Creative Stuff

There Are 3 Different Types of Imagination – Here’s What That Means for Writers

Creativity is a tricky thing.

Some people have it, some people want more of it, some people are obsessed with trying to enhance it.

And, to make matters more complicated, it’s not just one thing.


Thankfully, scientists have helpfully broken it down for us and it turns out there are three different ways of using your imagination:

  1. Creative
  2. Fantastical
  3. Episodic

So which imaginative type are you?


Creative types are the authors, the composers, the artists who can bring a canvas to life with their vision.

They are adept at plucking stories, characters, scenes and music from thin air.


Fantastical imagination describes the creation of imaginary worlds.

This magic happens when you slip into a new dimension and become completely immersed in whatever you’re creating.

People with highly developed fantastical imaginations are often daydreamers.

They might appear scatter-brained or distracted, but they’re just on a different level.


Episodic imaginations deal with memory.

If you’re an episodic imaginator, you’re good at visualising your past, drawing from memory and crafting something based on scenes you’ve already lived through.

And you’re likely to be a planner. Someone who’s learned from past mistakes and used that knowledge to plan for the future.


What does all this mean for writers?

The bad news is that you need all of the above to write your masterpiece.

The good news is that you can identify where you might be lacking, and hone your skills.

Imagination is like a muscle -it needs exercise.

Want to improve your creative imagination?

Try collaborating.

Join a writer’s group, get networking, watch a bunch of TED Talks where writers talk about their creative process.

The best source of inspiration is new information and ideas.


Working your fantastical imagination requires getting bored. Very bored.

The best daydreaming occurs when we’re performing simple, routine tasks (like showering, or driving).

Being on auto-pilot allows our subconscious to run riot, churning out all kinds of interesting ideas.


Those lacking in episodic imagination should try brainstorming.

Outlining what you want to do, and how to get there, can help you formulate a plan and think about the path you want to take.

You can also try talking to a friend or family member who can help you tap into your past and dig up some old memories that can inspire.

For more suggestions on how to up your creativity, check out the infographic below (courtesy of Shout)






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