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The Need to be Social

Every year about this time I start to question why I want to write. It’s difficult. Not everyone will like my work. I still have a day job so can’t be very successful. All of these thoughts permeate my thoughts and drive me to question what type of life I want to live. Do I want to continue to fill my spare time writing, fill my thoughts with stories? If you have been reading this blog long, you would know my answer. I cannot imagine giving up writing. It is who I am. If I give up, then I would have to go through a big identity crisis most accept only when encountering “mid-life.”

But it never fails. This time of year the thoughts come around again to question my drive. The cause is simple. Ever since I was fifteen, I have been attending writer’s conferences. And, typically, these conferences happen in the fall and winter months. I need that yearly rejuvenation. I need to mingle with other writers. I need to feel inspired by stories. There is nothing more exhilarating than talking with other writers. Knowing they think like I do, that they love the same thing I do. We swap stories, swap recommendations and just recharge the batteries.

I once read that writers tend to suffer from bouts of depression, more so than the average person. I think many can recall depressed writers in history…Poe comes to my mind. I remember feeling relieved when I heard this. I know, I know. That sounds crazy. But I often find myself, especially when I am alone for hours on end, drifting into my thoughts. My mood shifts and I feel the weight of melancholy. I never understood it. I am a happy individual. I am blessed with a great family and awesome friends. Yet, these moments would come. But, even crazier, the moments often lead to the greatest breakthroughs in my writing. I have the best ideas and the biggest surge in these times. I can’t explain it, but I know it exists.

Part of the reason I think writers tend to be depressed is that it is a solitary job. In fact, if others are in the room while I’m writing, it often stifles everything. I need to be alone. I need to let my characters keep me company. I love it on some levels and hate it on others. What I love of conferences is that social piece otherwise missing. I can mingle with people like me. I can socialize with others who know what it means to have voices in their head (and not think of a tight, white jacket). It’s time to start looking for the next writer’s conference. It’s time to recharge my batteries. It’s time to steal away from the glow of my computer screen and seek out human contact. That’s the only way to stay out of the history books as yet another lonely, depressed, drunk writer.