How to be in a room with people

Sometimes, when you’re a writer or employed in another similarly lonesome way, it’s quite hard to be in a room with other people. You get used to being on your own. You have to, because otherwise you go nuts and never get anything done. And being alone is generally great for your productivity (as long as you stop yourself from searching out fleeting connections online).

The thing is, humans are by nature incredibly social creatures and that means that if you want to hang on to as many of your marbles as you can, you’re best to make contact with the outside world occasionally. It’s been about eleven months since I gave up my day job to be a freelancing lounger and literary bounder. So far, it’s been ace and I’ve not really missed sharing office space one bit.

So far so good. Apart from the fact that last month I headed off to a fab Arvon course at Monaick Mhor and immediately was petrified by being in such a gorgeous and remote location with so many other people. Lucky for all on the Advanced Fiction Course, the group was completely nutter-free and we all got along peacefully and productively, but that didn’t stop me spending the first night wondering what the hell I was doing.

I was out of practice. I’d forgotten how to deal with people for more than the short amount of time you might spend chatting to them in a bar or over coffee and it made me feel horribly out of my depth.

Now I’ve been reminded that no matter how much of an anti social Grinch you can be in a working environment, it’s good for you to make the effort sometimes. Other people don’t normally bite, but you might if you spend too much time frothing rabidly and wrestling with words alone at your desk. Or is that just me?