I joined a meet-up app for local writers. So far, I've downloaded and deleted it three times. Each time I get an invitation, I'm filled with an initial sense of, Hey, that might be fun! which quickly turns to a vague, crawling sense of discomfort.
Yes, I am the stereotypical introverted writer in so many ways, no matter how I protest otherwise.
My day job as a nurse is often a forced study in interaction. I truly enjoy what I do, but by the end of my shift all I want to do is hide, sensory and social overload at critical mass. Often, I'm too mentally exhausted to write in the evening, so I read instead, and sprint in the morning hour between getting my son off to school and when I have to leave for work.
My reticence frustrates me. No one can truly understand writers except another writer, but the desire to interact in person is, for me, tenuous at best. I do just fine via the internet, but present me with the possibility of real interaction, and I hesitate.
I had the opportunity this spring to attend a writer's conference for the first time. Before I got on the airplane I was alternately excited and terrified at the prospect of forced interaction with other human beings. For THREE DAYS.
The experience ended up much less of a chore than I anticipated, but observation revealed an awful lot of shy, introverted writers in attendance. We were the ones sitting by ourselves, waiting for somebody to catch our eye and say something so we could feel like we weren't making the first move!
This came up on my dash today on the Freelance Writing Jobs FB page:
I can't tell you how much I identify with that entire statement. But that last line really resonated with me: Having anybody watching that or attempting to share it with me would be grisly.
Writing is a solitary job. Creativity is a solo act for most of us, a fragile state of being that blows away like a dandelion puff on the smallest distraction. To hear other writers say what I'm feeling about the process, that the most imaginative of us need quiet and space and time alone, encourages me to feel less guilty about it.
So I shouldn't be reluctant to hang out with other writers in person, right?
I haven't re-downloaded the app yet, but the invites are still coming in on email. A reminder that there are other writers out there in my hometown, and that there are probably a dozen others like me who are watching their inbox, weighing the price of interaction, and possibly hitting the "accept" button.
One of these days, I just might.