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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Off the Page...

The Solitary Writer's Life
by Tama Westman

“There is a solitude which each and every one of us has always carried within. More inaccessible than the ice-cold mountains, more profound than the midnight sea: the solitude of self.”
 —Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The writer’s life is often a life of great solitude, regardless how many online groups you are involved in or the number of friends, even writer-friends, you may have. The solitude comes from the constant thinking that goes into your writing.

We can not explain how morning light streaming through the tree branches can launch thought patterns, or the way a certain peace and clarity settles into our spirits when we walk through the woods. It is solitude at work, that extra-sensory appreciation a writer has for the whisperings of the spirit.

Solitude is the mechanics of our brain working out details on paper. It can often feel lonely, because you almost have to keep all the thoughts bottled to yourself until you work through them completely.

Busyness is a band-aid
But “busy-ness” or overloading connections with others is but a band-aid. We are better to resolve ourselves to a certain level of “comfortableness” with the isolation, to make peace with it.

When we quiet ourselves for a time away from our busy lives, noisy children and loads of laundry, a creative fire ignites with ideas not easily extinguished until we launch into activity towards seeing them through. With verve, we are able to accomplish so much more because our thoughts are focused, our sight clear.

An experiment
Try it for two weeks: Before beginning to write, take a span of time to simply sit, think and consider. No computer games, no television, no phone calls. Shut yourself away and think about what you want to write, the angles, dimensions, and opposing dynamics of the piece. How can you make it pop? What is needed to make the material leap off the page? Once you have your plan formulated, go for it! Distractions that normally drive you crazy will not even register as you hit the keyboard like mad. By developing your own quiet before the storm (writing storm), you will raise your work to new levels.

Ideas have expiration dates
Ideas can have a short shelf life though. It is important to exercise them before their expiration date. You must follow through to see an idea to completion. And then move on to the next idea, the next project or the next article. Too many gifted individuals have fallen to the wayside by wrapping their concerns and calling around a single idea. There have been so many one-hit wonders, one-book authors, one-message speakers who concentrated all their efforts on promoting a single song or topic that they failed to move forward with new ideas.

Embrace your appointment as a writer by finding those few cherished moments of quiet you need to be inspired. Thrive in the solitude the calling demands. It is a gift that brings us closer to our craft and ultimately, closer to each other.

Tama Westman writes the Off the Page column for Write From Home. As a correspondent and columnist, she publishes news articles, feature stories and her column, Cuppa Thoughts, regularly with her local paper, the Chaska Herald. She has served as the editor of the award-winning literary magazine, Haute Dish. Her articles appear in several local newspapers and, nationally in The Gathering and Light & Life Magazine.

She teaches creative writing and poetry classes with the AHEAD program (Achieving Higher Education and Dreams) at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, mentors high school journalism students, and teaches beginning and intermediate writers at conferences throughout the country. Married with two grown children, she keeps her balance with a cup of tea taken in the afternoon in her English garden. Further samples of her writing can be viewed on her Web site, http://www.tamawestman.com feel free to e-mail comments to tama@tamawestman.com









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