I can’t speak for writers of other genres — or even for other fantasy writers — but sometimes I truly understand what it’s like to walk between the worlds. I live in so many of them, especially when I’m writing. (And I’m always writing.)
There is the world of home: housework to avoid, laundry to do, hobbies, etc.
There is the public world: writing groups, shopping, errands to run — anything that requires that I put on a bra and something other than baggy sweat pants.
There is the world of work. I’m a nurse at a jail and my job requires a completely different mindset than the “outside.” More security conscious, disciplined, alert, focused, deadlines/time frames, dealing with people, setting and enforcing boundaries and rules.
And then there are the worlds of whatever I am writing. Those worlds become as real and vivid to me as my apartment and the jail and the road between the two. (And I have been known to have three of them sharing space in my head at any given time.)
I have a long drive: roughly an hour each way, most of it on a four lane highway. This could be considered lost time, but it isn’t: I use it for writing.
My journey begins and ends with bridges. I cross the Allegheny River as I start off on my way to work: shortly thereafter I am on a four-lane highway, and except for a construction zone (or two or three or four – this is Pennsylvania and it is summer…) my drive becomes fairly mindless and home reality drifts away and novel reality takes over.
Until I cross the Allegheny River again and have to bring myself back to the reality of the city and of work.
I do a lot of “writing” while driving:
working out plot issues
talking to my characters
working through scenes that play out in my head like a movie superimposed on the reality of the road
But even with the bridges as boundaries it can be hard to switch from one reality – one frame of mind – to another. The world of work is the hardest one for me to break free of. It is stressful and frustrating and draining, and a large part of my drive home is spent trying to wind down, to step out of that world and into the one of home.
Writing helps form a bridge between the two. It’s hard to get out of the jail mentality and the worlds of my novels help. I can’t stay in them as well on the way home as I do on the way to work – work is more intrusive than home – but they do help me switch gears.
Writing is not just my passion, it is also my escape from jail.