In being writers, we’ve chosen a form of loneliness that’s exquisite, self-torturing and sometimes boring. Few activities are so likely to cause as many insecurities as writing a story, which you have no idea if anyone will like…what presumption!
It’s as well to learn to like your own company, for you’ll be sharing space with yourself for a long time. As Bruce Springsteen sang in his song Better Days: It’s a sad man my friend who’s living in his own skin and can’t stand the company.
I’m normally wary of pop psychology tests, but I came across one in the Curiosity Daily newsletter that’s disarmingly simple and which has been validated by checks on data from seven United Nations generation and gender surveys. The De Jong Gierveld loneliness scale tackles social and emotional loneliness.
In answering the questions, I laughed at number 3 which asks one’s response to the statement ‘I often feel rejected‘ You bet I do…I’m querying literary agents!
Although I’ve been blessed with several long-term relationships, I am by nature a loner. Aware of this, I deliberately moved areas ten years ago, losing contact with a few friends and scores of acquaintances (from managing a community centre), with the intention of devoting myself to writing. I’ve been weirdly focused, for me, avoiding socialising. My three best friends are email correspondents—the longest of 16 years standing—longer than I’ve known anyone.
Instead of howling at the moon, I’ve used my solitude to write. I have no family or regular employment, so don’t have those distractions. Of course, I have the frustrations and doubt that afflict any creative soul, but for the most part, I’m content with my lot.
I scored a lowly 2 in the test, meaning I don’t feel lonely.
How about you?