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  • Writer's pictureSuzie Anne

Myths About Writing: Writing is a Solo Career

Updated: Mar 14

Myths About Writing: Writing is a Solo Career

Myths about writing graphic

Imagine you’re sitting on the front porch of a cabin on a lake, with the woods at its back and a meadow of wildflowers in front. Picturesque mountains rise in the distance, and bird song fills the air. The porch wraps around the cabin, with a few rockers, a cozy arm chair or two, and a few small tables sprinkled periodically. A steaming mug of hot chocolate—or tea or coffee, if your taste is . . . less refined—rests next to you, and the weather is just the right temperature, not cold, but not oppressively warm or conducive to bugs. It’s just you, and nature, and that brilliant story idea you’ve been chewing over for a while. What more could an author wish for?

To tell the truth, there’s a lot missing—for me, at least. People and situations around me are the source of some of my favorite story ideas. Plus, someone else—writer or not—to bounce ideas off, to ask “Does this sound too weird (cheesy, far-fetched, etc.)?”, or drag you away from the desk you’ve been hitting your head against, I mean sitting at, for too long is important, and helps keep an author from getting lost in her story world (and all the problems that come with it).

In addition to these more story-related reasons, there’s also the fact that, whether a writer is an introvert or an extrovert, we are all made for community. We need people to talk to, interact with, and serve. Friends, family, and fellow writers all help us stay in touch with the outside world, encourage us when writing gets tough, help us hone our craft, and—most importantly—remind us that getting published is not our end goal.

While the picture of being alone at a cabin with no one to interrupt your writing time may sound like a heavenly idea, or the setup for a thriller, depending on what type of books you read, it tends to create a world where everything revolves around the author and the book she’s writing. And when we become hyper-focused on one thing, we often put our hope in it, place our value on its success, or something similar that elevates—in the case of an author—the story and being published to an unhealthy place in our lives.

The other side of this pendulum is the temptation to give up on writing, which for many Christian authors, is a calling from God. Discouragement is part of everyone’s life, but when you’re putting a little of yourself into something others will critique, might dismiss, rip to shreds, or love—but whatever the reaction is, discouragement and doubt will rear their ugly heads, and in isolation, that can be a fatal blow.

Now that I’ve covered some of the negatives, let me assure you that I understand the pull of the isolated cabin and uninterrupted writing time. And it’s not a bad thing—in small doses. Some people work better for writing their first draft or meeting an editing deadline when they’re away from all distractions (I’ve heard of an established author who will do something like that, write her first draft in a week, and then go back to regular life). Time by ourselves can allow us to silence the whirl of ideas and distractions, and get some good work in.

So before you spin dreams of becoming an author and living by yourself in a cabin in the woods, take time to evaluate your purpose in writing and what you want your career to be like. Do you want to focus on your writing, your accomplishments, and your promotion? Or do you want to focus on building others up, changing their lives, and providing enrichment? Publishing is a long journey, and successfully completing any of the latter objectives is difficult, if not impossible, in isolation.

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