The power of imagination is important for any artist, writers included. Maybe you are worried that your imagination isn’t strong enough, or maybe you are already an imaginative writer and want to push the limits of your imagination even further. The good news is that with dedication and by following a few simple tips, you can write more imaginatively than ever before.
The first thing to remember is that you should not worry if you do not seem to be making a lot of progress. Imagination, like other skills, takes time to develop, and it takes different forms for different writers. Obsessing over whether your work is imaginative or not can actually stifle your imagination. Just keep at it, make sure that you’re having fun and be happy with whatever progress you’re making.
You should also take time to identify your goals. Developing your imagination is a goal, of course, but you need to get more specific. What part of your writing do you feel needs to be more imaginative? Your premises? Your characters? Your plot twists? It can be more than one thing, but you should know exactly what your goals are.
Get used to generating new ideas on a regular basis. When you’re learning to flex your imagination, it helps to keep an idea journal. Write down whatever ideas come into your head. You can expand on these ideas with a paragraph or two after you write them, or you can just jot down the short version—whatever works best for you. You don’t have to use them all, but once you get in the habit of writing down your ideas, your brain will adjust to being in gear for making ideas and it will be easier to use your imagination when you sit down to write for real.
Commit to writing a certain amount of new material every day if you can. The best cure for writer’s block is simply to write regularly. This keeps your brain in writing mode. Also, the word to remember here is NEW. Rewriting your favorite pet project a million times will not help to strengthen your imagination. Work with some fresh material.
Writing many similar works can hamper creativity. Experiment with writing in different genres. Do you usually write comedy? Try drama. Are you a horror writer? Take a shot at romance. Writing in different genres can help you come up with more new ideas that you might not have had otherwise. Even if you don’t end up crossing over to these genres, you will return to your genre of choice with a more open mind and will be more likely to want to try new things.
Finally, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you start having more ideas than you’re used to having, some of them will inevitably not be good ideas. Don’t let this discourage you from continuing to try new ideas. If anyone makes fun of your ideas, listen to them—you still have to learn to distinguish good ideas from bad ones—but be sure to keep trying. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, as the saying goes.
Learning to write in a truly imaginative way may seem intimidating, but the first step is wanting to succeed. If you follow the above advice, you will be well on your way to writing more imaginatively.