Imagination

Well, good morning.  I’m feeling a bit better today – a little bit stronger, a little bit more settled.  I hope the writing will flow a little easier today.  The going has been slow for the past few weeks on my WiP, partly due to the fact that I’ve been distracted by real life a little more than normal, but today I hope I’ll have a focused day.  *crosses fingers*

I’m thinking about imagination this morning, perhaps due to the fact that both my husband and myself had extremely detailed – and remarkably similar – dreams last night; we both dreamed about natural disasters, oddly enough.  In his case it was a volcanic eruption, and in mine it was a landslide, which I could ‘see’ as clearly as if it was happening three feet away from me.  It started me off thinking about the human brain, its capacity to imagine and dream, and how or why we place limits on our minds, sometimes.

I’m engaged in a battle with the climax of my book at the moment.  My characters are right in the middle of one of the big showdowns, and as I was writing yesterday I actually kept thinking ‘I can’t write that.  It sounds ridiculous.  I have to scale that back a little, surely.’  I caught myself doing this just as I had come up with something really interesting – and something I’d certainly never seen or read before – and it was enough to bring my work to a complete stop.  It was like I’d reached an impasse with myself.  My creative brain wanted to forge ahead and write this idea to its fullest, but my logical brain scoffed at it, almost as if it was afraid to break new ground, and decided it wasn’t happening.  I still haven’t resolved this argument, but I think I’ll revisit the issue today and hope my creative brain is a bit stronger than it was yesterday, and better able to stand up for itself.

This morning, after my husband and I realised we’d both had amazing dreams, I started to think again about imagination, and the freedom involved in letting it loose.  I wondered, too, why I’d stopped myself using my imagination yesterday.  In my dream last night, I surfed down a landslide as if it was a wave and I was a champion surfer, and my ‘rational’ brain had no objection.  It was all pure imagination, pure creative brain, and it felt wonderful to let it loose.  When it comes to writing, though, I regularly feel as though I’m urging myself to hold back, to explain everything, to make sure everything ‘makes sense’, to take care, to go slowly… it causes me great stress and anxiety, sometimes.  I’m all in favour of just writing, getting the story out, and then going back to ‘fix’ things later – I just can’t seem to do it myself.  I got myself so wrapped up in knots a few weeks ago trying to sort out some of the technology being used in my fictive world that I nearly drove myself to drink.  It didn’t occur to me for days that this is my world: I created this place, and it can run whatever way I want it to.  When I did finally realise that, it was as if I’d been allowed to take a deep breath after weeks of wearing a too-tight corset.  Once I’d given myself that freedom, the scene started to work as if by magic – I sorted out the technology, it was all fine, and the work proceeded easily.

You’d think I’d learn from that experience, but it seems not.  Here I am doing it to myself again.

So, I am going to learn from my dreams today.  Let your imagination run free, and see where it takes you.  Remember that writing is supposed to be fun.  It’s supposed to be about creativity and self-expression, as well as the challenge of creating a story and a world that ‘works’ and holds itself together.  I need to remember the bits about fun and creativity – the rest, as I’ve seen, will follow on naturally.  It makes sense that allowing your brain the freedom to breathe creatively will help your work – I just keep allowing myself to forget that part!

If you’re writing (or even if you’re not), good luck with whatever your brain is trying to get up to today.  And remember – your brain knows more than you think!

9 thoughts on “Imagination

  1. Kate Curtis

    Our imaginations are great to explore because sometimes insane ideas spark feasible ones but we ARE wise to keep them in check. I think we question our imagination because even the fictional world has to be REAL to the reader. KC

    Reply
    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Yes, I agree we need to ensure our fictional worlds are real to the reader – that’s absolutely vital, of course. What I’m worried about, though, is my own tendency to over-think everything; this is killing my own creativity, and rendering my imaginative world sterile. I feel as though I’m keeping my own imagined world ‘under control’ too much, instead of allowing my ideas enough space to grow fully. Maybe I’m not making sense today. 😀

      Reply
      1. Kate Curtis

        I understand completely. But as much as you THINK your overthink and as much as you DO overthink – if you can write as many words as you have – it’s clearly not holding you back! KC 😀

  2. Rand Howard

    Hey, congratulations on breaking 100K today. I guess the overthink went away or at least slipped off into the background.
    Last night I had somewhat the same thing happen. As you know, my imagination can get the best of me at time. It sometimes is a problem in real life as well as writing. Last night was one of those times when I kept coming up with plot twist and all sorts of tangents I could go off on; until things started to spin out of control. Finally, I threw up my hands and decided to go to bed.
    So, this morning you imagination topic was right on. I decided to stay grounded for the morning and be domestic for a while. Then the internet started to provide the tie-ins to bring all those out of control points together. It really is funny how the mind works some times when it gets just a little bit of simulation along certain paths. I’m not sure whether the patterns were there all along, like some forgotten dream, or were new thoughts pieced together from fragments of other thoughts.
    Anyway, I am a long way from 100K words. Is you WiP, at 100K, anything like what you thought it would be at 1000?

    Reply
    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      That’s a really interesting idea – comparing the WiP where it is now with where it was at 1,000 words! Well, I had planned the structure of the whole thing before I set out, so it does bear some resemblance to what I thought it’d be. But the characters have done their own thing, too – relationships have formed that I hadn’t imagined at the start, and there’s a new part included in the ‘denouement’ that only came to me as I was writing, so it wasn’t part of the original plan. So, that’s exciting.

      You’ve understood exactly what I meant about the imagination, except you’ve come at it from the other side (sometimes that’s the only way to understand something!) I struggle to balance the crazy tangents you mention in your comment with the sense of ‘who the heck do I think I am to be coming up with these mad ideas? Who’d want to read this?’ – that sort of doubt is a story-killer. Thanks, as always, for your insightful comment! Hope your WiP is flowing for you today.

      Reply
  3. Chrissi Barr

    “Your brain knows more than you think.” What a great statement. I think you have to let your brain run on its own if you are to find something different for your story. You’ll be editing a lot but what the heck, the great fun can be in the rambling, just as it was in your dream. I think having a big ramble is when writing can be acting as our meditation and meditation is simply good for the head. I’m enjoying your blog, you write from the heart.

    Reply
    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Thank you! That’s exactly it. Letting your brain run free, and then cleaning up the loose ends later, is the way I love to write – but I can’t help putting a stop to my imagination sometimes, out of fear or insecurity or whatever else. So, I’ll have to work on that. Thanks for your comment – I’m really glad to know you’re enjoying the blog. I find yours inspirational, too! 😀

      Reply

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