Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Power of Imagination

Lately I’ve been thinking about the power of imagination and the many possibilities it opens up to us. As a hymn writer, I can be very attached to a word or phrase, even if my readers say that its meaning is unclear. A large part of my resistance to changing the problematic phrase is a temporary paralysis of the imagination. I’ve lived with the text as it is for a long time, and it’s hard to think of another way to express the same idea. Sometimes it takes several hours, even several days or weeks, before I can get outside the “box” in which I’ve enclosed the idea.

Recently I read an account of the electric light bulb’s invention, which helped me to view the process of writing in a new way. It seems that Thomas Edison conducted more than 2,000 experiments before he finally succeeded in inventing the light bulb. When a young reporter asked him how he felt about failing so many times, Edison replied, “I never failed. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000 step process.”

Thomas Edison realized that the key to success was the willingness to imagine a different solution over and over again, until he came upon one that worked. He discovered the light bulb, and I’ve discovered that his method works for writers, too!

by Delores Dufner, OSB

Note: Sister Delores Dufner has agreed to "blog" for us on the fifth Tuesday of the month. She is the author of many popular hymns. Her books, The Glimmer of Glory in Song and Sing a New Church are available at Whitby Gift Shop. For more information, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment