Friday, October 23, 2009

Just Imagine...

It can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It allows you to gleefully create characters and plots and stories about strangers you see at the coffee shop or grocery store. It also throws terrifying scenarios at you when the phone rings in the middle of the night. What would we do without our imaginations?

I've always had an active (some might say over-active) imagination. I don't remember having an imaginary friend when I was little, but I do remember entertaining my friends with made-up stories when I was a teen. They had to be made-up because I was convinced that my life was so boring. Later on I was an actor...getting paid to pretend; not bad work if you can get it!

Are there really people out there without imaginations? People that don't imagine what it would be like to climb that mountain they see in the distance every day or who lives in that fancy house or what it would be like to fly in a private jet? I can't fathom it.

As writers we can let out imaginations fly. We can place a story anywhere and people it with who we please. The plots are up to us; we can write a tragedy, write a comedy, write about a world galaxies away. We can put our characters into terrifying situations and they can survive...or not. Write from the point of view of a cat; trust me, it's fun! Anything and everything is possible.

Spend some time dreaming today. Let your imagination lift you up and carry you to strange worlds, or just down the street. You may come up with a new plot or a new character...or you just might spend some time with a smile on your face. Whatever the end result, it will be time well-spent.


  1. I've always been a daydreamer, even as a child. It was only once I grew up that I figured out I could apply it to something productive!

  2. Lovely post, Elspeth. Like you, I can't fathom someone who doesn't look at things and wonder. I wonder all the time about people, news items, and situations that stimulate all kinds of creativity.

    One time I saw an old man sitting under a tree as we drove down a country road and I started wondering about him and his life. Before I knew it, I had a short story.

  3. I think fiction writers have to have imagination. That's why we write fiction - we let our imagination out and make it work for us. If I may, I'll share Agatha Christie's Ariadne Oliver on the topic of her own vivid imagination. In Dead Man's Folly, she's asked if she can imagine why a young teenager was murdered during an outdoor fete. In response, Oliver says, "I can't imagine who could have done it. At least, of course, I can imagine - I can imagine anything! That's the trouble with me. I can imagine things now - this minute." So can we all and so should we all : )

  4. Hey! I imagined this exact post two days ago!

    Just kidding. Nicely put, Elspeth.

  5. Believe me, when you've been a designer as long as I have you meet many people that have absolutely NO IMAGINATION. It's astounding. I had a crazy active imagination as a child. I couldn't tell reality from make-believe. It used to frighten my mother. No wonder I write!

  6. Beautiful! Daydreaming is what I used to call it, but now I understand what a creative process imagination is and count my blessings I have one.

  7. Stephanie; Isn't it wonderful?

    Maryann; Thank you for your kind words. I understand how that short story happened; thanks for sharing.

    Margot; Trust Dame Agatha to say it better than I ever could.

    Alan; Thanks.

    Elizabeth; Frightening mothers is fun when you're the child. Not so fun once you're the mother. Ah, irony.

    Patricia; Thank you! You're right, it is a blessing.

  8. Good post, Elspeth! We'd all be lonely without our imaginations. I did have imaginary friends when I was younger. Still remember them vividly. I have a lot of good memories of them. And that imagination still helps me out today :)

  9. I would be lost without a writer's imagination. I think everyone probably has an imagination, but they imaging different things. Instead of creating characters and stories, they imagine what they will say at the next sales pitch and how things will go so they can be ready for whatever happens, for example.

    Straight From Hel

  10. Lovely post. I didn't have an imaginary friend, but little people used to ride in the car seat beside me when I was a child. How weird is that?

  11. I think that the writing does prompt me to use my imagination more. A good thing, as it would probably stagnate.

  12. I think I need to be more strict with my imagination, Elspeth, sometimes she just runs amuck. However, my imagination does entertain me.

    Great post!

  13. Great post! Imagination has been my constant companion, for as long as I can remember. Even when I go through spells when I'm not doing any writing, I still use my imagination every day. It would be so hard not to!

  14. Jemi; Thanks! I'm impressed you still have strong memories of your imaginary friends. They must have been very important to you.

    Helen; Would that be considered using one's imagination or just good preparation skills?

    Carol; Thank you. Little people sitting beside you? You had leprechauns in the car??? Cool.

    Alan; An imagination is a terrible thing to waste.

    Journaling Woman; Oh my, I know what you mean about it running amuck! I'm glad you liked the post.

    Belle. Thanks. Our imaginations can keep us interested whether we're writing or not.

  15. Absolutely, imagination - and LOTS of it, is key in effective writing. Ever since I was a boy I could spend hours daydreaming, playing by myself in the fields or woods, taking trips to faraway lands and fighting evil forces away to save the damsel in distress.

    Marvin D Wilson

  16. I think everybody has some imagination. Some people don't use theirs much (and it is a choice) for whatever reason: fear, think they're too busy, arrogance.

    In any case, I feel sorry for people who won't allow themselves a moment to imagine. It's such an enriching element in life.

    And imagination must be developed, like a talent. The seed is there, but we are responsible for growing it and harnessing its power.

  17. Great post. I took the weekend off and read, and let myself go and I'm back and refreshed.


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