Ask Away

Do you think the imagination can tell the difference between writing a story and planning your vacation? Do you think the imagination can tell the difference between composing a pop tune and talking to your boyfriend? Fortunately, it cannot it. Your imagination is a tireless, loyal, and non-judgmental servant. It will provide answers to any and all questions you ask of it. The difference between, say, writing a story and talking to your boyfriend is focus. To write is to devote your complete attention to one idea for an extended period of time. As you focus, and as the clarity of your desire sharpens, the quality and volume of answers your imagination provides heightens. It is harder for the imagination when your attention wanders from thing to thing to thing, as it does throughout your day. But when you plant yourself at your desk, when you quiet the mind, when you forget all the stray possibilities growing around your life and ask only, “What do I most want to say today?” – to focus in this way is to understand the true power of this partnership between you and your imagination.

Look at all we’ve done. The human imagination has brought us everything from Auschwitz to the Ode to Joy. It did as it was asked. To hear us gnashing our brains over whether or not we are free is absurd. We are so free we can build our own jails. We are so free we can create nightmares to keep us up at night.

I suppose this is why humans are so fond of rules. Why, left to our own devices we might create anything. Indeed. The pain we call waste, or sloth, or apathy, is not a failure of talent or desire, but is either a failure to ask, “What is it I most want?” or an unwillingness to believe we deserve the answer.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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