Escapism – Why I write it

Hi, Gang. Craig here again, and I have a little different topic for you today. I’m fairly sure everything I’ve ever written could be considered escapism to one degree or another. Let’s talk about that.

escapism:

• the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.

That’s a fair definition. In many cases, escapism gets a bad rap. People use terms like, derivative, unrealistic, or waste of time when talking about escapism.

It might be somewhat true. You could spend what few spare hours you have working the food bank, cleaning up plastics, or creating an app that resembles TV Guide, but displays everything across multiple platforms.

The fact is that we can’t work all the time. Our brains need downtime. You can fill that any way that makes you happy. Maybe you plant a garden, or something.

If there was ever a model for why we need a little escapism it has to be 2020. At least it’s a good place to start my explanation. Somewhere amid the murder hornets, multiple hurricanes, wildfires, political bickering, and C-19, we all need to just step back from reality for a few minutes.

This extends beyond 2020. Our lives are complicated every year. We all have family dynamics, social media, mandatory overtime, mergers, layoffs, or something going on in our lives and we need a few minutes to catch our breath.

There are a million outlets for this, but I’m a writer and so are most of you. Escapist fiction allows readers to get away for a brief time and catch their breath. It also does the same thing for me when I write it.

We all need that little break. Occasionally, we need to see the hero win. To have a reasonably happy ending. Sometimes you need the antihero to shoot the antagonist through the head, before fading into the darkness. (I’ve written this character and can’t tell you how satisfying it is. It also keeps me from doing it in real life.)

Escapism shows us that we can overcome the obstacles in our life. Sometimes we have to hang on just a little bit longer, like our favorite characters. Sometimes we have to gather new intelligence and make a new plan, but it can happen. Fiction can help us understand and come to grips with some of this.

Give yourselves a break. Put on your spandex, pull that sword from the stone, fire up your starship, or stir that cauldron counterclockwise. Step outside yourselves for a few hours and pick up a bit of escapist fiction.

Just a side note here. All of your Story Empire authors offer a bit of escapist fiction, and there are even a few free anthologies that will give you a taste of multiple authors.

39 thoughts on “Escapism – Why I write it

    • I haven’t given much thought to that, but I agree to a certain point. We have standard plots that repeat over the centuries. There is even a great series on this blog about those. Glad you liked the post.

      Like

  1. I love reading because it’s definitely escapism for me. It’s how I unwind almost every night from the pressures of the day. The same with writing. As authors, we also get to be other people, placing ourselves inside their heads. It’s like pretend play when we were kids.

    Escapism is also something I argue about television. When I watch TV (which isn’t often) it’s to be entertained, not to watch reality garbage. I get plenty of reality in life. I don’t need it when I want to unwind and escape. Thank God for Netflix and other streaming services who offer original content. I’m starting to watch more TV thanks to them. It’s interesting that so many people are abandoning network TV and flocking to streaming services in droves. Hmmm…I wonder why? I could do a soapbox on this topic, Craig.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree, Craig. 2020 has been the year! A great example of how badly people need escapism is the Great Depression era. The most popular book and movie during that time was “The Great Gatsby” which took people away from their meager existence for a brief reprieve. Thank God for fiction!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Murdering people on the page is a fantastic escape. Rude waitress? Go home and kill her. Nasty cashier? Go home and kill her. Need a way to work out frustrations? Go home and hunt, stalk, and torture. No better stress reliever! LOL 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think all fiction (at least what I read) is a form of escapism. We can put ourselves in the character’s place. Yes, there is often crime, evil, conflict. Without conflict, there isn’t much of a story. Fairy tales had conflicts. Both LOTR and the Chronicle of Narnia had conflicts. But the overall story had good triumphing over evil.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Escapism is my main goal when writing. I think it’s a great way to eliminate stress since you forget your worries for a time. Let the subconscious chew on reality during these moments. Sadly, I’ve read articles about how people are less interested in escapism over the last few years. They fear missing on a big new event, so they stick to non-fiction or only the news. No wonder mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are on the rise.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I remember a flight I took a lot of years ago. The airline company (Dutch, I think) called the in-flight entertainment ‘distraction’. That definition has stayed with me. I’m all for a bit (or a lot) of escapism, and your books certainly provide that. Great post, Craig 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great reflection, Craig. If ever we’ve needed to escape, it’s this year for sure. That thought makes me wonder if 2020 prompted more folks to pick up a pen or a paintbrush or a mound of clay. Maybe 2021 will be a celebration of the arts. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  8. This is why I like writing short stories best. I have a limited attention span, and writing short stories is always fun and gives me that sense of escapism. Novels tend to make me feel like I’m obliged, or doing work. Glad I’ve got a couple of short stories next to write 🤗

    Liked by 4 people

We'd love to know what you think. Comment below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.