working alone: how do you create connection?
Almost 6 years ago, when I announced to my coworkers that I would be leaving our employer to work from home, there seemed to be one response that was more common than all the others. It wasn't a suspicion that I would miss the practice of law, or even skepticism that I wouldn't enjoy being a writer and a photographer; more often than not, a colleague would smile sympathetically, slowly shake his head, and say, "Yeah, you're going to hate it, Karen. You're way too social of a creature. You? Sitting at home alone working? You're going to be miserable."
Six years on, I'm happy to report that all of these colleagues were wrong: I love working alone. There's nothing I love more than returning to my quiet house after having dropped Alex off at school, and Marcus has gone to work, lighting my twinkle lights in my office, turning on some music, and settling down to work for the day. I love my solitude -- in fact I crave it.
Yesterday, my friend Laura Mayes came into town, and we had lunch. For most of our lunch, we talked about work -- what she's been doing, what I've been doing, that sort of thing. As we talked, I realized that while I love my solo life, I do miss the opportunity to have an objective ear to bounce ideas off of, or bring challenges to. With all due respect to my Marcus, who is unfailingly supportive, and is always ready with advice and comfort and encouragement whenever I need it, it would also be great to have a sounding board in folks who do the same work I do, familiar with the same creative and developmental challenges I face. And, as much as I rely on social media to connect with other writers, photographers, bloggers, authors and creatives, there's really nothing like face-to-face communication, is there?
So I was wondering: for those of you who tend to work in isolation, how do you connect with other people who do work similar to yours? Do you rely on conferences? Co-working? Monthly meetings?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.