by Kristine Coblitz
People today are unhappy. And who can blame us? We live in a world in turmoil, the cost of living is on the rise while our paychecks are getting smaller, and we’re stressed, tired, and overweight. I read an article online recently that stated that antidepressants currently are the most prescribed drugs in the U.S. and that 25 percent of the population is expected to have a breakdown at some point.
No wonder people look for ways to escape reality. They turn to movies and books, sometimes even other addictions. As writers, it’s our job to provide entertainment, and we do so by putting our fictional characters in heaps of trouble. We pile the stress on our characters so our readers can worry about them. We end books with satisfactory endings that don’t usually happen in real life. For just a few hours, our readers can forget about their own problems and read about someone else’s (bigger) problems.
To pull this off, we as writers have to dig into our own deepest fears. Everything that happens to our characters on the page in essence happens to us in our own minds. We create these situations, after all, and in order to make them realistic, we’ve got to experience them.
As writers, are we destined to be depressed? Is it because we spend so much time “in our heads” thinking about murder and crime? Are we unable to separate our fictional lives from our personal ones? Are depression and anxiety occupational hazards?
It makes you wonder. Sometimes I wish I wrote happier stories, but then again, to not write crime fiction is denying my real passion.
If you ask me, I’m grateful for books and those little escapes I can take from reality. When I need a break from it all, I find a quiet place and read.
I try to keep that in mind when I write. I’m not just providing entertainment and thrills, but an escape for my readers. And for myself, I guess.
How do you escape reality and get away from it all?