Are You A Lonely Writer (like I am)?


Maine winters are long. Not just by the month, but by the day. Darkness falls around four in the afternoon and the sun doesn’t rise again until after seven. Then there’s the snow. A lot of snow. Worse, once it falls, it never goes. Piles and piles and heaps of it stick around until at least late March, could be May.

This post is not about the weather.

All that darkness and gloom takes its toll. On a body, on a mind. On a writer. More time inside. More isolation. More potential for aloneness and loneliness.

For me, this has already been a problem this year. In case you wonder what loneliness looks like, this is what it looks like for me.

You know that overly-chatty mailman you usually run into your house to get away from? You invite him into your mudroom when he delivers a certified letter—then you chat for five minutes. You’re sorry to see him go. When you hire a carpenter to do some work around your house, he tells you, “We need to limit our conversations to two minutes a day.” (No I didn’t make this up.) You have gone through your friend list—twice—and wonder why it’s taken half a day (okay ten minutes) for people to respond to coffee invitations. You look forward to grand re-openings of the grocery store, of the library, of the new bridge to town. You spend more and more time on social networking (which of course raises its own set of issues). Your characters become your best friends, and you talk to other people about them as though they are real. You stop random people on the beach to tell them how much their dog reminds you of yours that died the month before (except they have a Shizh Tzu and you had a black Lab)…

That’s an excerpt from my post on Writer Unboxed today: The Lonely Writer. I hope you’ll head over to read it—it talks about the loneliness of being a writer, of this writer, but it also talks about ways to cope.

I’ll look forward to your thoughts, your input, but mostly I’ll look forward to having one more writer friend by my side along this solitary path.



  1. Dana says:

    Oh, I can relate to this! To winter blues (though I’ve got nothing on Maine winters) and being a lonely writer. I am definitely going to read your post 🙂 but first let me just say I’m already cracking up and nodding my head at your excerpt. I have talked the ears off my children’s babysitters, baristas, and strangers on the street. Can’t wait to read more…

    • Thanks for your understanding and empathy, Dana. It’s so true, isn’t it, that we find ways to get our social interaction! Hope you enjoyed the post on WU, and thank you for your visit and comment on my blog!

  2. Cherry Harris says:

    I am British and have lived all my life in England, so I know where you are coming from, with winter. I have moved recently to Wales, and of course ,weather hasn’t changed much, but I live by the sea now, so it help blow the cobwebs out a little .
    I quite like the seasons, when one finishes I’m ready for the next . I like my own company and rarely get lonely, I am lucky ,.but I don’t live alone I have a husband, so perhaps that make a difference . Heading over to Writer Unboxed now . Oh and I write for a hobby I believe it helps me get though most things .

    • So glad you can relate! I agree with you, Cherry. I love the seasons, too — as well as the changing of them. I do have a wonderful husband, but I suppose that now as the kids are not living at home, it gets lonelier during the daytime. Writing really does help too. I have to tell you, that I’ve always wanted to visit Wales. Like you I live by the sea, but I’ve always had a view of Wales in my mind that is quite unlike other coasts I’ve been to. Sounds lovely.

  3. Nina says:

    Heading over!

  4. mshatch says:

    I enjoyed your post over at Writer Unboxed and I can sure relate to your thoughts on darkness. I find I dread winter more each year *sigh*

    • Thank you so much, and thank you for finding your way over here, too. I dread winter each more too — and this one seems particularly challenging in the ice and gray department, doesn’t it? Thanks for your visit and your comment, always nice to meet another Maine writer!

  5. Julia — you perfectly described the little town an hour’s drive north of Chicago that we moved away from (for the very reasons you described in your opening paragraph) this past April. We love Boise, Idaho. And while they have snow (and heat), everything is in moderation. Glorious, beautiful, praiseworthy moderation.

    • That’s a really good point, Laurie… where one lives often dictates how much opportunity for socializing is even available. We actually live about 20 minutes from the largest city in Maine, but it’s very different to live in a place than it is to visit or go to even for a coffee shop — at least it is in these parts. I’m so happy to hear you love your new home, it’s just so critical, isn’t it?

  6. Yep, you perfectly sum up the long Swedish winters I am accustomed to, and now, since three years, I am lonely in a new way. Living in Indonesia there’s no winter, but the monsoon instead and family and friends far away. I am happy for new friends in my new country (although many of them tend to move away after a year or two as expats often do…) and also new friends far away via the internet! So happy I met you on Instagram, Julia!