When was the last time you stretched your imagination and gave it a muscle-burning workout?
Our brains are complex machines, capable of constructing the most wondrous of thoughts, and building on those thoughts to create even more amazing ideas. If we don’t use our brains as intended, the human race will end up sleeping in caves, munching mindlessly on berries, and doing nothing but surviving. Eat, sleep, graze, repeat.
We’re more than that. Civilisation is a clear testament to our ability to dream beyond our wildest dreams. Anything is possible, and everyone is capable of creating something out of the thinnest of air. But how often do we do it? When was the last time you extended yourself beyond your day-to-day survival? When did you last create, imagine, or fantasize something amazing out of thin air and work your brain to its intended capacity? And I’m not talking about figuring out the plot of the latest CSI episode.
In January 2014, I started writing a story. Fictional, of course. I was partly inspired by watching the last episode of Dexter, which was terrible. The writers couldn’t bring themselves to pull the trigger and execute a memorable ending. Instead they left 8 seasons of story hanging in the middle of nowhere (literally), and it was an incredibly unsatisfying conclusion. Quite frankly, they had switched off their imaginations years earlier.
So I reacted the only way I felt was appropriate. No, not by venting my anger on an Internet discussion board; the Holy Grail for those who like to whine first, think second. Instead, I decided to write my own story. With my own characters, plot lines, back stories, twists and above all else, my own ending. Where I can be as daring as I please. In the last 16 months I’ve gone back to my story plenty of times. The settings and plot continue to alter, only slightly, and the fate of several characters still hangs in the balance. On any given day I can lead my characters down a different path and in the blink of an eye, a new story is created.
There’s a bazillion gillion ways to exercise your inner creativity, and here’s just one activity for anyone who doesn’t mind putting pen to paper (or fingernails to keyboard!).
Think of a simple open-ended scenario:
- Receiving an urgent phone call at 3am.
- Arriving at work to find a suspicious package on your desk.
- Getting off the train at the wrong station.
Set up the scenario, then ask yourself “Then what happened?”
Do it five times and see what you come up with. How did you feel? Have you gone any further? Maybe you feel like adding some detail into the setting, and developing the person, or persons, who magically appeared in your story. It’s amazing how quickly a whole new world can be created.
So let your imagination off its leash. I’d love to see your results in the comment section below, and also let me know what other outlets you use to work that creative brain of yours. We’ve all got one!