As a writer, successful or not, imagination is a key to everything we do. Without it, I for one would be stuck for a blog post. Mental imagery is what drives us, forcing us to put into words the cinema inside our head. We could call imagination a staple, much in the same way ingredients we keep in the pantry are. Those ingredients are the basics for our cooking, imagination is the basis for picturing our dreams, for giving them substance.
Thinking about it further I can see that it is not just writers, or creative people that thrive because of imagination, if anything, anybody can and does. Images in our head give us hope, ideas, possibilities because they are a snap shot of the reality we seek. A joint QUT and University of Plymouth study has shown a new motivational mental imagery intervention called Functional Imagery Training (FIT) helped overweight people lose five times more weight than those using traditional talking therapy. But, as I said in my heading, fit doesn’t always involve a gym.
Stumbling on this information in a senior citizen publication (yes, I read those) I was intrigued by what is a simple idea and certainly not new, in fact visualising has been around for a very long time but with the scientific twist tweaking, credibility has been heightened. It seems scientific studies can do that, and they can also give a sense that this polished thinking can be applied outside of the health goal arena. We all know either from our own experience, or through family and friends that health goals like losing weight, quitting smoking or drinking less alcohol are difficult but with an end image in mind the journey can be easier. We have something to focus on. Why can’t we transfer this to other things?
Professor Kavanagh from QUT says mental “imagery is about vividly imagining achieving your goal, making the experience as real as if it is happening now, using all of your senses.” The resulting snap shot may be able to keep motivation high enough to get us where it is we want to go. Motivation loss undermines success. Why can’t we develop the new “us” in our minds and undermine the loss instead? If we don’t then all we are is a collection of puzzle pieces and no picture to guide us.
Taking this on board I had to re-think the whole concept of imagination. The first step was to see it as a tool to be used in setting a goal, and not as a tool to create characters, or paint pictures or play music, or colour co-ordinate a wardrobe. Consideration had to go to shaping my goal, giving it features and giving it life, the life I want, or in your case the life you want. This doesn’t mean a complicated image, or even a series of images. It means a clear, concise view of what we want as the result of our endeavours. Have you got it? Have you worked it out? Is it there in your head? Hold it still. Don’t let it waiver, not for a moment.
I have one, I have a picture in my mind of a new website that works as a slide show displaying my romance series, my poetry series and a thriller I am working on now and would have finished by then. Looking at this are readers who are giving me feedback that is positive and encouraging. That picture in my head can’t happen unless I complete those books. In the article I read, regularly “picturing themselves running without puffing, wearing the clothes of their dreams, or being fabulous at a milestone occasion really paid off for the FIT participants”. Am I a dreamer, or am I someone with a picture of my reality? I guess the only way for me to find out is to keep writing. The only way for you to know is to keep watching my website.
What do you want? I’d love to know. Sharing creates supporters and what can be better to stop the image from wobbling and falling over?
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