THE POWER OF SOLITUDE – 10th January 2013

Arizona 2What do we need to write?  A room of our own said Virginia Woolf, which still remains true, but more importantly we need headspace.  Whether you get that by walking (or running), listening to music, sitting in a cafe or just being still, you need to tune out all the white noise and listen.

Last week, stuck at home writing, the world still asleep after Xmas and New Year, it was both easy and hard to write.  Easy because there were no distractions, no internet calling, no meetings, no teaching, and so I focused and had time to think about my story.  Ten scenes.  OK, some of them borrowed from the treatment but I was inside the story moving forward.  Hard because it was lonely.

This week, the world awakes and life is more fun but my thinking space is significantly reduced. Emails are returned, people are back in their offices, walking the streets, meeting for coffee. Screenings, drinks, networking, accounts! I am suddenly directed outward, enjoying being connected to the world again and yet my writing decreases, the silence disrupted.

Is there a correlation between loneliness and creativity? Anthony Storr wrote a book about the creativity of Solitude.  And much has been written about the loneliness of the long distance writer.  When I am socialised out I crave the silence and solitude that lets me write.  When I am writing I exist in a kind of happy depression, engaged in my task, yet after a few days wilting from the lack of light and air companionship brings.

Never satisfied is the modern condition.  The internet allows us to be both alone and yet connected but without the headspace we need to create that vital original content we wish to talk about and consume.

‘To thine own self be true’, a motto my mother lived by and which was written on her wall.  I know I need both the silence of endeavour and the energy of life in the world to sustain me.

What sustains you? How do you create space to write? Tell me your thoughts so we can have a conversation.

In between finding the time to write of course.

Leave a comment here or find me on Twitter @emlin32. Happy writing!