Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Care & Feeding of Your Imagination


Picture this…your imagination as a ravenous, Tasmanian devilish animal in need of your personal care. Only
you can tame this beast.

Everyone slips into a rut sometimes. It’s easy to
forget all that goes into the care and feeding of the great and powerful Oz…scratch that—imagination.

Whether your imagination falls into the category of playful puppy or sweaty-toothed madman (nod to Dead Poets) monster, I’ve got your creative go-to list right here.

Imagination 101

  1. Take It for Plenty of Walks
Step outside your comfort zone. Go to a rodeo or stop by a Harley-Davidson store. Ride in the back of a police cruiser (I’m cannot be held responsible for any delinquent behavior that may incite you to get yourself there). Take a rockclimbing class. People-watch your heart out at the park or Trader Joe’s if you feel so inclined.

  1. Brush & Groom It as Often as Possible
Use your hands. Create. Paint furniture. Build a birdhouse. Plant an herb garden. Doodle. Be artful. The physicality of creating churns imaginative thinking and opens the door for new thoughts to enter in.

  1. Careful What You Feed It
Imagination has the potential to morph into worry faster than you can say Anxious Annie self-soothing by vacuuming down M&Ms. If you stuff the beast full of negative thoughts you are practically guaranteeing it won’t digest well. Imagination’s stomach will be sending false signals to the brain—tricking it into worrying about nonthreatening, unlikely outcomes. Make sure your kibble is full of worthwhile bits.

  1. Know When It’s Most Apt to Bite
A keen awareness regarding said beast is the first step to training it well. Does it bite when scared? Will it attempt to leash and drag you down a mud soaked, thorny road if you leave it outside in the rain overnight? Your imagination craves care. If its ribs are showing do not be surprised if when you reach out to stroke its mangy head your ordinarily mild-mannered critter suddenly goes all Cujo on you.

  1. Surround Yourself with Other Imagination-Feeders
Much like a trek to the dog park, go—go where the creatively passionate gather. Join Pinterest. Frequent museums. Network with excellent conversationalists. Advertise your love of books. Share the brain-bulging love. Imagination sharpens imagination.

  1. Let It Out of Its Cage
Remember Tom Hanks with his memorable line, “There’s no crying in baseball” in A League of Their Own? I’m here to officially declare—there are no limits in imagining. Your imagination is desperate for plenty of run around time. You can’t risk stifling it.

Brainstorm often. Let your imagination run wild. Free with its jowls flapping in the wind.

What are some ways you are cognizant about the care and feeding of your imagination?

*photos by stock.XCHNG


16 comments:

  1. I applied your point #5 this past weekend. I needed to break my imagination free, so I met my romance-writing sister for lunch. She helped me brainstorm, and we came up with a great fix for a plot problem that had me stumped. The jump start worked wonders.

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    1. There truly is nothing like that kind of meeting of the minds. I crave it often, therefore I'm intentional about reaching out.

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  2. I especially love the point about being careful what we feed our imaginations. My mom has been like ultra-diligent about reminding me to not think or speak negative things over my writing...and really over life in general. Both my parents are great examples to me of thinking and speaking truth and good stuff...and it really is a difference-maker.

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    1. I'm so glad you have those kind of influences in your life. I'm really hoping to pass on that kind of mentality to my girls. It changes things--I'm completely convinced of it.

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  3. Oh, this is lovely indeed--sparked my imagination to a blaze!

    Digging in the garden breaks my imagination free, unless a snake joins me, like one did yesterday!

    And brainstorming with other imaginative types. Iron sharpening iron. You can't beat that synergy.

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    1. I love how you worded that--breaks my imagination free. There's something about being outside for me too. I can see why the snake threw you. I'm always amazed by the wildlife that wanders through our backyard.

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  4. Love this!! I've been grooming my imagination a lot lately. Reading, gardening, long walks, Pinterest--everything you mentioned. I need it!

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    1. I continue to learn through a process of trial and error what I need to invest my time in. I love how it keeps getting more and more obvious what restores me and triggers my imagination and what snuffs it out.

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  5. Replies
    1. Right back at ya, sister. You realize I’m still trying to figure out how we’re actually sisters, don’t you? ;-)

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  6. I love this--and really needed this too. Feeling a little "blah" in the creative department.

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    1. Glad it helped. I'm guessing walks with the new dog with do wonders to get the juices flowing too!

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  7. Music inspires my imagination and creative juices so I listen to it often. All kinds.

    Funny thing, I was having a talk with my 14 year old, a real heart to heart and in that conversation I said, "Can't you just pretend?" and her reply was, "Mom, you know I'm bad at imagination." I need her to read this post!

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    1. Love music for triggering creativity.

      Too funny. My mom and I were talking about a book she's reading with an imaginary friend in it. She reminded me about my two imaginary friends. Yeah, I think it's always been with me. Unable to shake it. ;-)

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  8. Your post is enough to get my imagination working overtime, Wendy!

    I wonder if most authors had imaginary friends as kids. I know I did. :)

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    1. Oh now, Susan, I have to hear more about your imaginary friends. I had Laura and Gin Gin. A witch and a ghost respectively. Probably had something to do with my Halloween b-day.

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