Category Archives: Imagination

Where Are the Thinky Ones?

The thinky ones are disappearing at an alarming rate. Or so it seems.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a rather marked decline in the thinking population. I’m talking about people who actually stop to consider their actions, their decisions, their words, and their goals on a daily basis, rather than doing life by rote. Thinking people allow their minds to dwell on problems in order to solve them rather than lamenting their plight. They come up with new ideas instead of blindly following the latest fad. They are capable of having intelligent conversations that don’t revolve around the weather or football or shopping. They take the time to work through difficult situations rather than giving up because it’s too hard.

Where are the thinky ones?

I want to talk to them.

I have to admit that I’ve found myself downright bored during a good number of conversations I’ve had over the years. I’ve concluded that life is too short to waste on small talk. Especially when small talk is all that too many people are able to produce.

During my high school years, I was fortunate to participate in a series of seminars that pointed me in a good direction – a direction that opened my eyes to possibilities. I learned to explore the unlimited capacity of the mind to be able to think and to reason and to create. This made sense to me. It still makes sense. So I think about it and experiment with it, and I see potential become reality.

As I spend time in God’s Word studying the things He has laid out for me, untapped abilities are coming to life. As I follow His direction and think His thoughts, I see limitless dreams and visions begin to form. It’s mind-blowing. And that’s exactly what I’m looking for.

But I have to focus. I have to zero in on what’s really important. I have to think.

I don’t know if this blog post makes any sense. I hope it does. Because that means you’re probably one of the thinky ones, and I’d like to talk to you!

 

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Filed under Being Creative, Blogging, God, Imagination, Writing

The Big Idea

Have you ever had a Big Idea? You know, the kind of Idea that seems impossible but is fun to think about anyway. The kind of Idea that when you tell people about it they look at you weird and back away. The kind of Idea that has potential to change the world. At least, your world. Yeah, that kind of Idea.

I have them all the time.

But the problem with having Big Ideas is that you have to be careful who you tell.

There are the Dummy-heads who don’t get it at all. They roll their eyes and groan, wondering what kind of lunatic you are to let your imagination run away with you like that. Stay away from them! They are damaging to your creativity.

There are the Polite ones who want to be nice about it. They smile and nod and say the right words, acting like they really like your Big Idea and they get your hopes up because you think you’ve found somebody who understands, but they don’t. These people are easy to spot because they usually look at you with a blank stare and have a fake smile pasted on their faces. They mean well, but they don’t help you.

There are the Naysayers who stop you dead in your tracks before you’ve even finished what you were saying. They have all kinds of reasons why your Big Idea will never work and they shut you down before you’ve had a chance to explain. It’s good if you can weed these creeps out of your life because they will choke you out.

There are the Control Freaks who can’t bear to let anyone have a Big Idea they didn’t think of first. Be careful how much you tell them, because the next thing you know, your Big Idea is being promoted as their Big Idea.

I like the Honest People. They will take the time to listen. They let you tell the whole story without interrupting except to ask clarifying questions. They make valuable suggestions and actually help you to make the Big Idea even better. They are the ones cheering for you when the Big Idea is a success. And they’re cheering for you even if it isn’t. These people are your real friends. If you’ve got one or two or three of them, don’t let them go!

I popped another Big Idea into the pipeline today. It needs some time to churn and grind in there – to smooth the rough edges and get the gears aligned. I haven’t told anyone about it yet and I’m going to be picky about who hears the details.

I’m not interested in rolling eyes or pretend smiles or being told a hundred ways why it won’t work.

Because sooner or later, one of my Big Ideas will change the world.

 

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Filed under Being Creative, Blogging, Dreams, Imagination, Writing

Breaking Out

Desk

Yesterday, I prayed.

Well, I pray every day. But yesterday was different. Because I was desperate. You know, the kind of desperate when you’re at the there’s no way this is going to work without Divine intervention and if that doesn’t happen, I’m done. Yup, that was the motivation behind my pleading, whining, begging prayer. And I’m pretty sure that once again, God rolled His eyes.

There’s this story, you see, that I’ve been working on for what seems like a hundred years, but since I am not even close to that old, I might be exaggerating just a little. In reality, it’s been at least five years. My Word doc drafts only go back to 2009, so I know it’s been that long for sure. Some of the initial ideas have been on the back burner since 1990. Yeah, a long time.

The day has come to write the thing and get it out there.

There’s been a little issue with that. I got stuck in a boring part and couldn’t find a way out. Every time I sat down to work on it, I ended up staring into space and thinking that if I thought was dull, why in the world would anyone want to read it? So I’d close the file and do something else. Like crochet a doily. Or bake cookies. Or read Stephen King.

People would ask, “How’s the book coming?” and I’d smile and nod and act like it was all good. Ha! If they only knew.

Hence the prayer of desperation.

After I explained the situation to God (as if He didn’t already know), I asked Him for words. Yes, words. Words to get through the fog. Words to flow together in harmony. Words to excite and enthrall and elate. Words to create scenes. Word to write the story the way it needs to be written.

Then I sat in front of my computer for three hours, staring at a blank screen.

So, I cleaned up my office. Unpacked a couple of boxes (I know, I know, it’s been six months since we moved). Sorted my pens and paper clips. And all the while, that darn blank screen just glared at me. Mocking me. Taunting me.

Finally, in a fit of frustration, I pulled out my journal and started to write. And write. And write. I ended up with four pages of much needed revision and new ideas for said story. The plot fell into place. The questions got answered. And some very interesting twists appeared.

Did God come through? ABSOLUTELY!

But not until I actually picked up my pen, opened my book and began to write. He was there all along, waiting for me while I was waiting for Him. He just wanted me to go first. Then He joined in and we took turns coming up with a great bunch of pages – I wrote, He spoke, then I wrote some more, and He told me more. It was so fun!

I’m breaking out.

Breaking out of old writing habits that hardly ever work. Breaking out of trying to do this by myself. Breaking out of a box that I put myself in.

It’s going to take some serious work to get this story back on the right track, but oh, it will be worth it.

Now I’m kind of giddy!

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Filed under Being Creative, Blogging, God, Imagination, Obedience, Prayer, Writing

Kick-Start the Brain

Kick-start: to make something start to happen, happen more quickly, or improve.

I’m at the tail end of a long dry spell. Very long.

Disjointed ideas. Lack of continuity. Writer’s block. Procrastination. Excuses. Shall I go on?

Aside from the last nine months providing more life change and upheaval than I care to repeat anytime soon, I have no logical explanation as to why I have not produced the great Canadian novel which, had I actually written and published said novel, would be flying off bookstore shelves as we speak.

So, I am turning over a new leaf. Again.

The whole New Year’s Resolution thing doesn’t do it for me, but there is the allure of a brand new number like 2014 to spark some interest in making an effort. I’ve spent the past couple of days reading through old notes, refreshing my memory on a W-I-P that I haven’t touched since last April. I’ve also taken  Austin Kleon‘s book, Steal Like An Artistoff my bookshelf in an attempt to kick-start my brain.

It’s working.

And now I have to prove it.

I could give you all kinds of suggestions as to how to stay motivated through the entire writing process. I could tell you, in sixteen easy steps, what it takes to finish that novel. I could even point you in the direction of many extremely helpful websites. I am not, however, going to do that.

Because the key is this: WRITING. IS. WORK.

There is no magic formula. (I would have found it by now.) No write-it-for-you software. (Don’t waste your money. Trust me.) No celestial inspiration. (Seriously?)

It’s all about exercising a little bit of self-discipline, keeping your rear in the chair, and resisting the temptation to spend the next four hours reading your friends’ Facebook status updates instead of writing  2,000 words.

Whatever it takes for you to kick-start the brain, do it!

I’m going to do the same.

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No Fail

Here’s the thing: there is no such thing as failure.

What? Impossible, you say.

I can see the eyebrows raised and I can hear the gears grinding in your brain.

Well, just think about it for a minute. Whenever you try to do something and fail, you simply end up doing something else instead. You can’t fail. You can only produce results. Those results might not be what you wanted or expected, but they are still results. Maybe you learned what didn’t work. Or you figured something out that you didn’t even know you needed to know. Or you managed to discover something that is even better than what you were trying to do in the first place.

Any way you look at it, there is no failure.

The key in all of this is to TRY. Make an attempt. Take a risk. Step out in faith.

Your imagination is a powerful tool. It can dream wild and fantastic things to excite and motivate you into areas where you never thought you’d see yourself. And it can tear you down with fears so great that you never even try. It’s your imagination. Your choice.

Here’s the other thing: there is no fail with God. Ever.

He’s the One who created you – the One who gave you the ability to dream and to imagine. He wants you to use that ability to be His hands and feet in the world. To think up ways to do all the wonderful things He always knew you could. To be the person He destined you to be.

So what are you waiting for?

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Filed under Being Creative, Blogging, God, Imagination, Thinking, Writing

Picking Up the Pieces

I think of myself as a multi-tasking writer. Before that conjures up all kinds of thoughts as to what I might be referring to, allow me to explain. And I’ll back up a bit to the days when I was a sort-of writer.

That was when I wrote stories. Sort of.

They were more like pieces of stories. Paragraphs I liked. Sentences I liked. Dialogue I liked. Words I liked. None of them really fit together into one cohesive story. But I had fun writing them and I have notebooks full. Lots of notebooks.

Recently, I came across some of these notebooks and I started reading my sort-of writing. Some of it is pretty pathetic. But a good deal is actually quite good. So good, in fact, that I’ve begun picking up these pieces of stories and fitting them into my novels in progress.

Yes, you read that correctly. Novels. As in plural.

This is where the multi-tasking writer comes in.

I write books like I read books. I always have three or four or more on the go at any given time. A book in every room, so to speak, and this decades-old simultaneous reading habit of mine has spilled over into my writing life. In case you’re wondering . . . no, I don’t get them mixed up. Ever. Not the reading. Not the writing.

Obviously this method will not work for everyone. And I’m sure there are writers/editors/publishers out there reading this who think I’m totally nuts to say it works for me. But it does. I make no excuses or apologies. The hardest part about it is to make sure I put the scraps of paper in the appropriate file or save the Word docs in the right Dropbox folder. In my mind, however, it’s all neatly organized.

This is how my brain works.

The pieces are there for the picking. Simply insert and continue.

Of course, it takes longer to finish a book this way.

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Pay Attention

I was reading a blog today that reminded me of me when I was a teenager. Except that when I was a teenager I would never have written as candidly about my innermost thoughts the way this young person has. I was too afraid someone might judge me. Or stop me. Or not like me.

I grew up in the “children are seen and not heard” era. You had to be perfectly well behaved. (I wasn’t.) You were supposed to look your best at all times. (I didn’t.) And in the presence of grownups, you kept your mouth shut unless you were asked a question directly. (A hard one for me.) My parents always said I always wanted to be the centre of attention. That was true. But as I’ve grown older, I think that many of my attention-getting antics were the result of feeling as though no one actually saw me. Or heard me.

When I think back to my childhood and teen years, I can clearly remember my thoughts and dreams – many, many of which I never breathed to anyone. I also remember telling myself over and over, never forget this, always remember how you felt when this happened. And I haven’t forgotten.

Now, as an adult, I have a multitude of memories that have stayed with me for forty or fifty years. Because I paid attention even when I felt that no one else did. Those memories of my thoughts, the dreams I had, and the things I experienced are as fresh in my mind as if they’d happened last week. I open them sometimes when I need the perspective of a teenage girl in one of my stories. Or when I want to see the situation through the eyes of a frightened seven-year-old.

And I pay attention to my children. I listen to my grandchildren. And I watch the people who walk past my house, or drive in the car beside me, or sit next to me in a waiting room. All of them have thoughts and dreams they share with no one.

But if you pay attention, you can see what they see.

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Filed under Blogging, Dreams, Imagination, Writing