I could be wrong, but I think that many freelance writers – especially those who work mainly from home – are more introverted than extroverted. At the risk of stereotyping, many of us prefer to stay indoors, read books, browse the Internet, and watch (good) TV shows or movies/documentaries.
That’s exactly what my personal preferences are, and when I do go out (and actually look forward to doing so), it’s to go grocery shopping and maybe sit down for a while at the coffee shop around the corner.
In short, I barely socialize with “real” people in “real” life.
It’s not that I don’t have friends. It’s just that I rarely go out to hang out with them, and it has become the status quo even more since I went freelance full-time. This, I call “freelance writer isolation.”
There are some freelance writers I know who have expressed the same sentiment. They do not complain about it – as I said from the get-go, we have the tendency to stay indoors – but they have brought up the occasional need to interact with others.
This brings me to my main point to end the week: Can you relate to the idea of freelance writer isolation?
- Do you regularly go out for coffee, dinner, or drinks with your social circle?
- Do you talk to people face-to-face on a daily basis? (People: not yourself and not your partner/family members)
- Do you feel a lack of interest or anxiety when you “have to” go out?
If so, you might actually need to exert an effort to get out of the house – not to work (although working outside occasionally is good, too) – but to interact with others.
I know that it is much more comfortable to stay in your comfort zone. Plus, there is always work to be done, articles to be written, proofread, and submitted – and the list goes on and work.
Work is always a good reason not to get out of your writing cave, but it can also lead to negative consequences related to freelance writer isolation.
For one, if you don’t watch out, you might get the blues, or worse, become depressed. This can be a direct result of a lack of social interaction.
Counterintuitively, isolating yourself may actually result in less productivity. While you may think that you get more things done by staying inside most of the time, you may be missing out on stimuli that can contribute to more ideas and a better feeling of overall well-being, which then leads to better productivity.
Worst case, you might end up suffering from writer burnout, and we know that getting out of that situation may not always be an easy task.
So, if you’re like me, and you tend to isolate yourself from the rest of the world, push yourself to get out of your cave.
What are your thoughts and experiences on this topic? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
P.S. This post was inspired by my friend nagging me to go out more. I did have a night out with high school friends the other night, and yes, it did me good. (But I have to be honest and say that I still like staying at home.)
Jim Kimmons says
The first thing I can focus on each morning is my coffee cup, which says: “The more people I meet, the more I love my dog.”
Emerald Lavender says
Great Suggestions! I too have the tendency to stay in because I write and I’m a stay-at-home mom, but it sure does feel good to socialize with people when I do go out. 🙂 I’m thinking of taking an exercise class to see socialize more.
Thank you for this article and for the suggestions for breaking out into the real world instead of remaining isolated.
Since quitting the journalism business a couple of years ago, I have been a full-time work from home freelancer. I don’t go out during the week and the only time I leave the neighborhood is on a Saturday… to do more fiction writing at a Tim Hortons.
The only person I enjoy being with is my wife. I don’t have a social life at all and the only living entities I communicate with on a daily basis are my cats and clients (online). I have no desire to be around other people.
In my own little world, I can listen to jazz, work alone and avoid social awkwardness that I have been a part of since a teenager. People don’t like me anyway so I’m doing the admirable thing and saving the world from ever having to look at me or hear my annoying voice.
I can totally relate to this essay/post, except that in the Myers-Briggs test, I’m definitely an extrovert. But I do prefer to stay home and write/read, watch movies, make paintings, make meals, exercise, etc.
My life was a lot more social when I lived in NYC/Manhattan, where it was easy to walk for five or 10 minutes to find fun and fascinating places and things to do. Here in suburban south Florida, I’d have to drive a long distance to get to anyplace interesting, and I just don’t like that as a lifestyle. (I guess NYC spoiled me.) And it’s much harder to find like-minded friends (and yes, dates) here in Florida, where life is much more suburban. And that is a big shame. 🙁
Andrew Langerman says
So, you are a fellow introverted extrovert!
I live in Tampa and it can be challenging to connect with other people. I keep looking at groups I find interesting on meetup.com, but never go to any of them. Sometimes I find being out among people, such as at a book store, is helpful.
Noemi Tasarra-Twigg says
I participate in online communities, but never go to meetups as well! 😉
I’m laughing about writer burnout being called the “worst case” over becoming depressed. I’d have thought that getting depressed might be a tad worse, but I guess as a writer burnout could be worse. 😉
Noemi Tasarra-Twigg says
I think I was depressed when I wrote this. Or maybe I was burnt out. I don’t know anymore. 😉
Andrew Langerman says
That’s why I have an imaginary friend called the Doctor.