Writers seek solitude, the single most difficult thing to obtain. I’ve found that as the years go by and I become a more adult version of myself, I struggle more and more in my attempts to attain solitude.

We’ve become intensely connected and dependent on electronics to the point that we rarely find ourselves feeling alone enough to feel solitude, to be mindful of “the moment”.

Even if you escape the noisiness of a city or public area, how likely are you to attain solitude and silence? Did your girlfriend move in? Has your fiancé or wife been around you at one point or another? You’re a writer, if that isn’t the case and you haven’t made it yet, which one of your roommates is messing up your creative flow? Country side is too expensive? Isolated woods unaffordable? So you’re fucked then, right? You are forced to live in a city where buildings are flash built to start the next, so your apartment walls are paper thin and you can still manage to hear the couple next door banging each other’s brains out, or the husband beating the living shit out of his wife. Dark I know. This is how my mind works.

My point is that solitude is golden. Solitude is everything. Lately I’ve found myself less solitude than I expected at this point in my life. I figured I could manage to have silence consistently and be able to focus on only my writing, but that is hard to do when those around you don’t care about what you do for a living with exception for the successful projects, everyone supports those after I struggled making them. Most people just hate their 9 to 5 enough to want to make it their duty to spread the misery.

Not to say I love writing. I hate it with all my heart! Some of these characters are the biggest assholes in the world. They yell at me, they cuss at me. They don’t do what I say. Some of them do whatever the fuck they want and I’m forced to let them do so because I am not the boss of them. They are simply channeling themselves through me and landing whatever they had in mind on the page. A possession from another dimension, if you will. But I love it, too. I love being the person who channels this meaningless crap and I love being able to say it would not have happened without me. I love reading and seeing how much I relate and think like some of these characters, or how different I am from them, and how I could learn from those characters.

It’s a love hate relationship that can’t seem to find its resolution because of the lack of solitude. The lack of silence. My focus won’t be what it used to be because I’ll always hear voices around me, I hear arguments, people asking for questions and favors, people watch me enter my personal space and automatically conjure a reason to shatter my flow state.

I hate that one the most, by the way. If I tell you I’m headed somewhere to write, at least pretend you understand it’s my living, nod your head and fuck off, so I don’t have to tell you to. Don’t stand there and pretend that means I’m doing nothing. Don’t share with me what you think is a better use of my time, because ironically the best use of my time is discovering an escape from your presence at that point.

I’m drifting off. The point here is the complete and total lack of solitude and silence. I hear cars racing outside, people arguing here and there, and music from inconsiderate loud neighbors that forget they aren’t the only ones living in the area, but what can you really expect, right? Ignorant people do ignorant shit.

I can’t trust going anywhere because everywhere is loaded with jackasses who don’t understand. Idiots who refuse to put the effort to really think about what it takes to do what I do. I hear every day, at one point or another that what I do is not difficult and it is not work, but I assure you, writing anything coherent enough to be considered for publication regardless of how bad it might be is significantly harder work than the mindless tasks you can tune out of and listen to music while doing. I wish music helped me with work. Do you know what music does when I’m writing? It fucking distracts me. It takes my focus onto the beat or into the words. It pulls me away from my own thoughts and replaces them with the message from the lyrics, with the strong bass that I can barely get over. Worse is if the song is actually good. Then, I can’t write at all because I am a million percent focused on the song and singing along when I should be writing.

All and all, what I really wish I could get is some silence and solitude. That’s why there is an office. Go in, shut the door behind me, LOCK THAT BITCH, and begin to type in my private space. Let it fill up with the characters and locations that run my mind. The curtain pulls back and the stage is set for the actors to start the play. My job is no more than to type what happens in their performance, when I’m done I show the world what this amazing other universe only I can see is doing. That’s all it is. I tune into another universe, similar to ours, but off to some degree, and I tell people what I see on the other side.

This is only possible through solitude, though. The most difficult thing to obtain.

By Jack Thomas