Love & Writing

Imaginary Life vs Real Life

Reading Claire’s comment on my last ROW80 check in post, about how Real Life can be pushy, got me to thinking about how my imaginary life stands up to the domineering force of reality.

In my imaginary life, I am a full time writer, sitting at my pretty white desk, tapping away at my top of the range MacBook. Day after day I craft beautiful, moving stories that change the world, all while drinking first flush Darjeeling tea from a collection of vintage teacups, and eating cucumber finger sandwiches.

In real life, I’m a stay at home mum who got pushed out of her study when it had to be turned into a nursery. I’m writing this on my Dad’s hand-me-down laptop, sitting on the sofa, in between tickling my daughter, searching for the softest soft toy, and mopping up milk. The stories I love to write and create aren’t the ones that change the world, but I like to think that someday they might affect even one reader’s life. I’m drinking Tesco own brand tea from a chipped mug, and I’m eating my daughter’s left over toast.

Imaginary me doesn’t have to cram her writing into rapidly decreasing nap time, or late in the evening after cooking and cleaning up, while trying to block out the noise of the TV in the lounge. But then, imaginary me lives in a cocoon of peaceful existance and, I have to wonder, what on earth does she have to write about? If nothing but beautiful things happen to her, if she never worries about the budget, or taking the bins out, or a sick child or a husband facing redundancy (again), where does she find the emotion, the fear, the feeling for her stories? My life experience is what allows me to create characters that can engage with a reader, to move them, to affect their life rather than change the world.

On the other hand, there are some aspects of imaginary me’s life I would like to cultivate. I’ve got my eye on a beautiful duck egg blue 50s tea cup and saucer set at The Oxford Tea Party. And I’m saving for the MacBook…

What about you? How does your imaginary writing life reflect your real one?

6 thoughts on “Imaginary Life vs Real Life”

  1. I LOVED this 🙂 As a fellow writer (who often writes while the kids I nanny are asleep!) I can definitely empathise with your situation … though the mug of Tesco tea is normally an all too frequent Diet Coke 🙂
    It also reminded me of My Ten Future Lives – a book I’m currently turning into a screenplay, which is completely based on my protagonist’s imaginary future lives 🙂
    C-C xxx

    1. Thanks! I love the idea of My Ten Future Lives. I think I tend to assume that Future Me will be a completely different person – although I have no idea why I think I’m going to change so much at this point in my life!

  2. I loved this post. Let me say that I’m listening to Stephen King’s On Writing audio book during my daily commutes. At one point in his prosperous career, he bought a massive dream desk to set in his office. It didn’t work out like he thought it would. He returned to a smaller version, moved the desk under the eaves, and that’s where he writes best. 😉

    1. I love that book – both inspiring and useful! I’d love to be able to blame my quality/quantity of writing on my location, but after years of writing in h0tels, airports, trains, coffee shops etc, I know I have to take responsibility for my own work – wherever I am!

  3. That’s so true! In my imaginary life I have a lovely condo with a writing room where I lock myself away and just write! But if it wasn’t for all the topsy turvy things that happen, what would I write about? Dan Wells blogged about how he thinks he should have gotten a degree other than creative writing just for the life experiences. Well crap! I have… *counts on fingers* plenty of degrees and insanity in my life! I admire mommy writers. I don’t know how you guys do it, and you blow me away.

    I – ah – keep telling myself that when I get my writing room I will finally un-box my Russian porcelain tea set and use it… It’s in a chest in my closet for now…

    1. You know what I miss most? The view from the window in my imaginary study. If I could just have the view, I might be all right without the other things.

      Russian tea set sounds fab. When you get that writing room, I want pictures.

Comments are closed.