The famous writer Ursula Le Guin is known to have said that she could imagine living without her thumbs, but not without her imagination. She also considers that as in all basic skills in life, we need exercises in imagination.
We are often advised to put our ideas on paper, to grab a pen or a brush and transform our ideas into representation, to put them in the world until they disappear. But why and how?
1. We need to test our ideas. Nobody does anything alone, even the most solitary creative activity is not produced in a vacuum.
We need feedback, we need to engage in conversations with our peers so that we can have a reality check.
We might think at some point that we are in the zone, that our ideas might be creative or useful for us to share. But we will never know if we don’t give them substance, so that our peers can offer another perspective on what we think to be true, beautiful or innovative.
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2. We need to free our brain for other ideas. If we don’t throw our ideas into the world, they will haunt us and will not let us move forward with other plans and objectives.
Putting words on the paper or brush on the canvas is a way to clear our mental space, to liberate ourselves so that we can move on.
3. Ideas tend to come and go as they please. Catch them while you can.
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Otherwise, you might find yourself in the situation in which, while you were struggling with self doubt, the same idea has occupied another mind.