Writing Can Be a Solitary Life: 4 Ways to Get Involved

When you’re sitting at your desk working on a story or an article, you don’t always notice that you’re all alone. Even writing in a noisy, busy newsroom requires you to focus your attention on whatever project you’re working on. Being able to focus is something that makes writers oblivious to the outside world.No matter what you’re involved in, at some point, you look up and realize that you’re all alone except for maybe the dog or a plant. Because writing requires this type of intensity, it’s easy to forget that there is another world out there. While solitary is good for focusing, it is not so good for those social skills that you need in order to function away from your desk.I confess that most of the time, I don’t want to leave my desk. I could happily write for hours on end without stopping, but that is not how the world works, so here are some things that you can do to get involved in other activities without losing your edge.

Join a Writer’s Guild
I am a member of the Author’s Guild and like to read the comments on the community bulletin board, learn about the latest trends in publishing and even join a seminar on banned books. Besides the Author’s Guild, there are numerous other groups that you can join.Many of these groups are genre specific like the Romance Writers, Historical Fiction Writers, Western Writers, and so much more. If there is a genre, you will find a professional organization that has been established to answer any of your genre-specific questions.

Social Media
In addition to organized groups like the guilds, there are loosely organized groups on social media platforms where people gather to discuss the pros and cons of whatever hot topic there is at the moment.Not sure whether you want to self-publish? Don’t know if you should query more than one agent at a time? What is a hybrid author? You can usually find the answer to your writing and publishing questions in an online group.Other online groups may be focused on writing software like Scrivener or The Novel Factory. Even Plottr has an online group. If you’re a copywriter, there are many groups focused on copywriting where projects and proposals are discussed.

Local Authors Groups
No matter where you live, there is probably a local author’s group nearby that you can join. These groups do more than offer conferences and conventions; they offer support in the community and are great for encouraging other members.If you need help with a manuscript or are having a hard time finding the right beta reader, these members have been there and can help you move forward. Usually, dues are not expensive, and the benefits are well worth any membership fees.

Some working writers are tired of the loneliness of a home office and group together to do live Zoom meetings where they still work independently, but they have the option to look up and see others in their group also working.This type of setting is an innovative idea that lets a solo worker feel like a part of a group without the hassles of going into an office or getting distracted by office antics. They also help keep each other accountable when it comes to meeting writing goals, word goals, and other milestones.This type of peer-to-peer action can help keep a writer focused while eliminating some of the loneliness.It doesn’t matter if you write fiction or non-fiction; if you’re a content creator or a copywriter, everyone needs to connect somewhere. I hope that you find the group that meets your needs. 

Freelancing after 60

I was so flattered when a delightful college student requested an interview with me about my freelance work. I was less flattered when I found out she was targeting freelancers who are over the age of 60 and still slugging it out in the land of online work.

Her thesis is based on the older workforce and how they are adapting and surviving in the changing workforce. I took computer programming courses in college in the 70s. Humph.

On the other hand, she raised some very valid points that I have given great thought to since our little chat. She asked me if I thought I would retire, and she wanted to know what challenges I face as an older freelancer.


No. I told her that I would never retire, and it had nothing to do with money.

It had everything to do with my desire to continue to explore new things and teach myself new tricks.
For as long as I can remember, I have been writing something. Whether it’s a To Do list, a non-fiction book or a novel, my pen has been to paper even in the digital age. I suspect I will be writing on my very last day. My last words might be “Give me a pen and paper”.

Also as long as I can remember, I always wanted to learn more about things like computer programming and accounting. I also have taken as many copywriting courses as I can, as well as bead making and polymer clay technique classes. It’s always about what interests me at any given time, which is why I write trivia and hosted trivia on MSN when they were a fledgling website with chat rooms back in the 1990s. It’s why I learned to hard code websites at the same time.

I don’t see my desire to learn changing at any time in my life, which brings me to the challenges of working while 60+.

Challenges of Older Online Workers

The first thing I noticed was how small the type was in my word processor. Then the ache in my shoulder and wrist, and then my legs being weak after I got up.

Those are real, physical problems that come with age in general, but they are amplified when you sit at your desk too long or use a mouse for how many years now? Each of these things can be fixed with new glasses, a larger font on the computer screen and even some exercise between paragraphs. I do have a treadmill in my office. Also, I just underwent carpal tunnel surgery for my mouse hand.

The other challenges are not so easy to see, feel or diagnose.

Brain Power

Your brain ages as you do, so it’s only natural that it will start to forget things or derail your thought processes. It can also make learning more difficult, which can affect the jobs you take, the content you write and the way that you interact with clients. It can also challenge you when it comes to learning new things like how to Zoom or use Google meet.

If you have any type of underlying medical condition, you can also experience confusion or the ability to speak coherently.

Since an aging brain is inevitable, I am committed to doing what I can to keep it always learning with classes, puzzles, games, writing and other brain games.  

Yes, I am still freelancing after 60, and I don’t anticipate quitting any time soon, especially since I can take my work with me wherever I go.

In addition to Wordle, Sudko, Crosswords and other puzzles, I also find time to take classes from Udemy Academy.

If you’re looking for some side jobs that will help you keep your brain sharp, then open an account at Fivver and put out your shingle. There are so many remote jobs to choose from that you’re sure to find something to stimulate your brain and put a couple dollars in the bank.