At a recent session of our writing group, the question was posed, “If January were an animal, what animal would it be?” And another: “What does January sound like?” Somerset Maugham said that “imagination grows by exercise,” and in the room that cold January night, you could sense the muscles of imagination flexing, the synapses in the brain beginning to spark and fire like a car engine turning over after a night of twenty below zero. We let the muscles of our minds grow flabby, but the calisthenics of the group help us to get back into shape. We speak of the writing “exercise.” For this sort of writing practice is exercise, and just as muscles that undergo regular exertion grow firm and strong, so does our creativity grow the more it is used. Closed parts of our selves are gradually opened and we begin to believe in ourselves again, and we believe in the power of imagination at play. When we do that, what we write will amaze us.
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