish I could find the source to a quote I once heard that went along these lines:
I don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t want to do anything. I just want to write. — ?
I used to admire the idea behind it, that writing was this person’s number one priority. As an aspiring novelist, I craved that craving, and lately, to my great delight, I’ve succeeded. Drafting my book has been the only thing that has made sense to me. I’d found my stride once again.
Falling out of the writing groove is easy to do if you forego your authorial duties for even a few days. Life gets busy, we know that. Something will always creep up to block our path. Last week I even found a motivational desktop to help with my own discipline. However, now that I look at this mystery quotation again, I come away with a different interpretation.
The first several sentences appear to describe depression. The last—”I just want to write”—brings it out of the abyss into productivity, even if the overall sentiment remains antisocial. Personal health aside, I don’t think we can afford to be too reclusive these days. Writing will always require alone time, but the contemporary world dominated by social media rewards those who connect with others, whether they be readers or otherwise.
An interview with author Nathan Bransford clarifies this modern matter of time spent writing v. investment in social media:
…authors, remember that the book comes first. All the blogging and social media in the world isn’t going to be of help unless there’s a book to back it up.
And…remember that social media is social. It’s about the connection you make with your readers, finding people online who become your real-life friends, and about the support you can derive from people who know exactly what you’re going through. It’s not about what the Internet can do for you, it’s how you can become a part of the fabric of a fantastic community.
It sounds as though the JD Salinger days are over. A friend of mine still jokes that I’ll eventually become a hermit, retreating to a cabin deep in the woods to write my novels. (I doubt it.) So, if we have to find our solitary writing groove and keep our heads above the social waterline, I think we’re in need of the ever-elusive, Aristotelean maxim known as balance.
Since writing is rewriting, how about this idea:
I don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t want to do anything. I just want to write. Once that’s done, it’s time to rejoin civilization until tomorrow.