inspiration, Writing

Imaginary friends

If you hear voices in your head, the common thinking is that you might be suffering from a mental illness. Unless you’re a writer. We need to hear voices in our head – the voices of our characters. We also need to see imaginary people and make others believe they could be real people.


When I was little, I had three imaginary friends. This may have been because I was an only child and had to make believe some company πŸ™‚ Or perhaps it was my writer brain beginning to form. My imaginary friends were called Belly, Colic and Jasmine. Belly and Colic were the parents and Jasmine their daughter. She came to school with me. God knows how I came up with those names! I was happy playing in my own little world – dressing up, inventing characters and stories and generally amusing myself. I’m still happy today in my own company and to some extent I haven’t stopped playing in my own little world – only now I write that world down.

Characters do become like your imaginary friends – you picture what they look like, how they speak, what they say, what they like to do, their wishes etc until they become almost real inside your head. Perhaps my childhood games have helped me to do this. I loved using my imagination. I always loved to read and that was probably because it allowed me to imagine. And now I love to write for the same reason. Writing at its heart is imagining.

People often talk about writers as being solitary creatures but I think it’s just that we’re happy to be with our characters. We’re not alone with them. If you have imagination you’re never truly alone. That was true for me as a child and still is now.


Who else had an imaginary friend? Do you think a childhood filled with imagination helped you to become a writer as an adult?Β 



19 thoughts on “Imaginary friends”

  1. I love the quotes! I had one when I needed them, but they never had a name. And yes – of course they help our imaginations grow and should in no way define us as mad :P.

  2. I never had an imaginary friend, but I did openly have conversations with myself as a child (and to this day…) and was “gifted” with the voices in my head and their imaginative narratives. Growing up I was always thinking outside the box with big questions and conventionally weird stories, so I became a bit of a loner, which then perpetuated the outside-the-box thinking…so, yes, I think a big childhood imagination definitely lends itself to an adult life spent writing. πŸ™‚

  3. I don’t remember any imaginary friends, but I did have an active imagination when I was growing up (and still do). I used to come up with crazy “what if” scenarios that would drive my parents crazy. Like, “What if our dog was a person…what would he be like?” I always firmly believed that my dog would be a Sherlock Holmes type, wearing a plaid hat and smoking a pipe. When I was about seventeen my mom shook her head when I brought up one of those what-if scenarios, saying, “When are you going to grow out of that?” Never. πŸ˜›

  4. My favorite only child activity was right before I fell asleep. I would fan fiction my favorite novels and movies in my head. Create a roll for myself in their world. It was the most fun. I never realized how much I was preparing myself for my writer lifestyle.

  5. That was a really great quote πŸ™‚
    I just started a blog with my bff called through a school girls eye. Please come check us out, it would be much appreciated! πŸ™‚

  6. This post made me smile. Haha… I never had an imaginary friend. But… I told my youngest sister she should have an imaginary friend and teased her when she didn’t leave a spot open for her imaginary friend to sit at the dinner table. lol… Yeah, silly… but hey… gotta admit that was imaginative. lol… It’s funny when she tells the story! πŸ˜›

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