Sometimes I work late hours sitting in front of the computer, creating all manner of evil against my protagonist. That means the next morning, my horribly intrusive alarm clock doesn’t punch me in the nose to abruptly force me into consciousness. Since I slept in this morning, I had a car accident. Yep. A carload of kids pulled out right in front of me and, try as I may, I could not avoid hitting them. They jumped out to survey the damage and thought the whole thing was hysterically funny. They even laughed when I pulled out my cell phone to dial 911. Really?
Fortunately, moments later I woke up to discover it was only a dream. Even though there was not a shred of reality to my “Morning-mare”, I still felt the emotion of it. Now wide awake I could look at things rationally but the emotion was still there, just as if I’d slammed into those kids with my car.
The fear that I’d injured them had quickly turned to anger when they bounded out of the car as if the whole thing was a joke. I sensed dread that my insurance rates would spike. Though the whole incident was only a figment of my slumbering imagination, as far as my body was concerned, it absolutely happened!
As writers,we face this same thing every day. That’s right, I’m not the only one who conjures up weird and wacky reactions to things that really didn’t happen. You have a dream to be that best-selling novelist.Sometimes the dreams turn to nightmares because you imagine the horrors of trying to achieve. Monsters come out of the closets. Your plans end in ruin. They crash and burn.
The way I overcame my car accident this morning was to wake up. That’s right. I opened my eyes, looked around and realized I was in my nice, comfortable bed rather than the side of the road with a crumpled up car. Once I could see the reality of it all, my angst disappeared.
When you're having that bad dream, just wake up, open your eyes and see the reality of your life right now. Reality is you are a writer, diligently studying your craft to earn that book contract. Reality is you have taken a huge, if not heroic step toward your future. What's more, you continue to do that each time you sit at the computer to type...even a single word.
Studies have shown that the imagination can create a far worse depiction of the events in life than is even possible. That happened with me this morning. It also happens to writers every day. After all, we do have vivid imaginations. But when the dream turns into a night or day-mare, wake up, open your eyes and see the new reality you have built for yourself. It’s what we do. We’re writers!