Something I’ve noticed when reading up on the private lives of famous writers, and that’s that some of them had issues with maintaining relationships. That’s not to say that all writers have trouble with romance, nor is it to say that all people who have trouble with romance are writers. Nor is it to say that all writers who have trouble romance are or were (depending) doomed to always fail at the game of love and life.
The thing about it is though is that writing is a solitary activity, and let’s not forget that writers have a proclivity to disappear into their private worlds even in mixed company or when they’re supposed to be otherwise engaged. Sometimes this goes too far, and the romantic partner or any number of close friends may feel shut out. And I won’t lie, I’ve given up quite a few “nights on the town” because I needed to be alone and catch up on my writing. Granted, on some of those I’ve preferred staying in to going out, but I do enjoy spending time with my friends and I hate having to cut down on my time with them, but there it is. It’s a choice solitary artists have to make, and it’s a balance that takes practice striking well.
And if it isn’t writing, reading might take precedent, whether it’s just seeking friendships with imaginary characters is more preferable sometimes, or it’s to bone up on writing techniques. That’s fine. Reading and writing won’t get done unless you do it.
But beware: those writers who obsess(ed) over the interworkings of their private worlds and fell into the other extreme–rather than leaving NO time for writing they leave ALL time–often wind (wound) up going insane stuck inside their own heads so often. Maybe not crazy like Emily Dickinson or Edgar Allan Poe or Vivien Haigh-Wood (1st wife of T.S. Eliot) sort of crazy, but crazy enough to fall prey to the darker demons of the human psyche. And be especially wary if your writing happens to receive merit and you don’t rely on the support of friends when you find yourself overwhelmed by the weight of your own greatness.
Though let’s not jump to conclusions.
So, in the post-spirit of Valentine’s Day–a day to celebrate love with someone special, whether it be friend or significant other–remember to make those relationships count as much as your writing. When things get tough (and things will, especially if you’re a struggling writer), you’ll need someone to help take the edge off (not just glass upon glass of wine, hence another common association with writers, alcoholism, to a point). Conversely, if things go well (you get your first publishing deal for a debut novel), you want to have someone there to cheer with you when you get the happy news. Joy is more joyful when it’s shared among friends, keeping something that exciting inside can be just as bad as keeping inside volatile amounts of sadness and anger.
Don’t forget to take time out of your head and spend it with those you care about, even if it’s just a phone call (or even in some cases a Skype call). If anything, it’ll give the brain a break.