Freud asserts that ‘a piece of creative writing, like a daydream, is a continuation of, and a substitute for, what was once the play of childhood.’ Is that what the writer is doing when she write? Playing a game? In some ways, I have to agree. The writer – like the child – gives into her imaginative side and allows herself to roam free from this world and into the ‘worlds’ of her own mind. I know myself that my own sanity at times relies on the fact that I do write.
If I didn’t write, then the ever-present daydreams and imagination would plague me. The stories nestle themselves in my frontal lobe, nagging at me, until I throw them – sometimes forcibly – onto the page. They need to be played, as it were, like a children’s game; although, the act of writing becomes the game.
I don’t need to work for the ideas to come, or for the characters to appear. They are taken from the stimuli around me & the people I meet. Then these semi-real & semi-fictional elements come together in my subconscious, they become more pronounced through daydreams and childish fantasy before they must be written.
Further, like the child, we are often not content for the work, or the game, to remain our own. Certain noteworthy exceptions to this rule lie with those who write solely for their own pleasure. However, on the whole, we desire more than anything to engage others in our fictional fantasies. This must be the reason that we invest so much time and effort trying to reach an audience. We want to bring them into our fantasy worlds and ‘play’, as it were, with us.
Isn’t this the ultimate goal of all writing – albeit simplified to a childlike level – to bring others into our world? And, what’s more, to create a world ourselves that is tangible and real. The original goal of exercising our own fantasies achieved. We must then extend our world with the aim of reducing others to their most childlike state to become voyeurs in the writer’s own world. It is easy to engage a young child in fantasy, tell them a box is a car and they begin to ‘drive’ it. Tell an adult a box is a car and well…they’ll probably stare at you looking worried.
This then becomes the challenge of the writer; on the one hand, to give into to their own childhood fantasy, while at the same time trying to create a world so vivid and believable that they can entice others to leave reality behind and make them feel engaged with it.