How to use your imagination

If you want to learn how to use your imagination in creative writing, the easiest way is through writing exercises.

Everybody has imagination. Everyone.

If you disagree with this statement – try not to build a picture in your mind of a pink elephant wearing a white hat and cool shades.


blue butterfly on a rock illustrating an article about how to use your imaginationNow, think back to your earliest childhood memory. Was the sun shining? Were you in your pram?  In the garden? Were there butterflies?

Keep asking yourself questions and fix on your most vivid memory.

You will probably find you have added a few bits and pieces to the memory.

Now write that down – every detail you can think of.

The first time I did this, I saw myself peeping out of a pram and looking at a beautiful garden, filled with butterflies and of course the sun was shining.


Is this memory or is this imagination?  If you have just seen the above images as I described, then you know the answer already.

You saw what I described in your own mind but was it your memory, or mine?

Memory is a great tool for a writer but it should never be confused with facts.

The power of suggestion is immense.

If, for example, I mention a white Unicorn or a large fire-breathing dragon you will immediately see these in your mind. The power of suggestion should never be underestimated.

Your imagination will deliver the images you think about.


practical creative writing book cover illustrating an article about using your imaginationYou can trigger your imagination in a myriad of ways. One of the most powerful ways is through creative writing exercises – these work by making you ask yourself questions.

Imagine a white wolf has come down from the mountains and is approaching your garden.

You watch through the window until it is frighteningly close. A stranger comes to the rescue.

Ask yourself questions:

Why has the wolf come down from the mountains?

Who came to the rescue?

What happened after that?


Now you have the beginnings of a story, and you can use your imagination to bring this story further, by asking more questions.

You can take ‘you’ out of the story and replace yourself with somebody else – a character.

Let your story create the character by simply inserting ‘man’ or ‘woman’ and watching the character develop.

Creative writing exercises work by giving you images which trigger questions.

To exercise your imagination, simply use it by doing more writing exercises.

Once you start doing this regularly it will become really easy – I promise.


tree branch illustrating an article about how to use your imaginationImagine you are in walking in the woods.

Who else is there?

What are they doing?

Who or what is lurking under the bushes?

Your imagination is always there for you.


All you have to do is use it.  Ask questions, more questions – this builds stories.

Remember to write everything down. It is easy to forget when your mind is tumbling with freshly generated ideas.

Best of Luck with your writing


P.S.  Before you go, don’t forget to like, share, or leave a comment in the box. I love hearing from other writers and I do my best to reply to everyone.






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30 Responses to How to use your imagination

  1. Daria August 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Hello Grace, I want to say thank you for your website that I have just discovered and that I’m planning to continue on discovering further. My biggest fear about writing (except the eternal excuse of time, which I cannot seem to manage well) is overcoming the thought that what I want to write about cannot be interesting for anyone but me. As if it weren’t enough, “real writers”, as I imagine them, do write for themselves first, and not for anyone else. The only, and very few things I have written so far have come to me in moments of desperation, and served as a catharsis. Oddly enough, even though I struggle with a lot of things on a day to day basis, first of which being my inability to write my phd dissertation, mostly because I am scared of the work and fed up with the university lifestyle, I cannot seem to use writing fiction as a form of procrastination, which would be more helpful than watching TV. Long story short, I will definitely do your exercises and take it easy, starting right now with my first childhood memory, as you suggest. So thanks a bunch, really. I am very happy to have found your website!

    • Grace August 10, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

      Hi Daria, nice to hear from you. I have been there too – worried that what I want to write about won’t interest anyone. I think this is a common fear among writers. Okay it is a risk but writing, like life is a risk.
      One thing I tell myself is that I don’t want to look back on my life wishing I had written more and watched telly less! This helps.
      I am glad you are using the exercises – keep doing them. Eventually one of these exercises will turn into the story you can’t stop writing.
      All the best, Grace

      • stev October 26, 2015 at 2:57 am #

        this website will help me with my english class and help me with my story i get to write when test come up i will have more imaganation thank for your help

        • Grace October 30, 2015 at 10:25 am #

          Best of luck with your English class.

  2. Jack Walsh September 29, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    I’ve very much enjoyed your posts as I’ve made my way through your site/blog.

    thank you Grace.


    • Grace September 29, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

      Thanks Jack I am glad you enjoyed them.

  3. Mario Morones December 11, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    Thanks Grace I needed to read this article. I’m 55 years old and have all these stories in my mind. you helped me a lot.

    • Grace December 11, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

      Great to hear that, Mario – keep writing and get those stories out!

  4. Allyssa December 14, 2014 at 3:32 am #

    This is really great advice. I plan to use it! Thank you!

    • Grace December 15, 2014 at 11:03 am #

      You are welcome and thank you too.

  5. C R Snyder December 28, 2014 at 2:07 am #

    Thank you for these! I’ve been using them to help me “rediscover” my passion for writing. In that endeavor I’ve started a blog as a way to force me to write more and was planning on posting the writing I’ve done based on various writing prompts I’ve found, including yours. As long as I link back to your site where I found the prompts, do you mind if I post them?


    • Grace January 9, 2015 at 11:52 am #

      Hi so glad you have discovered your passion for writing. It’s amazing how many people just stop – life gets in the way sometimes…
      I would be happy for you to mention my prompts as long as you link back here.
      Good luck with your work,

  6. Ice Tigress January 5, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    Hi Grace,
    I was just reading your website (by the way, thank you, it is such a great help!) and when you mentioned a white wolf walking down a garden, my mind skyrocketed. I now have an amazing story in mind. The funny thing is… my mind altered it, bit by bit, so that it is no longer about a wolf, or a garden at all! Thank you, because I had lost my ‘writing mojo’ for a while now. It’s back, and while I have several unfinished novels, they now may have an ending thanks to you!

    • Grace January 9, 2015 at 11:54 am #

      Hi there, I am so glad to hear your story. It is wonderful the way your imagination was caught by the wolf. Altering an original idea or prompt is a great way to go forward.
      I hope you find your endings.

      Take care


  7. leslie February 25, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

    i love that u show that imagination is important and that we do need it so it is a wonderful.

    • leslie February 25, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

      hi grace i know i have been leaving short little notes bu here comes a long on. i love that this website tells about imagination because i know without i would never have come up with half of the books i did i have been trying to find a publisher and i know that i am very young but i love the books that i wrote and i even wrote something for a movie and have started emailing studios. a lot of people have doubts so i want to know do you have any advice for me to stay positive and keep up with this all? my mom says to create a list of pros and cons so i was wondering if doing this article has uplifted you so i was wondering if i could ask if you have wrote anything else and i would love to read that. thank you for reading this and i truly love it thank you.


      • Grace February 25, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

        Hi Leslie,
        I am so glad to hear from you. I think it is great that you are so dedicated to writing at such a young age and I hope you will keep going.

        The most important thing for now is to keep writing and write regularly. This is how you will find success. Don’t worry too much about sending your work away at the moment – be patient and take your time. Just focus on writing. If you do this your writing will get better and better every single time you write. Your imagination will open up and your mind will be filled with wonderful ideas.
        Don’t be discouraged. Not everybody will appreciate your dedication, but if you keep going you will find plenty of people who will appreciate your efforts.
        It sounds like your mum is helpful and encouraging. My own mum who died 7 years ago always encouraged me and I feel lucky to have had that.
        Here is a link to some of my books
        Keep going and please feel free to come back and ask questions. I can’t always answer straight away but I will do my very best to get back to you as soon as I can.

    • Grace February 25, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

      Hi Leslie,
      I think our imagination is a treasure we often forget we have – but as you are learning imagination can take you anywhere.
      Take care

  8. leslie February 27, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

    thank u grace and i appreciate this because it is amazing and i am so sorry that your mum died. so i want to let you know that having been responded to has really made my day and i thank u. this is so awesome

  9. leslie February 27, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

    hi grace
    i was wondering if i could interview you like this. i have to do a report about imagination and i was wondering if you could be the part for my interview. i would love to hear what your other opinions are on imagination. thank u for showing me the books. i pretty sure i have already read some of them because i think that they are in our library. i know that this probably a lot to ask so it is okay if you say no or if you say yes. i would love to hear from you.

    • Grace February 27, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

      Hi Leslie,
      It’s lovely to hear from you again. I will be happy to answer a few questions for you – if you can wait for next week.
      In the mean time – keep writing.
      Have a lovely weekend

  10. leslie March 3, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    great so um i was wondering do you think imagination helps us to read and dream. and how we can use these in our daily lives

    • Grace March 3, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

      Hi Leslie,
      Yes I do think it helps us to read and dream. I think reading expands your mind and your imagination. When you read you can ‘see’ the story unfold and ‘see’ the characters. This is the power of your imagination. The more you read the better you will be at writing and imagining.
      As for dreaming I suppose that when we are asleep and that particular state of consciousness our mind is imagining stories and events and showing us those as we sleep.
      Hope this helps

  11. leslie March 4, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

    thank u Grace that is all i needed. so thanks. hopefully i will be able to email u another time.

    • Grace March 4, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

      You are welcome, Leslie. I hope it goes well for you.
      Best wishes

  12. Rachael August 10, 2016 at 4:48 pm #


    I am currently writing a book or story should i say! But the real reason is because when i think about my characters, the plot, etc… i just have to write it down. It gets so real in my head, its weird i just have to start writing. The only annoying aspect is i can literally sit at my computer and write 10,000 words all in one go, then the next day, nothing! It’s very frustrating, i do think it’s because maybe i am trying to hard? Sometimes i write because i think of something and i think its really good, other times it’s like i’m already trying to impress people before I’ve even written it- this is what stops me from writing further, i think. I don’t think it’s writers block, i do think it’s a confidence thing. Your site as helped me push that part away when it comes, that inner critic telling me i’m stupid for even considering writing. The creative exercises do help my mind stay focused on the real reason why i’m writing and it’s because i love it.

    • Grace August 11, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

      Hi Rachael
      Great to hear from you. I can certainly empathize with you. I too have days where I write reams and days where I don’t. I don’t know why it is but I don’t think it matters. As long as you are writing regularly and are dedicated – which you obviously are – it will come.
      The mental editor can be a real pain and it can be hard to switch it off. But the more you write and the more you relax into your writing the less it will bother you.
      Confidence can be a problem for me sometimes and the best way I know to deal with that is to pretend to have it! Pretend to be a confident person. Ask yourself what would a confident person write? I think this will help you.
      In the mean time keep writing and don’t worry about the output from day to day. What counts is that you are showing up regularly to write and that you love it – keep writing.
      All the best


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