ACFWAgents, Authors and writing, Distraction, Encouragement, Faith, Fellowship, writing 3 Comments

by Angela Hunt

Hello, ACFW!  I hope you’re enjoying your summer and planning for the conference coming up in September. It’s going to be a great time!

Anna Quindlen once wrote an insightful column for Newsweek. She wrote about solitude and explained that though she loves her family, she also loves time alone:

“I like solitude. I can spend days happily alone, eating Raisin Bran for dinner on the porch instead of bothering with a starch, a stove, and a napkin. Eldest of five, mother of three, veteran of noisy newsrooms: it is any wonder that I like the sound of silence? It has a good beat, and you can dance to it.”

“If you like to be by yourself, there’s the assumption that you’re antisocial, antifamily, a month away from becoming that old woman down the street with the weedy yard and the decrepit house, or the Unabomber . . . People covertly embrace faux solitude, the places in which they can be alone among others: the plane, the car, the pew.

“Lack of solitude is probably why most political figures are slightly deranged. Between the aides, the staff, and the Secret Service, the president is never, ever alone, and senators ricochet from meeting to charity lunch to meeting to fund-raising dinner to yet another meeting. Every once in a while I have a day like that, and at the end of it I have not had a single coherent thought. It’s like mosquitoes buzzing around your ears while you’re trying to sleep. You can’t dream through the din.

“I can be the life of the party when necessary, but sometimes I just need to hear myself think. After all, if we can’t hear ourselves thinking, is any thinking truly going on?”

I love what Anna said. I also love teaching at writers’ conferences and helping bring up the next generation of writers. But by the time I get home from a conference, I’m ready to talk about anything but writing. Every day I’m grateful that my husband isn’t involved in publishing.

I also love solitude. I have a mountain of books to read, scores of plots rattling around in my head, and there is always something to do around the house. I could happily live alone (with a dog or two) in the middle of the woods, with only short runs into town to assure myself that I’m fit for human company. Through the magic of the Internet, my friends are a few keystrokes away.

But God has also called me (and you) to live and worship in family and community. And this is a good thing, because it is in rubbing up against others that we wear off our own rough edges. It’s in family and communal living that we shake the egoism out of solitude and learn that we’re not the center of the universe.

Anna makes a strong point about needing silence to think—and writers need to think, perhaps more than most people. Silence is a spiritual discipline we often forget to practice in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Because we’re not listening, I wonder how many times we don’t hear God speak?

So take some time to practice silence today. Get alone, get quiet, and . . . listen. What do you hear?

Angie Hunt lives and writes in sunny Florida, with her three dogs, lots of chickens, and her youth pastor husband. Her free monthly newsletter for writers can be found at

Comments 3

  1. Thanks for the great article on solitude. As a writer, I spend so much time alone and sometimes feel my best when it’s just me and the computer, dealing with characters, plots, twists and turns in my books. Then my grandkids show up and take what was already a pretty great day and make it lighter, more fun and certainly more interesting. My wife does much the same for me when she pops into my little office and sees my eyes drooping and the tiredness in my face. I give thanks to God for the reminders that solitude is necessary in life, especially when we take the time to be with Him. I also thank him for all the two-legged reminders in my life, that life is best when faith, family and laughter are shared. Thanks, again!

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