Isolation comes in many shapes, colors, sounds, and forms. The kind I've lived in might be different than what you've been through. I've experienced it in my writing life and in my everyday life. Some I've liked, others I could have survived better without.
When I started this journey, about fourteen years ago, I did so in solitude and long hours by myself, writing whatever came to mind. I wouldn't tell anyone about it, and if someone asked or caught me in the middle of writing, I would hide it like a bad secret. I hate to admit it, but I was embarrassed at the notion that I was creating these worlds. Even if they weren't fleshed out and great to read, they were still mine and I didn't want to share them with the world.
I like to say I started when I was fourteen, but I didn't start sharing my work (unless you count a really long creative writing assignment in high school) until four years later when I made a Wattpad account to spite this guy I dated. Once I was ready to share them, I knew I needed to disguise myself in some form, to isolate parts of myself. I took on the name Anne Marshall and published my stories under the pen name to protect that little girl inside me that was still bashful at the thought of someone knowing what I do.
Needless to say, I was still alone while I wrote on Wattpad, and it stayed that way for years. I stayed shameful of my secret for so long that it felt like a second life, and somehow that began to help my writing. I found comfort in it but it wasn't until I was an adult writing that I found I wanted more from it. I involved my husband more, though he still has yet to read anything by me, but will adamantly profess that all of it is amazing and I'm too hard on myself. I started talking to other authors on social media, grabbing their stories, and learning from them like teachers I never had. I've learned in secret and my isolation from the writers around me than they will ever know.
I love to write by myself, that will never change, but seeing the community around me as I added on each social media site I could, it's sparked something inside me that I didn't know was there. I wanted to reach out, however far, and find people like me. The community spaces on Wattpad and the sites I'm on now have helped, but I fell back into old patterns before anything could come of it.
My need for isolation runs deep, deeper than I thought it did. I'm not consistent with friends or new people I meet. I fall out of touch the second I feel them pull away, even in the slightest, for whatever reason and I can't stop myself. I've ruined good things that could have been great because I craved being back in my hole, doing this one my own. The mindset that I have to do this on my own, that I can't take help from others, has dragged me down time and time again.
I want to rectify this, even if nothing comes of it, and I'm not secretly hoping it doesn't anymore. I want this blog to start something that I haven't had in the past. Consistency with myself. I've shrived for it in my everyday life to a point that I feel like I never have fun. I didn't have a lot of that growing up. I moved around a lot, had to scrap friends and made them again from nothing. I became a pro at this, but it took a lot for them to stick around after I threw myself away. Surprisingly some have stayed with me, others are off on their own, living their best lives, and hopefully never thinking of me.
Not to weigh heavy on the subject of this blog, but I have to mention it again. By starting this blog I'm forcing myself out there, even under a disguise, for as long as I can. I'm showing my scars and my wounds from the writing experiences I've had and ones I have yet to encounter. I want to spill my guts about my fears of writing and the way it makes me feel in a space that's accommodating for it. I have a lot of flaws, many when it comes to writing, and this blog is a way for me to show up for those flaws. For me to improve and take responsibility for the mistakes that I should have fixed a long time ago that the isolation only made worse.
After years of forcing the isolation onto myself, I'm ready to shed that and find the writer I can be. Isolation can be good, and when I haven't been in that writing hole in a while, I start to crave it and fall back into my comfortable ways. When I crawl out of that hole, see the people flourishing around me, dragging the projects I've hastily finished and now have to polish, I find a new comfort in reaching out to other writers about what I should do next. I still keep to myself and I only have a few friends I hold close, and I'm happier to share my writing out loud and proud, but the comfort of that isolation will never leave me.
The isolation I feel now is different than what I felt as a kid writing. I still take from it, I still learn from it, and I still run to it when I need to. But sharing my life and the characters I've created has opened a new door. I'm not scared anymore, aside from the notion of having to give answers to anything having to do with my process or talking about my characters because I freeze up and all the information wants to come out at one time. Aside from all of that, I feel pride finally, something the old isolation wouldn't let me feel, and I think I'm better for it.
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