Finding Solitude (or: Chasing Internet Squirrels)

  • Post category:Writing

I’ve started to wonder recently if the idea that a writer needs to seek out a quiet place to work is a personal fallacy. I’ve held it to be true for– well, nigh on forever at this point, but when I think back across the years it has rarely ever been true.

“I write best up at the cabin in Maine.”

We went up to my grandparents cabin in Maine every summer when I was a kid. For a month or two we’d spend time playing on the rocky seashore, fishing, and enjoying our break from ‘real life’. (Which included running water, telephones, but thankfully not electricity.)

We read books, wrote books, played boardgames with the assembled extended family and went garage sale-ing on the weekends. We reveled in all the things that there wasn’t time for at home and it was pure unadulterated bliss.

It’s true that I wrote the most (and the most freely) in Maine, but it was rarely ever alone. I had grand fun co-authoring stories with my brother as well as writing while a thousand other things were going on in the background. It could be just as true to say ‘I write best with family.’ Which makes me miss Maine and family something fierce… Someday I will find a job that gives me ample vacation time, or allows two month sabbaticals every few years. *sighs*

‘I write best alone in the quiet.”

Hah. I can’t actually think of a time where this was ever true. Even now, having moved my computer into my own little office area, I’m pausing to have conversations with my husband, pet the dogs and listen to dissertations on ‘why monkeys suck’ from the cat (who is annoyed I am petting the dogs and not her). This is not quiet, nor alone in any stretch of the definition. Add to that the fact that my most prolific writing for National Novel Wiriting Month came in the form of weekly Write-ins and I really can’t pin down when I started thinking this was a personal truth.

Now I’ll admit to the same cat-waxing tendencies as anyone else. Looking for the perfect secluded place to write, away from distractions and temptation is an acceptable method of avoiding putting words on a page… but for me, it might be worse if I actually found what I was looking for.

So maybe it’s time I redefined solitude. *skritches the Fluffy!Puppy head* Maybe it has more to do with surrounding myself with things that encourage writing (like NaNo or siblings) rather than trying to reduce the things that don’t (the internet in general). While I love spending my time chasing internet squirrels (Stumble, Farmville, Etsy), there are a thousand things offline that also ‘need doing’ so I can’t every really escape the chance for procrastination.

But darned if I’m not going to miss Maine anyways. *sighs*

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

Leave a Reply