I sometimes worry about how little I seem to relate to other writers.
I’m in a writing group now that I quite enjoy. I like those folks as people. I tweet things about writing fiction and naturally here on the blog I discuss the same thing. Much of what I say, if not read by a large audience is nonetheless usually well received when it comes to my thoughts and plans regarding writing. Those things notwithstanding, I have to say that I have yet to feel that I have been fully simpatico with other writers. Nor do I think they are simpatico with me.
Is this a requirement to be a writer? I suppose not. Famous writers are often lonely, isolated sorts, I realize. Yet in most cases they wanted no sympathetic ear as they went on their writing journeys, I dare say. In my case, I sometimes wish I didn’t feel so distant from the fellowship of writers.
This distance of which I speak may be all my own fault. I am so eccentric and against the grain for so many things in life, I would not be at all surprised to learn that the way I approach writing, and am effected by same is so different that there will always be a sense of not connecting with other writers. Of not feeling what other writers feel. I should be okay with this, I know. Yet questions arise.
Do I not lose myself in my writing enough? Am I not sufficiently obsessed with my plots and characters? Do I spend too little time writing? Too much time thinking about same? Is it possible that I have not explored what writing is to me in a fashion that is emotional enough to enter the ranks of other fiction writers? Am I afraid to do so, or do I simply find such an exploration unnecessary?
Maybe despite my intellectual skill in writing, I have not yet allowed my own heart to delve into the true nature of writing stories, and hence feel less connected with other writers. If that is true, what has prevented me? If that is not true, what’s the deal?
Then there is the possibility that I am over-thinking this entire issue. (I am prone to over-thinking.) True, perhaps I don’t feel as though my characters and plots grab me by the throat and drag me everyday into their universe, as I have heard happens to other writers. It could be that for me an idea for a story or novel doesn’t keep me up most nights. Beyond a certain point, I can’t relate to those writers that do experience these things.
Yet in the end it may not matter. Perhaps there are others who like me take a more casual approach to bringing stories to life. Those who proceed more like a scientist making a slow, deliberate discovery when they have a story to write, as opposed to a wizard bringing spells into colorful, sense-overloading life.
It seems that as a writer I know there is something hidden deep in the jungle, but must hack my way through the foliage, avoiding creatures and sweating profusely in order to get to it. Before embarking on any given story, therefore, I must consider one question above all others; is what lies at the heart of this jungle worth getting to it in the first place? I may not always get the right answer at first, but unlike some, I have to ask this question, so solemn a struggle can writing be for me. There may be others that feel this way. Yet I wonder where they are.
What does this mean? I can think of many possibilities, none of which are 100% satisfying. I could be unsuited for writing fiction. I may not have allowed my own writing to touch me in the way I want it to touch other people. I could have some sort of mental imbalance, present in my entire life that also effects how I feel about writing, and other writers. Perhaps I could relate to other writers on a deeper level about their work, but subconsciously have refused to do so, in order to protect my own experience. Then of course there is the possibility that none of it is as much of an issue as I fear right now.
Still, the end result is the same…I don’t quite feel the fellowship with other writers of fiction that I long for at times. Maybe that is not my lot, or maybe one day it will come after all. Whichever happens, am I as much of a writer of fiction as my colleagues? I imagine time will tell.