Sunday, 22 July 2012

Solitude: A Writer's Privilege & Prerogative

Sometimes, I need to be alone. I need the solace of solitude when the world, in the words of Wordsworth, becomes 'too much with' me. 

My alone time is so important to me. It is the bedrock of my being. The foundations of my creativity. I need it to recharge and enhance my thinking and feeling and understanding ability. 

Without periods of solitude, I'd implode. I'd cease to be me. Especially after lots of time spent socially, I need the antidote of quiet time to recuperate and recover my self from the voices and influence of others. I need it to differentiate and consolidate the individual from the collective and find my bearings once again, as Virginia Woolf said, 'myself being myself.'

I can't go for any long lengths of time without this sacred time to myself. I'm sure this is true for all writers and creatives. How else would we create? Or germinate the seeds for creating? Like any seeds, they need dark and deep quiet.  

Just as Charles Bukowski says, solitude is as necessary to me as anything else, even more necessary than company. Without solitude, I wouldn't be a writer. In order to  write, you need to stand apart from the crowd to observe. Solitude is this observing space.

And I not only need solitude, I like it. I welcome it and revel in it! A free space where I can  spread my wings and know my wingspan. I relish time spent alone. Without it, I'd be a lesser less-known version of myself.

Well, I can't explain it any better than that. But just have a look at the collection of quotes below by many great artists and writers who truly knew the value of solitude.

enjoying my quiet time, 



"I have to be alone very often. I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That's how I refuel." - Audrey Hepburn

"I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.” Charles Bukowski

"If you're lonely when you're alone, you're in bad company.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre

 "I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” ― Henry David Thoreau

"If you are alone you belong entirely to yourself. If you are accompanied by even one companion you belong only half to yourself or even less in proportion to the thoughtlessness of his conduct and if you have more than one companion you will fall more deeply into the same plight.” ― Leonardo da Vinci 

"Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.” ― May Sarton

 "A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer

"I need solitude for my writing; not 'like a hermit' - that wouldn't be enough - but like a dead man.” ― Franz Kafka

"Language ... has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone.” ― Paul Tillich

"Solitude is independence." - Hermann Hesse

"How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.” ― Virginia Woolf,

 How can you hear your soul if everyone is talking?” ― Mary Doria Russell,

 Anything we fully do is an alone journey.” ― Natalie Goldberg

"Once more
Uncontradicting solitude
Supports me on its giant palm;
And like a sea-anemone
Or simple snail, there cautiously
Unfolds, emerges, what I am.” ― Philip Larkin

"I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.”Rainer Maria Rilke

 "I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.” ― Henry David Thoreau

"In solitude the passions feed upon the heart." - Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton


  1. Enjoy your "solitude standing by the window" to quote Suzanne Vega. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  2. Thanks for reading. Another great quote!

  3. This resonates so much with me! I too need a lot of alone-time to restore and retune. I like to think and I like to read and I like to write...and I find that spending time alone in the quiet is the best way to allow myself that kind of creative space.

    LOVE the quotes, too (I am something of a quote obsessive myself!)

    And the Soul Collage card is gorgeous:) I'm stillso happy about that site! I got all my card and glue and things at the weekend so my room is currently a glorious mess of glossy bits of paper and stickyback plastic! Will definitely post some photos when I have a couple done xxx

  4. Thank you Cheryl! They are great quotes.

    Good luck with the soul collage - I'm sure you will enjoy it! Look forward to seeing your finished cards!


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