Wednesday, December 7, 2016


 I was hunkered down by the little garden area around my mailbox, planting bulbs and carrying on a lively conversation with the people in my head—out loud—when I looked up to realize my neighbor was standing behind me.  I replayed the last few minutes in my mind, but was forced to admit that I had indeed been reciting both sides of a lively argument complete with hand gestures such as waving my little shovel to emphasize the more important points.

So I just smiled and pretended nothing unusual was going on.

Image result for free clipart screaming woman Surely such a scenario is familiar to my fellow writers, many of whom admit that they have people in their heads doing all sorts of interesting things.  And many of whom are surprised to learn that not everyone enjoys the same experience.

I recently saw a story on the news about a phenomenon called “maladaptive daydreaming,” and I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for my fellow authors.
It seems that the habit of getting lost in the stories in one’s head, of constructing elaborate scenarios and forgetting one’s surroundings is considered a disorder.

I’ve read a bit of research by clinical psychology professor Eli Somer, who first identified this syndrome and named it.  Some of the signs are excessive (who decides what’s excessive?) daydreaming that often begins in childhood, and daydreaming that is detailed and elaborate.  Daydreamers may talk, laugh, cry, make gestures and lie in bed for hours daydreaming, either in the morning of instead of going to sleep. They may even forget to eat or shower.  They may become emotionally attached to the characters they imagine, even though they know the characters aren’t real.

Sound familiar?

I talked this over with some of the people who live in my head and they assured me it’s all right to continue my maladaptive lifestyle—at least if I wanted to continue my writing.  Let’s just hope nobody comes along and tries to cure our favorite authors.


  1. My mother used to get irritated because I'd stop talking to watch the 'movie' going on inside my head. My husband just got used to it lol I always thought I must be crazy until I went to my first writers meeting. Lol
    Great post!

  2. I always thought we were the normal ones, and felt sorry for everyone else.

  3. I agree with Kathleen! What do people do if they're stuck somewhere and have nothing to read? We'll always have those people in our heads to play with.

  4. I just want to know which imaginary character won the argument. 😄

    1. That's a good question, Ava! I don't even remember who they were, but they both made good points, I'm sure. ;)

  5. I have been negotiating real estate deals for years with my bathroom mirror. Writers are not the only ones that have an imagination. In fact, the great spiritual teachers tell us to see in what you wish to manifest as though you have it already. So, what's the harm in talking to yourself. At least you like the person you're talking to.

  6. Who knew? A disorder. I will say that until well past my marriage I had long pretend romances floating around in my head every night when I went to bed. Started as a young child. Quite elaborate with lots of dialogue (silent, in my case, but dialogue nevertheless) and emotions. It's a good thing I finally learned how to channel this.

  7. LOL! Isn't it wonderful we can create these wonderful worlds in our heads? And in a world that so often feels out of control, isn't it useful to be able to imagine worlds in which things do turn out all right?


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