Last night, I sat in our dining room working on a puzzle while my husband worked in his office just a few feet away. He's in software, the head of his department, and his company was in the midst of international releases last night, so he was on chat and conference calls with his team. I couldn't help but hear everything as they worked, the joking around, the questions back and forth, and I'm going to admit...I got jealous.
Writing is so incredibly solitary. When we're in our zone, we don't even hear our own stomachs growl, let alone other people. Hours can slip by where we never utter a single word to another human being. For many of this, this is the norm.
But when I'm not writing...it's hard not to miss that camaraderie of working with people you like and respect. The inside jokes. Friends. I'm not a hugely outgoing person in the first place, but the sense that you belong somewhere is something I think most people crave and need. Multiple somewheres in a lot of cases. Because I definitely have my place in my family, but I can't help but think that it would be nice to have other circles I could slip into with the same kind of ease.
I think it's one reason why conventions like RT are so loved. For a week, we are surrounded by like-minded individuals, who speak the same language we do, who love many of the same heroes and tropes and books, who struggle with many of the same issues. It's a belonging we're rarely allowed, because of the nature of our professional beast.
That's not to say it can't be a relief to be able to retreat back into the writing cave again. I get overloaded on social stimuli fairly quickly. The thought of being surrounded by a ton of people all the time just makes me tired.
But sometimes? Or one-on-ones with people who understand you?
Oh, yeah. Wouldn't that be great?