Kids have the best imagination! I think that is why I love working with them so much. It's fun for me to listen to my daughter play with her Breyer horses and make up all sorts of stories. I miss that about my boys who are now teenagers. Ther imaginations are absorbed in video games.
The other day I was out to lunch with a friend at a really cool fish and chips place here in San Diego, Point Loma Sea Foods. We sat down on some steps where we could watch a seal just right out in front of us playing in the water. He was actually begging. A little girl of about four was watching and I started talking to her. I asked her if the seal was a boy or a girl. She looked at me as if I was ridiculous and said, "Boy!" Then I asked her what he was doing in the harbor and she said, "Looking for his family." She was very matter of fact about it. We talked for a few more minutes until her big sister got bored with our conversation and the seal and told her they had to go. But by the time they went, I knew the seal's name was Sam, he was looking for his family who was probably on the other side of the harbor and that his favorite food was potato chips! How do you not love that kind of imagination? And it was all right off the cuff--no thought about it.
I think for writers and all adults (really) that going back to that kid place in us and not overthinking our stories too much, but just allowing our imagination to go and answer for us is good for our soul and creativity. It's when we think too hard that we stifle our creativity and our stories become flat.
I challenge all writers young and old to think like a kid for just a day this week. Get outside into nature if you can, or go to a museum or even just look at a picture/painting in your home and find something or someone you can create a story about without an outline, without prepping for it, just run with it. I am the type of writer who prepares for everything, so I find these kind off exercises very liberating. How about you? Do you ever tap into your kid imagination anymore? If not, what's stopping you?