One key component of imagination is visualization. This is the ability to picture something in our mind and to actually see what it looks like.
While you can certainly be creative without having great visualization skills, they also undoubtedly help when it comes to picturing people and places that don’t exist. If you’re writing a story, or if you’re just thinking about things you’d like to do and accomplish, then visualization is a tool that will serve you very well.
But what if you’re the sort of person who can’t easily picture things in their mind’s eye? The answer is simple: you train it.
How to Train Your Mind’s Eye
The trick with training for visualization is to start with something simple. An easy way to do this is to look at an object on your desk in front of you or at the table. Now, while keeping your eyes open, imagine it rising up slowly and then turning around. As this happens, make sure to really concentrate on the details of the object, the way the light falls on it, what it looks like on the back, how it casts shadows on the desk.
Practice this and use it regularly, and that way, you will find that you slowly enforce the parts of your brain that you use for these kinds of tasks. Once you’ve done this, you can start to imagine things you can’t see: maybe an orange or a banana. The great thing about now creating objects from scratch is that you have to invent all of the smaller details from the spots on the banana to the color to the length.
Then start getting larger and more complex. Maybe imagine a computer. Or, perhaps, try imagining yourself inside a completely different environment. You can even try experimenting with an imaginary ‘happy place.’
While creating objects and manipulating them can be tricky at first, something you may find easier is to visualize things that you remember and to visualize them accurately.
One way to practice this is to think of an environment you used to spend time in or that you have visited lately: perhaps a friend’s bedroom. Now, try and picture as many details of that room as you can. Think about where the door is in relation to the room, where the light comes in, where the CD player is, etc.
Not only does this help you train your visualization skills, it’s also a very interesting exercise that can reveal just how little you pay attention!