Why 'sono solo' can aid your creativity
Updated: Mar 29
About 3 days ago, I watched my boyfriend's car roll away in the dust.
I was alone. Alone. I was alone. Or as the Italians more eloquently put it, I was solo. Sono solo.
This isn't a big revelation and you're probably wondering why my bf's car pulling out of the driveway is so significant to me, buttttt I've not been by myself - really, ever. Apart from my three-month stint at university - and if you've ever lived in halls it's kinda hard to be alone or at least feel alone with all the noise and the drinking and the, WELL, THAT OTHER THING.
I'm also currently living in an Airbnb in the middle of nowhere.
This isn't an understatement.
There is NO-ONE around me. I look outside and I see a mountain and a field and a sky - that's it.
I don't even have a car and the nearest town or 'civilisation,' is around two hours away if I tried to walk it (which I won't).
But more than all of that, I felt lonely when his car pulled away because I'm in love with him. And it sorta feels like my heart is walking around outside my body. So, naturally - when 'my heart,' decides to get up, leave, and fly to an entirely different country without me (it was business, I can't blame him) it does kindaaaaa hurt.
And having absolutely no-one to depend on or - HELL - to even see from a distance, magnified this loneliness.
Well, I thought it was loneliness but by the second day, I realised it was just the feeling of being alone.
The feeling of waking up and not having another person to say good morning to.
Or walking round the corner and forgetting that they're not there.
Having to cook every single day for yourself.
Having to put on your big-girl pants and do literally EVERYTHING BY YOURSELF (because I'll be honest, my bf babies me).
This is all very illuminating but you're probably wondering what the hell any of this has to do with copywriting or creativity.
1) Being alone was like taking myself out on a lil private solo date. Make dinner for myself? Why not make it ~romantic~ and pour myself a glass of wine while I'm at it? Why not take each small 'alone,' moment and use it as a moment to really look after me - to nurture me. To nourish me. To teach me something new. To go somewhere - usually internally - that I'd not gone before.
2) Being alone was like being my own therapist - I had to get really used to my own thoughts and feelings and fears. Being scared at night caused a one-way conversation to start, between me myself and I. Why are you scared? You shouldn't be scared. Go watch an episode of 90 Day Fiance and feel better.
I also became more alert and sensitive to the world around me. That sound I heard at night? There was NO way I wasn't gonna check it out. The oven? I'm going to double-check that I turned it off, at least twice. That bird singing outside? Why do I seem to hear it x10 better now than I did before?
3) Being alone made everything BIGGER and more magnified. If I felt sad, it instantly felt more intense - more out of control. If I felt happy, it instantly felt like elation. And just looking out at the mountain and the big expanse of nature's nothing really made me feel 'alone' like I'd never felt it before.
Because there's a difference between being 'alone' in a flat in the middle of a city and being alone in a cottage - next to a mountain with no one - in a country that's not your own. That's alone x10.
Not that it was bad. In a way, that feeling of aloneness was epic and vast and made me feel very small and very unimportant.
4) Being alone made me do new things I'd never really done before. Like grill chicken. Or hang clothes on a pole outside during a sunny afternoon. Or kill two HUGE spiders. Or get through an entire advertising project all by myself, no support needed. Or battle my fear of being alone in the dark, at night - in the middle of absolutely nowhere with nothing but a mountain for company.
5) Being alone brought me closer to things I had neglected in a relationship. Neglected is a BIG word. I guess you could say, put to the side. The, 'I'm too busy to do XYZ.'
But now that I was alone, there was more space to fill - more time to fill - more aloneless to fill. And no matter how many seasons of 90 Day Fiance I binged, I still needed human connection (or something deeper than human).
So I found myself returning more fully to my religion and my God and Jesus (and for other people, that might look completely different or it might not exist at all). But for me, my religion has always been part of my life.
And it's not like I DON'T pray.
I just don't pray enough and often and long.
I also don't talk to God as much as I used to - and when I say talk, I mean exactly that. Long-drawn conversations.
Being alone made me want to do that because WELL I was alone.
And then there was family. Moving to Portugal, I kept a lot of my family at arm's length. As I write this, I am aware that I miss my little sister (she's 10) and that I need to do more to talk to her.
~interjection: I actually stopped writing for 30 minutes to talk to her and play Among Us. See what I mean?~
Now, in the midst of all this aloneness, I found myself being more creative - being able to pluck ideas out of thin air more easily.
I think I know why now.
All these experiences and feelings and thoughts and worries and challenges and magnified emotions and being - genuinely - outside my comfort zone, have made writing easier.
It's made it easier because I have more full and rich and intense experiences to pull on in the moment.
It's made it easier because I feel like I need to write to fill the space and the silence. To put all the noise I hear in my head (that's usually a bit muffled) onto the page.
And it's made it easier because I'm discovering new things about myself every day and becoming more aware of the small sensitive things around me.
Now this aloneness isn't going to last forever. I wouldn't want it to. I still want the noise and the rush and the hubbub and the 'I'm so connected to this other human being that I sometimes forget about me,' feeling.
But for now, I'm embracing it and leaning into it.
Turning the music a little louder and singing because - truly - there's no one around to tell me I sound bad.
I'm not saying you need to fly out the country, rent an Airbnb by the mountain, and be totally by yourself for over half a month (but you can).
All I'm saying is, make a conscious and concerted effort to occasionally go off-grid. Even if off-grid is just a walk in the park or on the beach or in a library or a solo date in a coffee shop or taking yourself out to lunch (it's not as scary as it seems, promise).
See where it takes your creativity.
~now I'm out. I haven't watched the stars at night alone in a field, so I'm gonna go do that~