Writing takes discipline, focus, energy, and empathy for our characters. That’s why I write in the morning before my mind sidetracks to real problems and outside distractions. A rested mind opens the doorway to my fictional world. We must create doorways in and out of our fictional minds.
But here’s the catch, the doorways must revolve.
Yesterday, I wrote a scene containing a climactic, heated argument between two characters. I pounded the keyboard with vigor! But today I need to patch things up between them—as humbling and draining for me as if it’s happening in real life. Not so fun. If the argument was real, a family member could have listened, supported, or at least consoled me. Or I could have had a good bawl—something to release those pent-up emotions.
Who understands what it’s like to simultaneously juggle the real and alternate worlds? And I’m not even talking to-do lists, just mindset. We enter an imaginary world and leave it carrying baggage—real emotions. This is why writers need interaction with other writers.
We are the only ones who GET IT.
In my last novel, my preacher hero got the hives twice because I used allergies to create a bond with his heroine. While I enjoyed writing these humorous scenes, I got the hives for an entire week, even longer than it took to write the scenes. It was awful. Every time I quit taking Benadryl, I broke out in welts. Besides scratching, I started to fret about mind-power and what might happen next. Hubby thought it was hilarious.
Poor guy. He doesn’t think it’s so funny when he has to bear the brunt of my emotional writing baggage. Depending upon a day’s creation, I can do the garbanzo dance or crawl into a hole. Sometimes I’m so drained, I even feel antisocial on Bunco night. Hubby dreads my deadlines as much as I do.
Worst is when I stand in the doorway of both worlds. When things are flowing, it’s hard to quit. Right when I’m in the middle of an adrenalin high, real life beckons. I have to zap out of it, leave things hanging. When that happens, I become a zombie. I go through the motions of cooking dinner and even dinner conversation, but my soul is missing. I haven’t found the doorway back to reality or else I’m just not ready to move through it. One arm’s lagging, grasping at other world insanities. Am I the only one who experiences this?
Do we feel guilty or secretive about spending the day in an imaginary place, especially after being the villain who plots disaster for our unsuspecting characters, or after writing a love scene? How do we stuff emotional baggage and greet family with a smile?
What doors transport us from one world to the other?
Are we on the brink of schizophrenia?
Or am I just imagining this?