Is it healthy to need your space?

February 22, 2021

need-your-spaceI am a person who needs her space.

I have always been that person. Always.

When my writing class laments the solitude of writing, I celebrate it.

When class members want to get together online to write and then chat a little, in between our solitary writing sessions, my feelings are a mix of FOMO (fear of missing out) and obligation: Is it important for me to include myself in these gatherings? I ask myself. Should I make an appearance, just to be collegial?

The thing is, I have no trouble sitting alone in my little office for eight or 10 hours, just writing. All by myself.

In fact, I LOVE it.

When a classmate says she has trouble motivating herself to write, it’s puzzling. I am what they call “self-motivated.” I might have other troubles, but not that one.

I can not remember a single time I dreaded sitting down to write something for myself. Or had “writer’s block.” I don’t even know what it is, to be honest.

I can not recall ever wanting to sit and write in the company of others. I need my own private space and time to think and then to write.

That is not to say that I do not enjoy our weekly classes that sometimes run almost six hours, during which we read our work and give and receive feedback. I love class time!

But it is not writing time. For that? I need my space.

When a friend asks if we should include others in a get-together I decline more times than not, saying that I much prefer having meaningful conversations a deux.

“What do you mean?” she protests. “I have meaningful conversations in groups!”

Precisely. YOU do. I do not.

I am, you might say, an extroverted introvert. Put me in a group and I’ll chat and be personable. But all the while I’ll wish I were lounging in my jammies with my friend or lover or debating the socio-political implications of racism with a nephew. Or maybe, binge-watching Formula 1 races. Or reading a riveting book.

I am here to say that if you need your space, you should take your space. Because I think it’s perfectly healthy to spend time alone and, more importantly, to enjoy time alone.

What do YOU think?

12 comments on “Is it healthy to need your space?
  1. Laurie Stone says:

    Oh Carol, I knew we were soul sisters. I’m so much the same. People mention the isolation of the pandemic, and I’m like, “What isolation?” I’m perfectly fine alone with my thoughts for most of the day. Maybe that’s why we’re writers.

  2. Georgia A. Hubley says:

    Write on, kindred spirits, Carol and Laurie! I ,too, want to write by myself, I do NOT want to write with anyone. However, I occasionally do like to hob-nob with fellow writers — NO writing involved — just a gathering (perhaps sharing a bottle of wine) where I can chat one on one with a fellow writer or with a small group of fellow writers, sharing marketing, writing tips and rejections and acceptances experiences. I write every day, but my creative juices flourish best during the wee hours, writing barefoot and in my nightgown. My day ends when most people are getting up. ..

  3. Beth HavEy says:

    I’m with you and Laurie. I need my keyboard time, my reading time, my thinking time. I always go to bed after my husband, because that’s when I read read read. And just curious, where are you now? On the east or west coast or somewhere in-between????

  4. I definitely love my space and don’t enjoy writing, especially with others around. I like my own bedroom, my own bathroom, and the time to be alone.

  5. I do believe we are soul sisters!!!!

  6. Mel Studer says:

    This is totally me! I knew before the pandemic that this was me, but it has really driven this point home! I work full time in a middle school classroom, and I literally count the minutes until I can get home to be in my “space”. My goal on weekends is to NOT leave the house. I am in my happy place here with my family:)

  7. I have a husband, four children, and a cat. I love my time alone to write, knit or simply breathe uninterrupted! I can do groups well, but there is something simply delightful about time alone to write.

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