I used to think it was a huge liability that I don’t get along with a lot of people in casual, everyday conversation.
Turns Out, I Just Like Getting Work Done
It’s not that I can’t so much as I find it kind of sort of a complete waste of time. Unless, of course, I’m practicing my group management skills or researching character types.
I just hate casual chitchat. Such a waste of time. When I was a kid, I saw how people did this weird thing where they “hung out”, or just, you know, sat and talked about nothing at all and seemed happy about it.
Shooting the Breeze
Like a naturalist among an alien species, I hunkered down to figure out what the shit was going on.
Because why didn’t each of those individuals peel off from the nonfunctioning social group and go into a corner to write? It was so strange to me.
That’s What I Liked Doing
I went through a long period as a young person where I decided there was something wrong with me for not taking satisfaction out of wasting time, so I tried really hard to fit in and do like the other people did. I tried to waste time, you know, and talk about popular whatnot.
It was so boring. Also, I got very little work done. Ugh.
Then I got more into directing and found out (hurray!) that it’s a lot more interesting to play God in a group, and that most people are also bored and want to play that sort of conversationally-directed game.
When I say play God, I really just mean that I took control of the conversation whenever appropriate and made it functionally useful. You know, like actually about reality, and/or about actual emotional phenomena inside me or the other people present.
Like Public Improv
That turned out to be great for character research, for making lasting friends, and for being not-bored. Plus, after a long conversation like that, writing is exciting and fun (because you’re all revved up from actually meeting new people and knowing what they’re like on the inside.)
Anyway, the point of today is that if you, like me, find social groupings sort of useless, perhaps you will also find, like me, that going with the general flow of boring, staid behavior leads to an enormous drop in your writing production.
Like, A Big Drop
In short, if I try to be conventionally social, my word count plummets. And I don’t mean, “oh, I got a few less words written today!” I mean, like, “Oh, my usually quota just eked out to a measly ten percent, and I don’t even care because life feels meaningless.”
Which, over the course of several days, adds up and means a lot less completed work. Ugh.
And Less Usable Work
If you’re wondering why I talk about writing so much, and I only have two books out, that’s because I want to make a good impression, and I have twenty-some-odd complete manuscripts that I’m sitting on that are, for various reasons, not yet satisfactory for public consumption, and I’m tinkering on my official publication style. Luckily, I have an excellent editor.
So, In Conclusion
Avoid other people at all costs, unless you’re prepared to take charge of your interactions and use them to further your craft. Investigating human nature, discussing reality, or actually getting any kind of relaxing social good out of interaction is great, but if you’re just hanging around because you’re supposed to, out of some perceived need to fulfill social obligation, run away!
You’re reading Victor Poole, and no, I’m not really a hermit, but maybe I will be when I’m old and rich. Tee hee. In my current book, I think Gilbert’s gang trial is not going to go super well today.