Why Fiction Writing Is like Therapy

Writing fiction is like therapy. I enter a virtual room (within my brain) where a group of people (my characters) sit in a circle and tell me their stories. Sometimes their stories intertwine, and sometimes their stories are standalone.

And sometimes, their stories imitate things from my life.

Let’s look at Maggie Sawyer, for example. Unlike me, she’s in her mid-30’s and single. Her high school boyfriend has just re-entered her life, but they’re not hooking up any time soon. Like me, Maggie has some issues, one of them being a parent with an explosive temper. (Boy do I know about that!)

When Art Imitates Life

It’s no secret that artists create things that imitate life, and nothing makes art more appealing than a little tragedy. When I write, I slip the dark things from my life into my fictional works. It helps me confront them in a creative way.

Slipping those negative emotions into my fictional work also helps me take control of the details of the situation behind them. Sometimes I come up with a different outcome. Maybe even a better outcome.

Accepting the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Everyone has creative talents and I’m blessed with more than a few. During my quilting phase, I made memorial photo quilts. When on my knitting kick, I whipped up scarves and hats for the local cold weather coalition. And during my pen and ink era, I sketched pets that had crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.

Looking back, it’s easy to see how I’ve spent my entire life using art to get past the rough times in life. Depression and the holidays go hand in hand, and the ugly black claws are already threatening to sink in. If this happens to you, then please reach out and talk to someone.

For now writing is doing the trick for me. Whenever a dark memory threatens to drag me down, instead of wallowing in it, I’m pulling out my notebook and jotting down details. Making poor Maggie Sawyer suffer along with me in her own, fictional way really does help.

If you’re a writer, I’d love for you to chime in with your thoughts on this subject. And if you’re a reader, then let me know how you tackle the tough times, through the holidays or otherwise.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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