Here’s the thing about writing, especially writing fiction: You do it alone. In your head, sitting by yourself, your mind splits itself into three or ten or a hundred personas. These characters talk to each other, conflicts blossom and a story takes root and grows. If writing is going well, you lose time. You fold in on yourself and disappear into your own mind. Your subconscious becomes super-conscious. When you come back into the world, you may be surprised to see that it’s raining. Or the sun has set. Or the dog has peed in your slipper.
The kind of focus that generates a story comes easily to a few writers, less easily to most of us who write. Solitude — the ability to isolate oneself, to live inside the mind — is what makes writing possible. So it makes sense that authors tend to be introverts, but even for those of us who are introverted by nature, the necessary mindset is often elusive. Some writers are so desperate for solitude, so frantic for focus that they’ll go to great lengths to impose it on themselves.
Demosthenes, an Athenian orator and contemporary of Plato and Aristotle, shaved half his head so he’d be too embarrassed to leave home.… read the rest