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Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 48: Use Your Imagination

Use Your Imagination to Write with Personality and Style

by Tamara Passey

What do you think about when you stare at the stars?

When you see clouds does it make you wonder? 
What about spring flowers?

And where exactly is this bench? 
And who could be meeting there? And why? 

This week is all about using your imagination to add personality to your writing. It is adding the unexpected to our pages that can make them come alive. How do you spark your imagination? Wilbers shares an example from the poet Michael Dennis Browne who would sometimes ask his students to write as many outlandish lies as they could think of in the first few minutes of class.
"Don't overthink it," he would say. "Just write whatever comes to mind."
He found that his students were more fanciful, expansive, and creative in their exploration of what was possible in their poetry. 1

"At its deepest level, imagination enables us to associate words and thoughts. If we had no imagination at all, we would lack faith in the value and meaning of words. To varying degrees, every writer (and every reader) possesses imagination. To use language is to enter a symbolic world. Every word uttered, every sentence written, is an act of imagination."

"Without that spark [imagination], a writer's relationship to language becomes superficial and rigid. To write without creativity is to underestimate the potential of language." 2

Take a minute to think about your own imagination. What has fed it and fueled it in the past? What are exercises that help you get to a place where anything can be possible on the page? Some writers set a timer for 10 minutes and write freely, never using that writing for anything other than priming their pump, so to speak. Experiment the next time you sit down to write, spend a few minutes conjuring up some outlandish lies, or simply let your mind wander wherever it wants to go--and then see if your writing reflects some new twists, or even better--new verbs, you weren't expecting.

1. Mastering The Craft, Wilbers, p. 267
2. Mastering The Craft, Wilbers, p. 268, italics and bold added for emphasis

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