How to improve your imagination and creativity
There are all sorts of strategies that are talked about for improving your imagination. Free-form flowing, lateral thinking and "thinking outside the box" whatever the heck that means.
I've always found one strategy that works better than any others, however. That is, to bury yourself in reality. Get as much experience in the real world, and read as much about it as you possibly can. For despite our often arrogant assertion of the opposite, the real world is much more complex and wonderful than anything our brains could ever produce. In fact, it's often those artists who've spent the most time studying reality that produce the most imaginative works.
Take Shakespeare, for example. Why are his plays still so popular today, hundreds of years after they were written? Sure they're imaginative, but they also tell us something timeless about the world. The characters Shakespeare wrote about, and the problems they face sill resonate with us today. He was a man who knew much about the nature of reality, and created magnificent works of creativity in order to demonstrate it.
Or another great imaginative artist - Picasso. Many people look at Picasso's cubist paintings and think he was a man who twisted reality in order to further his art. This is exactly right, but if you look at his earlier works, you can see that his paintings from real life were extremely detailed. He became a master at painting reality as it was, before he became a master at distorting it with his mind and paintbrush.
Indeed, new discoveries about reality can push our art forward far better than new imaginative works. During the 19th century, new scientific discoveries opened up an entire new art-form - science fiction. Writers like HG Wells and Jules Verne pushed forward the bounds of human imagination, but they relied on discoveries made by their scientific peers. They looked a little further towards a horizon that had already been revealed.
Works such as Star Wars and Star Trek could not have existed if humankind hadn't figured out that the stars were distant suns, and not just pinpoints in the sky. The Death Star battle in the first Star Wars was based heavily on real dogfights that had occurred during the First World War, soon after the discovery of the airplane.
There are all sorts of strategies for improving your creativity, but for my money discovering as much as you can about the real world is the best one. The more ideas you cram into your head from reality - the more you understand how it actually works - the more fascinating things you will be able to tell your audience. And after all, that's what they're doing the compliment of paying you attention for in the first place.
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