Being Alone But Not Lonely With Others

Being Alone But Not Lonely With Others

I recently went to a writer’s conference. And that was kind of funny; writers are generally solitary creatures. Even in a crowded room we’re busy being alone.

Like koalas, we prefer being in our well established territories, and are more likely to attack than cuddle other writers. Okay, maybe not attack, but definitely not cuddle.

So it makes a conference of a couple of hundred people an interesting exercise in negotiating boundaries. And a bit amusing to see packed conference rooms filled, for the most part, with exclusive cliques of one person being alone with themselves. And very carefully saving a gap between every other chair.

When required to interact with others during a workshop, it’s not hard to image some writers deploying exquisitely realistic camoflages of Grecian pillar, large palm filled urn, or unoccupied reception desk.

Being alone and undisturbed is good for getting the writing done, but I think it’s important to be with other people for inspiration. To share ideas about craft and business. And as someone who spends too much time talking to creatures, for retaining my humanity.

I met some nice people, learned some stuff, and got a bit of exercise. I think I’d like to do another writer’s conference.

Women alone in a crowd in front of a berthed ship c. 1910-1930, photo by Albert Jones via State Library Victoria

You can see more of my Haiku here.

This photo of a woman, standing out of a crowd in front of a berthed ship (c. 1910-1930), was taken by Albert Jones via the State Library Victoria.

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