What? I Can Write! Imagination: Let Your Mind Take Flight!

“A man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it.”—Samuel Johnson
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Imagination: Let Your Mind Take Flight!

Every human accomplishment throughout history, whether big or small, great or humble, has begun as an idea, and ideas are products of the imagination. The word “imagination” contains the word “image.” To imagine is to form an image in your mind’s eye of something that is not there, something that may not even exist yet except in your mental picture. It is unshackling your mind from pragmatism and realism (for the moment) and letting it fly where it will, fashioning new thoughts, ideas, and concepts, pondering new possibilities, and considering potential connections between items or concepts that may never have been joined before. Imagination is "thinking outside the box"; taking a thing and looking at it from every possible angle.

Simply stated, imagination is the mind at play, and such play is fundamental to human progress. Psychologist Carl Jung said, “Without this playing with fantasy, no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.”

For writers, imagination means, among other things, reconnecting with our “inner child.” If you want to see imagination in action, watch children at play. In the minds of children everything is new and wonderful and nothing is impossible. As writers we have to rejuvenate that same spirit of play and constant sense of wonder at the world that we had as children. Imagination is one of the most powerful elements we can bring to our writing, regardless of genre. Indeed, imagination is indispensable to effective, powerful writing. Poet Wallace Stevens said, “In the world of words, the imagination is one of the forces of nature.” That is no exaggeration.

Release your mental inhibitions and let your mind take flight! Just imagine!

“To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.”
–Anatole France

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