A strong imagination is one of the key ways to live like a narnian. I mentioned previously that one way to improve your imagination is to keep a journal. Here’s why this is true.
Keep a journal to improve your memory
For our imagination to work properly, we need some material to work with. Most of that material comes from memories of past events and observations of the world around us. So to improve your imagination, you will need to improve your memory for details.
Repetition, repetition, repetition
One way to remember something is to repeat it. Let’s face it, when it comes to memory, repetition works. When I was a child, I memorized whole chapters of the Bible by rote repetition. Now, at 42 years old, I can still quote large passages from memory. That repetition worked!
Involve your senses
Another way to improve your memory of something is to use more than one of your senses. If you see a beautiful mountain scene, it way delight your eyes. But if you are standing in that mountain meadow and not only see it, but smell the wildflowers and hear the babbling brook and the bird’s singing, you will have a much stronger memory of the scene for having your senses of sight, smell, and hearing involved.
When you keep a journal, you improve your memory of an event, observation, or thought by both repeating it as you write, and by engaging your sense of touch, which is one reason I recommend paper journals over digital ones. The act of writing something out longhand will improve your memory of it. And an improved memory means more raw material for your imagination to build with.
Keep a journal for creativity
A journal is a private thing, so be honest and open, and you can experiment. Exercise your creativity, try out your imagination.
I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to be creative in front of other people. Perhaps that is insecurity on my part, but I like do my creative experimentation in private, and then share it when I’m confident in it. My journal is one place I do this. I write poetry, sketch little drawings, etc. Most of it I never want to share with anyone. But now and then I’ll decide to take something out of my journal, refine it a bit, and let others see it.
In other words, if you’d like a safe place to exercise your creativity, keep a journal (here’s how).
Keep a journal for peace of mind
Another reason to keep a journal is the peace of mind that can result from expressing your thoughts and feelings openly without fear of what others might think. Sometimes it does help to just get stuff out. One example of this I see is in the book of Psalms. King David expresses all sorts of emotions, from anger to depression to joy. And usually, his expression of a negative emotion, such as depression, ends with expressions of joy or praise.
Writing out what you are thinking and feeling will help clear your mind of emotional clutter, help you give voice to those emotions, and free your mind to think more creatively.
Many of the best songs come in the wake of the songwriter’s experience of some tragic event or experience. The act of writing his way through the experience became creative and resulted in a creative expression that others can relate to. Song writing takes imagination, and many come from the songwriter’s journal.
Next up: How to keep a journal
There are many other good reasons to keep a journal, but these three are, I think, key to improving your imagination. If you’ve got another way in which keeping a journal has improved your imagination, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
In my next article, I’ll be giving some tips from my experience about how to keep a journal.
photo credit: Barry Silver