Imagination is fundamental to the writing process. It takes a great deal of imaginative effort to create something brand new, or to take the what-ifs and transfer them into some ‘here-that’s, if I may. Many non-writer friends ask how it is that we writers can sit down and create stories, elaborate and plain alike, from whole cloth, with only the prompting of a few words or images. There is no disguising the fact; I have consistently and willfully refused to let go of a childlike imagination. Of course, it has matured over time, but it remains active in the way a child’s imagination is simply ever-engaged, or perhaps even on overdrive, (thus causing a child’s teachers and parents to put him on drugs and label his restlessness as a syndrome or a disorder). We can debate that later, and also debate the damaging affects that wall-to-wall CG might have on the imaginative capacity of a child. I believe I was sufficiently shielded from both.
What I’d like to note is that boundless imagination is enormously beneficial to a writer. It doesn’t distinguish one as a writer; for that, one must engage in the patient labor of kneading an idea into a story and glossing it into a finished product, which unfortunately requires a certain level of mature approach and research and discipline (and dedication to the amount of time required by the task). So, there’s a real balance which must be achieved, at least the way I see it. Surely, other authors will disagree and point out their own processes; we should be all the better for the multitude of methods offered.
But maybe I’m not alone in this distinction of wanting a childlike imaginative process engaged with a matured effort to properly embed the output of daydreaming into a well-crafted work. Without the imagination, an author would be hard-pressed to design proper combinations of words to convey the unique imagery of a scene that they had dreamed up, which some authors fail to do more than others. After all, you can’t describe something if you can’t see it in your mind. Many writers neglect to generate enough scenery and are left to the common, worn out, even stale descriptions which have, in their wealth of overuse, lost most of the descriptive power they once effused. Vivid scenes are painted by the mind which sees it clearly enough to have a unique way to describe the details and to isolate those details that matter most to the story.
So, open your mind back up and daydream until it becomes a routine, until people begin to worry that you’re having a stroke, until your words encapsulate a vision that no one else could’ve written. This is for myself as much as anyone else. I feel that my own writing suffers from too many common phrases and only a handful of the pieces I have written can be noted as truly unique. Time to daydream…