Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 29, 2017

Escapism Writing

We all know some people read to escape real life. Sometimes life is rough and hard and bleak, and a few hours where you can find some relief  and leave all your problems behind is priceless. Escapism reading and entertainment rises when economic times are hard, as well (just look at the movies that were popular during the Great Depression). But what about escapism writing?

A couple of weeks ago, my aunt died unexpectedly. While I was in a hotel room in New York for the funeral, I got word that a little boy my daughter went to preschool with is battling a brain tumor. Needless to say, I was staggered emotionally. Sometimes when writers get hit hard emotionally, the writing dries up. I have been there, too, at times. But this time, I turned to my current work in progress and dove into my other world for several hours.

In this case, I needed that time to escape reality and let my subconscious process everything I was going through. Did I “come back” from those two hours of writing feeling healed and whole? Of course not. That’s not how emotions work. But sometimes we need some time to not think too hard about awful things, to not dwell upon the pain we are feeling, especially if, like me, you have an anxiety disorder where your thoughts can easily spiral out of control and drag you into a black hole of panic. Escaping while letting the edge wear off and diverting my mind to break the thought spiral are valuable coping mechanisms.

So how about it, fellow writers? Do you find your writing to be a good escape when things get tough? And if you do, is your escapism writing mostly in the form of personal journaling, or is it in your fiction as well?

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