As a child, I was constantly wrestling with imaginary games, worlds, characters that adults could not figure out. I know that sounds a little strange, but what little kid doesn’t have a wild imagination (hello, monsters under the bed?). Growing up, some of my fondest memories are sitting the back seat of my mom’s car with my cousin on our way to the beach. The beach and our summer vacations were always great, but those car rides are where my cousin and I had the most fun. I can’t even describe the rambunctious games we invented because they sound silly now, but at the time, we couldn’t wait to jump into the car to go anywhere because it meant we could play our games.
Where I’m going with all of this is that I’m one of those kids that never grew out of their imagination. While I don’t play in imaginary lands or with mystical creatures, I do play with my imagination still: through my ideas and dreams. If you know anything about me, I’m a big dreamer, it’s probably all I do on a day-to-day basis, aside from drinking copious amounts of coffee. You don’t have to abandon your imagination just because you get told to grow up. Open your arms to your imagination, it will change your life.
You can bring imagination into every part of your life. All you need it a little creativity and a lot of patience. A great way to record all your ideas and thoughts are in a journal. It doesn’t have to be one of those “Dear Diary” kind of journals, but something small where you can jot down notes, ideas, short little pieces of writing, even your grocery list for crying out loud.
I carry my itty bitty moleskin around with me everywhere. It’s my go-to for anything. I have coffee shop lists, spots for weekend getaways, short poems, work notes, everything. Pro-tip: if you’re interviewing for a job, take notes during the interview. It can be as simple as writing down what the position is to things that they want you to learn. It’s also useful because the hiring manager will tell you when to expect a decision by and by writing it down, you’ll remember!
As a writer, this little journal is my best friend. I write down little tidbits that I think of while I’m out, an idea for a book, even caption ideas (I know, how lame). If you don’t want to carry around a tiny journal or are too high-tech for traditional pen and paper, go ahead and use your Notes app on your phone, I guess.
The most important thing to remember is to not limit your ideas. I mentioned that I write down book ideas. I know I certainly will not start writing a book anytime soon, but I like having the option. And if you’re anything like me, if you don’t write down the idea right away, it will disappear within 5 minutes. Your ideas may sound stupid now, but maybe they won’t sound all that stupid in the future. Maybe you’ll think of a way to tweak it or transform it into something great. Don’t ignore an idea you have because it sounds stupid now or you don’t think it can go anywhere. Take a look at all the tech startups that are making so much money and changing the way we do things, they were once stupid ideas too.
You never know what you could do with the ideas you write down. Maybe I haven’t written the next great American novel or created the next big start-up, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped writing down my ideas or let my imagination slow down. I think this quote by Maya Angelou says it all,
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
Creativity and imagination go hand in hand, people. Get thinking and get writing. You never know when inspiration will hit you.