Monday, October 28, 2013

The Value of Leaving the House

As some of you know, about a year and a half ago I moved to Greenville, a small town in rural East Texas. It's a nice enough town and the people are friendly, but it's the kind of place where you meet people through work, church, or children. I have none of these things. So my range of social interaction outside of my house is limited to my brother, his family, and some of his friends. Otherwise it's just my boyfriend and our three cats.

So I've turned into a bit of a hermit.

Though without the epic beard.

I sit at my laptop and work on my book. I go grocery shopping once a week. Bob and I occasionally drive "into town" which translates to a 45 minute to 1 hour drive to some part of the Dallas metro. But that's about it. For a while, I didn't even really see my brother unless something was happening, i.e. niece's volleyball game, game night, etc.

But I have to be careful, because all of this "me" time, this wonderfully productive and creative coccoon ... well, it can be suffocating. No one can exist in a vacuum. Most of all someone who creates. We need to see people's reactions to our creations. We need to bounce ideas off others and be, in turn, inspired by them. So people like me, people stuck in their own little bubble, need to make an effort to leave the house.

I've got a lot of excuses not to. There's no one close to me. The closest writing group I found was an hour and a half away. The closest meetup for NaNoWriMo is about that too. Seriously.

But it gets to a point where you just have to suck it up and do what it takes. This last Saturday I drove to the opposite side of Dallas for a NaNoWriMo plan-in session in Denton, TX. Sure it was three hour drive there and back. Sure there were gas costs and I had to drive it by myself, but it was totally worth it.

I met some really great writers and people and I hope I'll force myself to keep in contact with them. I'm historically bad about that kind of thing, but all I need to do is make the effort.

I'm also going out to my brother's house once a week. Just to hangout. Just to talk and listen to someone different.

So I may be the stereotype of a lonely writer, and it's true, writing is a very solitary activity, but contact and inspiration and connections are like air to creative people. We get lost in our vacuum, our head-space. We need to break out and take a breath.

We just need to leave the house.

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