Imagination, Trust and the Empty Page

As writers sit and contemplate the empty page, we rely on our imaginations to help us fill it. I know this is obvious, but it is so obvious that I rarely think about it anymore. When I was a child, my imagination was as strong as anything else in my life. Sometimes the friends who lived in my imagination were more real that the people I knew at school when I was very small.

As time goes by, we enter deeper into the real world, and we leave part of our imaginations behind. We have to in order to live in the world. We graduate, take jobs, and force our minds to focus on the here and now, on the goals we hope to reach, on the things we mean to build. This is being an adult, and all of this is a good thing.

Until we sit down and stare at a blank page.

For fiction writers, we have to return to our imaginations in order to write a single word. Even historical fiction, which is based on facts as they are remembered by the winners, relies on imagination to bring it to life. As I sit and work on the first draft of my latest work in progress, I find myself once more having to trust the imagination that I took for granted as a child. I rely on it to help bridge the gap between myself and my characters, between my real life and my characters’ lives on the page.

That unknown country, that place of dreams, is something I rarely think about, even while I’m working. As an adult, I take it for granted, that my imagination will be there, ready to open the door for me, ready to help me build a bridge between the blank page and a chapter worth reading. So today I acknowledge the land of dreams. Without it, I would have nothing to say, no worlds to build, no life on the page. For all these things, I am grateful.

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