April 8th, 2008 by
Welcome to Part 4 of a 5-part series on the elements of visionary blogging.
This article will help you become a more imaginative blogger.
come with me and you’ll be
in a world of pure imagination
take a look and you’ll see
into your imagination
What is Imagination?
Imagination is the ability to create.
To create means to make something new using existing material.
In particular, imagination is the power to create ideas.
Ideas are the currency of the attention economy.
Imagination is the key to discovering original solutions to our problems.
With rare exceptions, today’s most influential bloggers are masters of imagination.
They are master idea creators.
we’ll begin with a spin
trav’ling in the world of my creation
what we’ll see will defy explanation
You have the power to imagine – and therefore do – things that defy explanation.
I know you do.
How Imagination Boosts Your Blogging Success
With imagination’s power, you can do things never before done.
Your imaginative blogging can make a difference in this world.
Here are just a few ways in which imagination benefits your blogging:
1. Imagination helps you learn faster. Creative thinking cements newfound blogging tips in the mind.
2. Imagination helps you understand people and situations better. Ever wondered what it’s like to be in someone’s shoes?
3. Imagination fuels virality. Often, it’s the main difference between a meme that spreads like wildfire and a meme that quickly turns to ashes.
4. Imagination makes ordinary blog content exciting. It’s that sentence worded unexpectedly, that fresh angle, that astonishing assertion.
5. Imagination freshens stale blog design. In perhaps no other characteristic of a blog is lameness so quickly detected or uniqueness so highly prized.
6. Imagination invigorates a weak blog community. Your blog visitors, commenters and backlinkers all depend on you to give them creative conversation cues – give them what they want or they may stop conversing with or about you.
Imagination makes you a better blogger.
Imagination makes your blog better.
if you want to view paradise
simply look around and view it
anything you want to, do it
want to change the world, there’s nothing to it
What can you see? What do you want to see?
How much are you limiting your blog’s growth by stifling your imagination?
How to Improve Your Imagination: 14+ Ways
1. Approve. It’s okay. Go ahead. Give yourself permission. Nobody’s watching. Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself.
2. Exercise. Take a few minutes each day or each week to do nothing but imagine stuff. No imaginary pain, no imaginary gain.
3. Write it down. Take notes as you daydream or imagine things. Wait until your imagination time ends if you’re concerned about breaking its flow. But once you’re done, write down what you’ve learned or experienced or thought.
4. Start with anything. Picture your blog if you like. Or picture a blue barracuda named Bob. It matters less where you begin than where you go.
5. Change something. So there’s Bob the barracuda in your brain. Now change something about him. Poof! His name’s Shirley. Poof! Give him legs. Poof! Red legs.
6. “What if …?” Ask yourself how the outcome may change if you change the input. Be merciless with the input, sensible with the output. “What if I posted once every 10 minutes to my blog for an entire week? My brain might turn to alfalfa, but I sure would get attention from the other bloggers in my niche. Maybe there’s a viral idea in there … how can I prevent the alfalfa and still get the attention? Aha! What if I just did this for one day? And all around a central theme? And invited others to do it too?”
7. Be silly. You’d be surprised at how many serious, useful ideas are born of ridiculous, useless parents. I say useless because so-called “crazy ideas” may not serve any real purpose by themselves – but they may become powerful means to coming up with totally sane concepts. So maybe Bob the barracuda’s image flashes in your mind, and you give him a bowtie and have him speak Hungarian backwards … and then you realize that the pattern on the bowtie would make a perfect logo for your blog, and that a single backwards word would make a brilliant catchphrase to go in your next post headline.
8. Go sideways. You think and act in well-worn paths all the time. When you practice honing your imagination, make sure to spend some time not forsaking those paths altogether, but rather following them for a while and then taking a brief detour. So if your habit is to answer every thoughtful comment left at your blog with a heartfelt expression of thanks, perhaps you might tweak (but not completely redo) your approach so that you always try to end with a follow-up question inviting further discussion.
9. Consider opposites. Let’s say your blog’s color scheme is dark on light. Without stopping to question your logic, just imagine the absolute photo negative opposite – a light on dark scheme. Allow both extremes to stand before you. Ponder their differences. What do you observe that can be applied whether or not you make a complete shift from the light scheme to its polar opposite?
10. Tell a story. Make it up as you go. It can be set in the past, present or future. “It’s tomorrow morning. I’m reading a bunch of new blog posts on how to increase my RSS subscriber numbers when there’s a knock at the door. It’s my favorite blogger! We’ve never met before, and it’s great to say hi in person. We sit down together and form a plan to play a practical joke on 100 other bloggers – the most audacious such plan ever concoted.” Etc. The point of this exercise is to evoke feelings or thoughts in passing that you can then latch on to and do something about.
11. Drink from imaginative fountains. Go to a creative blogger and ask them for inspiration. Talk to just about any eight-year-old. Watch a movie with lots of surprises in it. Just chug lots of IJ (imagination juice) and see what color your pee turns. In other words, you are what you drink. So partake of as much creative content and conversation as possible.
12. Mix things together. Bob the barracuda and your first blog post. The aftertaste of strawberries and the smell of whipped cream. Put any two or more things together and see what happens.
13. Consider iterations. Ask yourself what the next logical step in a progression should be. Fetus, baby, child, adolescent, adult, worm food. So after you put out that huge resource list post to charm the legions of StumbleUpon, del.icio.us and Digg fans, then what? Then you’ll probably get a lot of first-time visitors to your blog. So how can you prepare for that influx? What needs to change about your design, your content and your community? After the social media traffic spikes come and go, then what? Etc.
14. Apply everything. Try to always glean a meaningful lesson from your escapades to the land of enchantment and imagination (or whatever you wish to call it). And apply each lesson or insight like mad to your blog and to your blogging activities.
15. You tell me. Please don’t let this list stop at 14. There are so many more ways to improve your imagination. Let me hear some from you. Imagination, when shared, becomes almost frighteningly powerful.
Two Big Reminders About Imagination for the Intrepid Blogger
1. Imagination isn’t everything. It’s wonderful, but it’s still all in your head. You have to do real work to make the internal become external. But hard work can make imagination pay off like – well, I guess you can imagine. (We’ll cover hard work in our next article.)
2. Imagination can be scary. Especially when you let it run wild. Don’t let fear of the unknown paralyze you. You can control it. You can be its master. Remember what Mark Twain said: “Some of the worst things in my life never happened.”
Your Real (Not Imaginary) Challenge
I challenge you to become more imaginative. Let your mind wander a bit more. Give yourself permission to think and dream of incredible new things.
As you work to strengthen your sense of imagination, you will become a more visionary blogger and you will be able to improve your blog and your blogging skills more efficiently. And this, in turn, will increase your blogging success faster than ever before.
there is no life I know
to compare with pure imagination
living there, you’ll be free
if you truly wish to be.
Next: In Part 5 of this series, we’ll talk about how to increase your diligence in order to become a more successful blogger. Nothin’ like hard, hard, hard work, smartly done.
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Remember: You can get free blog advice from me anytime. Just ask.
Thank you so much for reading this article all the way to the end.
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