I suppose it would be appropriate on this Day of Independence to post about the independent and solitary job of a writer. I call it a job because though we don't necessarily have a boss staring down our necks, and we don't work 9 - 5 (sometimes the hours break down to a whole lot more than eight hours per day), we are in this for the love of the craft, and we're also in it to make money. Though unlike most jobs, writing requires a lot of isolation and focus, uninterrupted and yes, independent.
With writers, it's usually a desktop, laptop, pen and pad, iPad, or whatever form we use to plug away at transferring ideas, thoughts, and character journeys into words on a page. Some writers can focus while at a park, in a coffee shop, a restaurant, poolside, at the beach (as in this photo - wouldn't that be heaven?) or in the den of their home with family all around, though most require complete and total isolation, away from it all, just to focus on what the characters are doing, saying, becoming, getting into, getting out of, feeling, screwing up, living through, and/or dying from.
Writing can be a very lonely profession. If you close the door and block out the world, including the phone and those who you love who are on the other side of that door (who chances are know not to knock unless the house is on fire or they're bringing in a glass of wine), or even if you live alone, you run the risk of being reclusive simply from the demands of your work in progress.
Shutting down to write and going into your writer cave takes great discipline. It's not easy to disconnect and shut out your world for the world of your characters, or for the work of your non-fiction mission.
Being independent, writing alone, which means working alone (unless you have a writing partner), unlike a job where you at least have coworkers to chat with and interact with and meet with and lunch with, is not for the faint at heart. I love the freedom of it all, though a lot of people I know say they could never do it. It all comes along with the writing territory though. It's just you and those computer keys, or you and that pen.
Eventually it pays off, and we can run off and hang out and go to the movies and shop and travel and chat on the phone for hours, but at times the rigors of writing do not allow for much socialization. And it's important that those people in your life understand those aspects that spell "I need alone time" and have patience. We come out of our writing cave eventually, though we should also remember that everything should be given the necessary attention in moderation. We need to know when to put writing on the back burner and step away from book nurturing to nurture those who we love, and to nurture self-love!
As reclusive as it can be, it's all part of the balancing act of the independent writer. A job where every day is an opportunity to write, holiday or not, weekend or not, hump day or not. Independence factor - sometimes rough, the results - priceless!
Happy 4th of July - Independence Day!