The solitude of writing

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I’ve had a bit of a knock back lately. I’m in that awkward zone where I’m waiting for responses from agents, which can take anywhere from 2 days to 3 months and it is a little frustrating, especially when only the rejections come in.

And then there is the personal life… which I will keep mainly personal, but in essence, I broke up from my girlfriend a few months ago, and although it was a mutual and amicable decision, it has been hard to think of anything else.

So how does that affect the writing process?

Well, I can only speak for myself of course, but I should imagine it’s tough for any writer. We spend an awful amount of time by ourselves. It is what we do! So having someone good in your life can be the difference between success or failure. Hell, it can be the difference between a book of 80,000 words, or a few sporadic words of shite that have no real meaning.

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Think about it. When we see an author’s dedication, it is normally glowing towards their loved ones. They are the rock that their emotional foundation is built on. They are the kind voice, the support, the cup of coffee in the morning that can make all you feel whole, even when things are not going well elsewhere.

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I look around town and see couples everywhere, linked by hands or just an invisible tether between them. And on television or at the cinema, real people or fictitious, taking on the world because they are surrounded by people they trust and love. It gives us the strength to carry on against the odds.

 

So yes, for a writer, being single can be catastrophic. And only now am I beginning to write again, starting with blogs and a collection of my thoughts that only I will ever see. Of course, for some writers, they would probably love the thought of being single. Why? Because it takes away the distraction of a relationship. The noise in the house, the visiting of their relatives, the shopping trips to help them choose a new outfit.

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That is where a sensible balance comes into the equation. That is why Stephen King locks his door, and countless others dream of a warm luxury shed at the bottom of the garden to retreat too, like Roald Dhal. But in the end, it comes down to will power and commitment. Just look at Jeffery Archer!

Hmm, that’s a sentence I never thought I’d say. But seriously. Here was a politician who climbed the greasy pole to somewhere near the top. He was a household name. Then he had an affair, and some dodgy tax deals and ended up in prison. Throughout all that, his wife stood by him. God knows why, but she did. Maybe… just maybe, it was because she knew, that even with his indiscretions,  that they were a team.

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And with that Team Archer, he was able to continue writing even whilst in prison. I’m not saying they are happy, but I’m fascinated by this human bond; this team built up through shared ambitions and usually starting with love, but changing, transmogrifying into something else… a myriad of different roles, and all of them serving a basic need. Well, maybe not the sexual need in his case, but who knows.

 

So anyway, I digress.

 

My writing stopped. Last year I was on a role, with up to 10,000 words a week at one point. Yes, it is not all down to being single. Part of it is just the timing with the agents, and trying to think of a new story to write… and even find the will power to write another book when I can’t even get a publishing deal for the two I have written already.

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But it has still confirmed what I kind of knew in my heart of hearts. When a dedication is made to your partner in a book, they are not just being polite, or trying to appease their spouse. They know that that the whole writing process would have been much tougher without their support. They say that behind every successful man is a woman, and I would say that behind every successful woman is a man – or, in this modern world at least – a partner. A lover or someone to confide in. Even if it is just your agent, it is someone to pull you through the process.

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So… I am still friends with my ex, but something needs to be said.

 

Thank you Katja for all your love and support whilst writing Killing time. Honestly, I quite possibly couldn’t have done it without you.

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And for those singletons out there in my position. Go out and find someone. Whether it be a boyfriend / girlfriend, a relative, a friend or even a writing club to spur you on. But most importantly, push yourself out of the shed or living room table and your comfort zone to the outside world, and meet someone special. It will make all the difference.

 

Good luck in your writing, and your love life,

 

Mark

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