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Thursday
Apr222010

use less imagination

Writers learn to use their imagination then, foolishly, let it loose on their lives. They either imagine disasters that won't happen- it's surprising how common fear of flying is among writers- or they torment themelves with visions of a life more perfect than the one they are living. But hold on- the imagination is a hard tool to use well. It needs very precise handling, give the imagination a very well defined problem and it'll solve it brilliantly. Give it a ragbag task- 'a literary novel' or 'improve my life' and it'll flounder - and, hey, don't blame it for going off in all directions at once- that's its primary strength as a problem solver it'll keep worrying away and trying new potential solutions until they are tested - and with a long term project that means you'll be tormented for a very long time. Maybe your entire life if you don't put a halt to it. Use the imagination when a specific problem arises rather than as a source of nitro fuelled day dreams. The best ideas and plans come from the ether direct, or you recognise them and grab them from the ether. You don't 'dream' them up with the fickle and unstable essentially problem solving imagination. When you have that idea for a novel or a plan in place then use spurts of well aimed imagination to get it done. As for everyday life, the search for perfection in external surroundings will go on for ever if you let the imagination loose on it. Better to give thanks for having the time and space to do the work you want to do. When you haven't use, the imagination to solve that specific problem.

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