Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Hello dear readers,

Do you ever feel isolated? One of the hardest things about writing is the isolation it requires. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those writers who can create a masterpiece in the middle of a busy coffeehouse. I can’t even play music (too distracting). When it comes time to write, I have no choice but to retreat to my home office, shut the door, and completely isolate myself from the world. No phone calls, no cats, no disruptions, no Facebook. (Facebook is the ultimate distraction.)

Once I’m in the zone, I don’t feel lonely. The characters that inhabit my books fill my world with color. I’m so immersed in their story that time flies. But getting there is hell.

As much as I need my alone time, I’m a people person. Being around other people makes me happy. I thought I loved living alone, but when my friend Niki came to stay with me a couple of years ago, we had so much fun that I considered getting a roommate afterwards. The house was empty without her.

And this is why I’ve been a little down since the writing retreat. To spend a week living with people who get you–who respect what you do, and who are doing the same thing–creating art through the magic of words–is priceless. I had plenty of alone time in my own room, but if I wanted to talk about something or just say hello, there was always someone around. And there was a lot of enforced social time–lunches, dinners, and most evenings were spent together as a group. There’s a camaraderie that occurs between a group of writers that is so wonderful and uplifting. The downside is that I miss it a lot once it’s over.

As I write this, I’m looking forward to my writer’s meeting tonight. While it won’t be the same as living in an artistic retreat, I’m hoping to recapture that feeling of community…if only for a few hours.

How about you? Have you ever encountered that feeling of community with people who really “get” you? Was it difficult to leave? How do you keep that community spirit strong in your life?

In the meantime, I leave you with Iggy Pop’s Isolation.

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  1. Life As I Know It

    yes yes yes…I’ve gone off on yoga retreats before and have felt very much the same way.

  2. Story Teller

    How did you ease your adjustment to the real world again?

  3. Kim

    I remember that feeling post summer jobs where the place would shut down after September long or I had to go back home to my city to go to school. It took a long time for the gears to shift back. You are grieving a loss. Like any loss, it will take time to adjust.

  4. Story Teller

    Thanks, Kim. That reminds me of all those jobs where you really connect with your co-workers…it seems like a big family. When someone leaves, everyone promises to keep in touch, but they rarely ever do. Facebook has improved things a bit, but it’s not the same.

  5. Laura Best

    I have never gone to any retreats, so I have no experience in that area. But what I have found from meeting with other writers this past year is that we do share a sense of connection. It’s as if it doesn’t matter what else we may or may not have in common, writing is something that binds us together. Put two complete strangers together who happen to be writers and I’m pretty sure they could talk for hours. It’s wonderful!

  6. Story Teller

    Hi Laura. Thanks for commenting! I have found the same thing to be true. Now and then, you meet a writer who rubs you the wrong way, but for the most part, the experience of writing can really bond people.


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