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Anyone Else Use Writing As A Form of Escapism From Their Everyday Lives?
22

user48675 · 06/06/2020 20:40

I am grateful for a lot of things. No money worries for example and lovely dcs. But, in some other areas of my life, things are not good - mostly in relation to my relationships with other people. Today, I started writing my second novel and I feel better about things. I realise this is just escapism though - escaping from my life where I can feel unhappy and sometimes almost depressed. There are no quick fixes to the issues I face (maybe none at all for some of them and I am currently seeking therapy) but writing seems to make things better. Just wondering if anyone else has turned to writing as a form of escapism, when things feel just too difficult? I don't suppose this is all that surprising since reading is another escape route. Any other troubled writers out there?

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prince55bananahammock · 06/06/2020 20:44

Yes, but rather than it being escapism, I find it therapeutic. I tend to untangle my thoughts through writing and when writing creatively, I can settle old scores through my characters!
Smile

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user48675 · 06/06/2020 20:48

Yes, that's a good way to put it prince. It's surprising what came out in my last novel, things from my childhood, things from my past, things from now. Sometimes it's only after writing it down that you can see what you are really feeling/thinking. I'm dealing with the latest set of distressing events in my life through writing, it is something that is keeping me sane!

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Witchend · 06/06/2020 22:33

Totally escapism.
I've always made up stories in my head, but writing them down means I can escape again and again to my "Blue Castle".

But last winter I got very depressed due to a situation I was having to handle, and writing down my feelings became very therapeutic.

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user48675 · 06/06/2020 23:05

Thanks Witchend. I am just trying to work out whether what I'm doing is healthy or whether I am in fact hiding from issues and not confronting them properly. Either way, writing has become a form of therapy for me. It distracts me a bit from my ongoing issues - it gives me something else to think about and my first book honestly helped me through a very difficult situation. I'm not sure I could write very much, if it were not for the fact that I am troubled - for me what I write about has to be meaningful and therefore it is probably not that commercial. But the central point being is that I am writing for me. I am never going to sell loads of copies of my book(s) but perhaps this is the trade off I make. I envy authors who can enter completely different worlds whereas I seem only able to write about what I know (obviously with supporting characters/sub plots etc.)

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user48675 · 06/06/2020 23:06

Can I ask which genre(s) you write in prince and witchend?

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Witchend · 06/06/2020 23:26

I write children's stories in the around 10-12yo age.
I have read some of them to my children, but otherwise no further.
The ones I've read to my children are adventure/mystery types, but I have a very long ongoing fantasy which I dip in and out of when I have time. That tends to be a scene niggles me until I write it down and so often hasn't got very good joints between the scenes. That one is entirely because I enjoy writing it.
Dh thinks I'm crazy because he never writes anything (other than computer code) that he doesn't have to!

How I tend to write when I'm doing a full book is I start off with a small idea, and I spend hours imagining scenes until eventually I start writing. Then I do roughly a chapter a night, with imagining the next chapter during the day.
It's total escapism though.

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user48675 · 06/06/2020 23:36

Yep, it makes cleaning the bathroom a whole lot easier when you are distracted thinking about plot, characters, interactions between characters etc!

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Pelleas · 06/06/2020 23:40

Oh, yes. If I am 'in the zone' I find myself thinking things like 'oh good, a queue for the ATM' because it means I can sink back into furthering my story for a few moments. If I am blocked, on the other hand, it's like standing outside a window watching the most marvellous party going on but not being allowed inside.

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Witchend · 07/06/2020 11:55

@user48675 @Pelleas

Definitely both those things. Although it then sometimes has a tendency to mix into the story. Especially the weather-I find it really hard to write different weather to outside. If I have a rainy summer, it's because I wrote it in Autumn Grin
I can lie still for hours and work through a story.
I first remember doing it was when my gran was very ill and we were travelling 300 miles to see her every weekend. I had a long story going mostly "walking" along the side of the motorway GrinI imagined had a yellow gingham dress which for some reason I saw as the height of sophistication at that point. Grin

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user48675 · 07/06/2020 14:43

If I am blocked, on the other hand, it's like standing outside a window watching the most marvellous party going on but not being allowed inside.

oh yes, I can relate to this too. I've currently got a couple of plot holes. I am a member of a small writing group and can't see them at the moment, so don't really have anyone with whom I can brainstorm.

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user48675 · 07/06/2020 14:53

I think I feel a sense of achievement with writing. I lack loads of confidence in everyday life and I am always comparing myself to others and despairing. I haven't a job to channel my energies into either. I love my dcs but after I've read the same book for the 6th time in a row or battled the constant round of food preparation/shopping/housework etc. I am left feeling a bit bored and pretty lonely. Writing seems a great outlet for absorbing myself. Writing my novel feels like an achievement - lots of people say "Oh, I think we've all got a book in us," but most of these people don't actually write one. And whether it's good or bad or somewhere in between, my first novel is getting closer to publication (self publishing).
I do struggle with making friends who are on a similar wavelength (perhaps I need to meet more people). I think I've got one who I communicate with on a fairly regular basis. And I have a very dysfunctional extended family. I've experienced a lot of loss too. I feel I'm not particularly good at relationships and therefore getting lost in writing fills a hole (dreading finishing my second book because I don't currently have any more ideas).

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NotNowPlzz · 12/06/2020 19:36

I feel the same, and I think it's wonderful. Having writing going on, a project that takes me to my depths and challenges my mind, gives me this warm kind of glow inside and a quiet confidence. I only feel really satisfied in myself when I have that, and it's not even really about the book being good or being published, but knowing I'm using my potential. In that state I worry less about everything, and even if a worry crosses my mind it doesn't weigh me down so much. I have something that's all mine, authentically me, a little world I've created, and I can spend time there as much as I want. In a way that is escapism, but escapism is part of real life, stories are a part of real life, and there is nothing inferior about solitude.

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asIlayfrying · 12/06/2020 19:51

Yes I definitely write to escape in the same way I used to read to escape. I set my book somewhere completely different from where I am and writing it was like getting to step out of my life, which wasn't bad but was about being a mum, cleaning the kitchen etc. Writing is a great outlet as you get in the flow which is a great state for your mind to be in. Better than drinking or numbing out on social media and you have something at the end of it.

Don't worry about finishing your second book and not having more ideas, you will come up with one soon enough, or do some reading/looking around and something will come to you. Having said that I am having the same panic right now.

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Spanishcove · 12/06/2020 21:56

@asIlayfrying, that is the best username I’ve seen in years on Mn.

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user48675 · 12/06/2020 22:18

Notnow

I have something that's all mine, authentically me, a little world I've created, and I can spend time there as much as I want.

I feel this way too. I was dictated to as a child by a very authoritarian father until in the end, I didn't know what I liked or disliked. My emotions were very repressed and I was painfully shy. I feel like I haven't achieved much in life, particularly relating to a career because anxiety and low self esteem have held me back which is quite sad really (not that I know what profession I might have entered. Now, although I am not being controlled as such, I have 3 dc and so a lot of my time is dictated by their needs (I gave up work and became a sahm). Whilst I love being a mum, I feel I have lost any identity I might have developed. As asllay says my life is essentially about being a mum, cleaning the kitchen etc.

I feel now, that I am naturally drawn to people who are creative but unfortunately, I don't know all that many in my day to day life but the ones I have met, I find fascinating. A lot of my mum friends hobbies revolve around going to the gym or they are wrapped up in family businesses. I'm not saying these are bad things, I just find it difficult to meet others who get satisfaction out of writing and are on a similar wave length to me. Someone once joked that it seemed like I had found a religion (referring to writing). Well not exactly but I definitely found something (getting profound now, sorry) but it could be that I have found more of me.

I have just completed my first novel (hope to publish it later this year) and I've just started on a second book, this time set in a completely different location (in my first book I essentially wrote about what I knew). More research required this time but I feel like I'm on some sort of adventure, unsure of where the story might take me and the things I might need to learn about. I find this daunting but also quite exciting!

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Witchend · 13/06/2020 11:36

I feel this way too. I was dictated to as a child by a very authoritarian father until in the end, I didn't know what I liked or disliked. My emotions were very repressed and I was painfully shy.
Have you read "The Blue Castle" by LM Montgomery?
That's very similar to the main character. The Blue Castle is her imaginary world she withdraws into.

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user48675 · 13/06/2020 14:27

Thanks Witchend, I'll look that book up.

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asIlayfrying · 13/06/2020 18:15

thanks spanishcove! I was wondering if it was lame so I am quite chuffed now.

user48675 nothing more to add except that like you i found writing a real lifesaver when my kids were smaller. And I hope you keep going!

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user48675 · 13/06/2020 19:14

Are you still writing asllayfrying? Interesting that writing was a lifesaver for you too. There doesn't seem to be too many of us with young children. Most of the writers I have met (agreed only a small number so far) have either no children or grown up children.

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asIlayfrying · 13/06/2020 21:44

Yes now that my kids are at school - i wrote one bad novel and now a new one that is getting published next year. Lots of writers i know have young kids - they just get better at using the pockets of time they can find. For me though it was about giving up a lot of extra stuff like socialising a lot - now i mostly just write, look after my kids and do exercise to stay healthy. It's a fairly antisocial existence but suits me.

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Spanishcove · 13/06/2020 21:47

My experience is like yours, @asIlayfrying. I wrote my first novel on maternity leave, and I have several female novelist/poet friends whose productivity has rocketed since having children. Paying for childcare certainly concentrates the mind!

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user48675 · 13/06/2020 22:53

I started writing when dc3 had naps (other two at school) and as you said it was a pocket of time that I had to myself. I hear what you're saying about it being anti-social, I thought I liked this aspect at first but I'm not so sure I do - I definitely need to get out more especially once little dc starts pre-school etc. I never had a busy social life in the first place. I think I will try and join at least one more writing group. How have you got to meet other writers? The last group I attended was a bit odd - everyone turned up to critique each others work and there was no chit chat. I found it very strange. Congratulations asllay on the publication of your novel. I plan to self publish my first novel later this year (it really isn't commercial).

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