Learning To Imagine Again

by on April 23, 2018 under , ,

The other day I caught myself staring into space. I was truly enjoying the myriad of scenes filled with colours, sounds, smells and everything - until a car alarm blasted in the carpark below. I returned to my laptop’s cold white screen, cursor blinking ready for my short story. At first I’d blamed the spacing-out on the two packets of Indonesian’s instant mocha I had. But then, caffeinated me realized I was simply imagining things.

For a while now I had grown frustrated by the ‘rules and regulations’ of writing. What’s the right way to write? What audience expected to read? What they demand of the writers? And what the publishing industry demand of the writers? Or how much money can I make selling my stories on Amazon, Smashwords, etc. Or will readers donate on Patreon etc? That a bestselling writer makes a good writer. I got superfrustrated and got me into a writer’s block or rather a writer’s rut. Deep down, stuck in the deep, deep mud. In my goal to be a writer, I’d alluded myself so deeply into the ‘rules and regulations’ of writing that I had forgotten the most essential step to becoming a good one.

Until I realize that day when I stared out into space, that the fun part of writing is just to imagine and have fun. Not to talk about the ‘message’ behind the story. Or wanting to change someone’s life with a story. That is all impossible. Even wanting a reader to have fun with the story would not be possible if I do not start with the imagination.

Sometimes I forget too that the writer’s ‘duty’ is to spark the readers’ own imagination and not to force their own to the readers. Because each reader will have their own experience towards my words. I cannot provide insights, I can only share but something within the reader will ignite and thus things will change within her in feelings or in principles. That’s how powerful the imagination is.

So now with that in mind, decided to call the little child in me and said, Girl, let’s have fun with the stories, remove all adulterated filters of life and just move with body, mind and soul. And from then, from here on, I have decidedly to be chill about that and conquer that one important step, that I feel everyone had forgotten about writing (and even reading) that is, to simply imagine. (Kinda makes you think John Lennon’s song, Imagine isn’t it?)

But how strange, that now, I must learn to imagine when it should’ve been a natural process. A learning process for me because, perhaps because of my personality, I wanted to always amke sure things made sense even in a story. But then I realize, hey, this is fiction, it doesn’t have to make sense. It just have to make me FEEL good or at least FEEL something. It is fiction, not real, thus the imagination too isn’t real yet at that moment, just for that short moment it is real.

If I had a class of new writers, instead of telling them what to do, and what not to do. Or how to write a short story or a novel. First thing, I would tell them, let’s just stare into space for five minutes.
Imagination is the first step to the writing process. And with imagination there must be no restrictions, no how, no why, just let it flow. The details comes in during the editing process and that’s a whole new other blog post.

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