Writers are each a solitary actor with an audience of none to a million.
That’s my theory; writing is a non-simultaneous performance art. We act out our stories as we write — we perform them in our minds, just as surely as if we were on stage — without knowing how many people will be in the audience when the house lights come up. The writer must feel all the emotion as she writes; the reader gets it later. And who knows how many readers there will be?
Some can hold their game face as they write, hardly betraying the highs and lows of their feelings as they put words on the page. Others mumble their dialogs or speak the words aloud. Some pace at their writing station and pantomime the action. No wonder so many writers prefer to work alone!
I’ve read that JK Rowling was waiting on a train platform without a pen when she had the idea for a scrawny bespectacled boy who did not know that he was a wizard. Imagine if she had entered into a conversation with a fellow traveler, and that thought had been lost? Later, she penned her Harry Potter novels in the public room of a pub overlooking Edinburgh Castle. Could anyone watching her face then have sensed the brilliance of the words which she was putting on paper?
Alas, few of us have imaginations so powerful and so impervious to distraction as JK Rowling. So we retreat to quiet places. We train our family and friends to respect our diurnal periods of self imposed solitude. In the end, we put it out there. We publish electronically.
Will anyone read our words?