Sunday, December 03, 2006

Spinning Stories

If we’re writers, we see story possibilities everywhere. Decorating a Christmas tree we may find ourselves spinning stories about an unusual ornament or what it might have been like long ago or even what we wish things could be like now. That’s one of the advantages of having a good imagination. We can always create stories, imagine new possibilities, and envision worlds we would love to visit.

The question is: How do we use that imagination? Do we imagine the things that could go wrong in our lives or do we imagine what could go write? I’d argue that imagining what could go right is the optimal strategy. How often have we put off doing things because we were afraid they wouldn’t work out? I’m not talking about taking reckless chances; I’m talking about things that could enrich our lives.

If you are a writer, how many times have you put off writing afraid that it wouldn’t be good enough? How often have you put off sending out what you wrote for fear it would be rejected? Imagine instead that what you write will be wonderful. Aren’t you more ready to sit down and write? Imagine an editor calling ecstatic after reading your manuscript? You probably would feel more like sending it out.

We get to choose what kind of life we want to lead. Do we want to live a life where everything always goes wrong—because that’s where we spend our time even if only in our thoughts—or a life where most of the time things go right because that’s where we spend our time and emotion living as we imagine the future?

Ideally we live in the moment. If you ever manage to figure out how to do it, please let me know! Until then, I know that I will choose to spend my time focusing on what might go right and therefore feel better, most of the time plus have the courage to do new things.

Imagination is a wonderful thing. Aren’t we writers lucky to have it?

Wishing all of you a wonderfully imaginative week!