Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is Writing Your Outlet?


Many of us write because we love the creative process. Other like it because we get to play god and manipulate the worlds and lives of our characters. We can experience a fictional first love, first kiss, save a dystopian universe. And of course, we can get lost in the hope of becoming published, a powerful force of motivation.

For these and other reasons, writing can be the ultimate outlet and escape.

Or are you one of those people whose writing is so intense, you need to escape back into the real world to run away from the pressure of imperfect plotlines, creepy characters, and a gazillion revisions?

Which camp do you fall into? Do you need to escape to your writing, or escape from it?

Don't forget to check out this week's blog chain post on Goals! by Laura Diamond!

54 comments:

Matthew Rush said...

For me it lies somewhere in between. Writing is so much fun when going well that it cannot be avoided.

Then come revisions.

Wen Prior said...

It's total escapism for me, all the way. Which is why I'm suffering horribly at the moment being separated from my manuscript while I let it sit before another round of revisions. Suffering. Seriously.

Francine said...

Hi,

My stories and characters come to me by way of dreams in cinematic glory, so I tend to be obsessive until I have recreated the movie (in words) on the laptop. Often as not a figurative painting will lodge in the subconscious and evolve into a story about the people in the image!

I do love writing, and miss my characters like hell when I complete their story, but there are always others to take their place.

best
F

Candyland said...

I need to escape from it. I write edgy contemporary and at times it's too much.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Interesting question! I think I need to escape into my writing. Although, I'm always thinking about my stories when I should be living in the tangible world (like at dinner time, or driving the car). So, I guess my answer could be both!

B.E. Sanderson said...

I write because I need to get these stories out of my head. I don't know if I can say it's a form of escape for me--I have reading and TV for that--but sometimes it does get intense enough that I need to walk away from the keyboard. My neighbors probably think I'm nuts - watching me pace the front patio and talk to myself.

Susan Fields said...

I definitely escape TO my writing. On days like today, when I slept in and missed my morning writing time, the universe just seems off. Seriously, those couple of hours I get to write before the day gets started are the best part of my day!

Aubrie said...

Good question! I escape TO my writing. It helps me deal with real world troubles.

Piedmont Writer said...

I escape TO my writing as well. Real life is just not what I want it to be at the moment.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I'm in the escape into my writing camp. Although my family may say I spend too much time of my real life thinking about my writing.

Jayne said...

Escape to, definitely. Writing has always been like that for me, never had to run from it! Nice post.

KarenG said...

Good question. It is making me think. I believe I'm a bit of both. Right now I am definitely in the please let me escape to my novel phase. But when this draft is done, I'm going to be wanting escape FROM it!

JustineDell said...

To it! To it! Writing is my escape.

~JD

Christine Fonseca said...

Writing is definitely my outlet - the TYPE of writing is based on my relationship with my novels at the time...when I am freaked out about this biz, I write in my journal until I can "stomach" jumpingback into my story!

Jennifer Walkup said...

Great post! I am in both camps but I cannot go a day without writing. It is most def my escape from reality and a day without my characters just feels... weird. BUT, when I am plotting/before writing, it drives me quite crazy and I sometimes wish I could turn my brain to the "off" position.:)

Joanne said...

Writing is such a part of who I am, I'm not sure I'd consider it an escape. It's more the place I step into each day and become who I really am, communicating and creating with words.

Slamdunk said...

I am also a "tweener." I enjoy writing to take a break from everything, but then get frustrated when it takes to so long to get even a short work that I can live with.

Mayowa said...

Great post.

I might fall into both camps. My writing is like a cruel mistress. It's frustrating and annoying but I always come back for more.

DL Hammons said...

For me, writing is more like creating my own cross-word puzzle and then feeling the joy of filling the whole thing in. I'm not sure which camp that would fall in? :)

Faith said...

You know... I think it's both, and it depends on the project and my mood. Sometimes I go to it to escape everything, and other times I have to get away from it to regain some measure of sanity. Eee. I guess that means there's no true escape for me anywhere!

Erinn said...

I write to escape reality.
The real world is stressful or completely mundane that my writing is my outlet. When I escape into my head and I play with my imaginary friends for a while when I come back to the real world it's with new eyes. I see my daughter in a completely different light and think, "wow, you're a pretty cool kid."

When I need to escape from my writing I normally get trapped by the time vampire known as facebook or twitter.

Tahereh said...

mmmm i'd say writing is definitely more of an escape for me, but then again, i don't see it as something that tears me away from the real world. i don't hide from the real world, either. i try to maintain a healthy balance.

i love my fictional characters, but i love my real-life characters more :D

hehe

Amparo Ortiz said...

Call me weird, but I don't see writing as an escape. I see it as my version of the real world. My thoughts are a part of me, so I don't see them as something that disconnects me from everything else. They just absorb whatever they can and screw it up even more.

It's like a quote I heard in a movie (or a song, or TV show, or something...): "I live my life in my head".

And that's where I'm happiest.

Sandy Shin said...

That's a great question, Lydia!

Currently, I escape to my writing, but I am looking forward to the moment when I'm escaping from it. :)

Giles said...

I'd have to say it's both for me. Sometimes the only ting I want to do at the end of a long day of writing is sit down and play video-games, and other times, I want to sit in front of my computer until I fall asleep from writing so intensely! I love it, and sometimes I loath it. :)

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Funny question for me actually. I've got two projects on the go at the moment. One is a fast paced women's fiction, not too depressing fun kinda story, the other is a dark and slit your wrists kind of memoir. So, I guess I use my women's fiction to escape the memoir and visa versa depending on my mood. And um ... Oh my life? Where did that go? Who stole it?

Jamie Grey said...

Great question! I think it depends on the day and the WIP...I have one that's a total escape - fun to write, I get lost every time I start in. The other I need to escape from, it can get a little intense!

Janna Qualman said...

This may sound like the easy answer, but I don't know that either way best describes me. It's a happy medium for me, a balance that finds me content and even-keeled.

Great post, Lydia!

Southpaw said...

Uh…depends on the day. :)

Nicole Murray said...

I sit between these camps. I have my moments of possession to which I need to take a breather from and then somedays--weeks,what I write feels like the only thing I did right.

Though I have got to say, being possessed by your writing can be such a high.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I think writing is my outlet too and I fall into both camps. Sometimes I need to escape to writing. :)

Talli Roland said...

Generally escape from! It requires a lot of concentration for me to write, so at the end of 3000 words I need to get away!

Krispy said...

Generally, I escape TO writing. That way I can feel productive while also dodging Real Life things I'd rather not think about. XP

But sometimes writing takes too much brain power if I just want to chill for a bit.

Lisa_Gibson said...

Great question! To me, writing is my escape. It's my thing I do for me. I enjoy it and miss hanging out with my characters at times. I can sometimes lose myself (and track of time)when I'm writing.

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Definitely a great question! For me, it's the latter: I definitely need to escape the intense pressure that I place on myself to get it right, get it right, get it right...ack!!

Natalie Murphy said...

I escape by writing. The real world is often full of stress that we can do nothing about. A story, however, can be manipulated and changed by us, even if it does give us stress sometimes =)

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm such a Libra. I can't commit to one side of any coin. My answer is "depends". When real life gets intense, I escape into writing. It helps me process what's happening.

But sometimes my writing seizes me and I have to escape into real life to get back in balance.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Both. The stories are always running through my head. But some days I just need to close the computer and not think about writing at all.

Jackee said...

Depends where I am in the process. First drafts are definitely a beautiful escape. I also notice I'm a lot happier on days I write. It is a great release and cheaper than therapy. Ha!

Jana Hutcheson said...

There are days when writing is a joy, and I can't wait to get back to it. Other times I have to make myself sit down in front of the laptop. I think it mostly depends on how well the writing went the last time I wrote.

chelleyreads said...

i'm not a writer but i do journal (unfortunately not as much now as i did back in high school). nowadays i journal mostly to de-stress. if i have a problem, i write about it and afterward i feel better. :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Lydia...sometimes when my writing gets too intense I need to escape into reality...sometimes when reality becomes monotonous and boring, I escape to my fictious world. Works in two ways for me.

JEM said...

Wow, that's an intense question. I think...I use writing as an escape more than the reverse. Mostly I daydream about fun stories anyway, so putting them down on paper is just another step.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Hmmm...I am a little of both sometimes, but more often I escape TO my writing. Interesting post, Lydia! :-)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I think I write to escape to a different time and place. Right now two of the pieces I'm working on are based in England. I think it's because I'm missing my grandparents. They were able to come to the States at least once a year until about 5 years ago when my Nanny's health got worse. I went to see them twice last year, but don't expect to get to go at all this year...Writing about England and their history helps...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

Erica Chapman said...

Oh I totally escape to writing. It's a wonderful escape. Life gets... hard, and writing, although hard, it's such a joy to live another life for a while, ya know?

Great post ;o)

Mohamed Mughal said...

Yes, an outlet for cathartic relief, almost an exhibitionist diary.

Nicole MacDonald said...

Heaps of crazy daydreams and writing means I can actually 'make something' of them :)

lbdiamond said...

I love putting fantasy on paper. It's an adventure!!!

Jojomama said...

My writing is the great escape...but it is also the work I sometimes dread.
I really enjoy your blog. I left an award for you on my blog--drop by and pick it up and then pass it on if you like! (=

Melissa said...

I fluctuate. Sometimes it's a complete escape. Then it gets too intense and I find myself crying (because my characters are), raving (because my characters are), etc. I get so wrapped up in them and their world sometimes its hard to differentiate. Then I need to escape back to the real world and watch some mindless TV or something.

Theresa Milstein said...

I escape to my writing and imagine most writers must do that too.

Slushpile Slut said...

I escape from writing, it's always this chunky monkey hanging onto my back that I have to throw off and get away from for awhile!

Munk said...

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