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How to Improve Your Imagination

Creativity is not an innate blessing, it’s a skill

When I told my neighbor that I’m working on a novel, he expressed admiration in the “gift” of writing. He said he struggled with linking sentences together into something creative, and I told him that I used to feel that way, too, but I worked hard at it. I still work hard at it.

I’ve always considered myself a creative type. I used to write poems and draw pictures for my parents and grandparents, but then I got into High School and anxiety hijacked that creative spirit. I wrote what I had to for school and I jotted down notes of misery in a few journals, but I didn’t write creatively again until college.

It wasn’t until I pursued my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing that I really began to challenge the idea that writing is a gift bestowed upon a few. I had to challenge the notion because I was struggling to write in a Creative Writing program! I thought, perhaps I was wrong about myself. I thought, maybe I’m not a writer.

I kept writing things, though. Poems. Short stories. Bits of my novel.

Then eventually, I got really sucked into my novel. I completed a messy draft full of sentences that didn’t entirely link together into a story, yet, but I had a draft.

I began reordering chapters. Cutting characters. Adding scenes and hammering away at it until it started to take shape into something more closely resembling a novel.

I didn’t, however, receive words of wisdom from my characters.

I didn’t have dreams or visions of what would happen next.

I didn’t walk around all day thinking about my novel.

I worked diligently and sculpted my writing bit by bit.

I accepted advice from professors in my Creative Writing program. When I graduated, I sought suggestions from friends and family.

Now, I sometimes, close my eyes at night and see my characters interacting together in a scene, but that kind of imaginative thinking doesn’t come naturally to…

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