3 Discoveries About Imagination


When I was little I wanted to be a writer.  I never stopped wanting to be a writer.  As a child exploring, my imagination felt delicious, wonder-ful, and wonder-filling.

I must have forgotten the trick of being an imagination explorer because returning to it, and using it to write my novel has been slow going. 

The act of writing has been an act of reclamation.  Slowly I am reconnecting to the part of me that made me most happy as a child.  Bringing it back to the fore as an adult is, quite simply, delicious.  It fills me with joy. 


Here are 3 things I’ve discovered about imagination:

  • It doesn’t like to be told to sit down and write a chapter or a certain number of pages.  No.  That doesn’t turn it on (which, is a bit frustrating because the ‘get it done’ girl in me is keen to commit to a certain number of hours a day, produce a certain number of pages a week, produce chapters and complete a book in a reasonable time frame – but alas – imagination does not care for rules and schedules).
  • Imagination wakes up and starts to get curious and colourful when you read beautiful poetry or interesting quotes.  Recently I’ve been reading a lot of work by the great American poets Mary Oliver and William Stafford.  I often find a gem within a poem my mind wants to follow into the lands of imagination.
  • If you connect, quietly, to your heart, to the pumping energy that extends beyond your skin, such that you imagine a space around you that feels wide and expansive, like the feeling you get when you look at a horizon - things happen.  Linger in that feeling for a while.  Wondrous ideas will come with enough form that you can follow them and imagination gambles around with enchanted beauty from which your creative acts will become magical.

It’s been said that the best works of art inspire a sense of wonder.  This rings true to me.

Last week I wrote a part of my novel that is still illuminating me with happiness.  As I wrote this piece, I realised I was writing something that shaped the whole story.  It was a creation myth that gave birth to the main character, who, in my head, has been alive for many years, and on paper too – but I always wondered where she came from.  And last week my imagination gave me her exquisite and sad beginning.  I felt enchanted by the ideas as they came to me, and deeply alive.