I’m a guy who has spent a good deal of his life sitting alone in a room thinking. That’s what you do when you’re a writer, sit alone in a room and think. Over the years, that has resulted in a bit more than 40 novels and books of nonfiction and maybe 100 short stories, essays and articles.
And even a one-act children’s play. (Who knew?)
I enjoy being alone. I enjoy solitude, a lot. Which does not mean I do not engage with the world—I most certainly do—but rather that I simply have not only a high tolerance for but actually take pleasure in being by myself: in stillness, in silence, in solitude.
Still, like most people who are like me, I have to exercise some care that solitude and working alone do not deteriorate into isolation. Which is counterproductive, and even hurtful, on just about every level one can imagine.
I was thinking about that just moments ago, as I made ready to firm up a dinner date this week with colleague, a fellow writer and old friend. And as I saw a reminder on my calendar that I have a conference call scheduled for tomorrow night at 10 pm with four other people who are professionals working in other areas than I, but with whom I share some financial and other practices and with whom I interact collegially and supportively.
Those are important to me, colleagues and community. I think they are for everyone who is self-employed in some fashion, and especially for those who work alone or do so more often than not.