How to become a more visual thinker

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about how to become a more visual thinker….

I am not what you’d call a natural visual thinker. For me, words and stories always come before images. Even when I’m reading, I seldom imagine what characters look like and I tend to skim through text involving detailed description of setting.

Still, I recognize this to be a deficiency of mine — and it’s likely the reason why I’ve generally stuck with writing non-fiction rather than novels or short stories. (Although I read fiction voraciously.)

For all these reasons, I very much appreciated K.M. Weiland’s recent and creative blog post under the headline, “11 Exercises to Enhance Your Visual Thinking.”

Her 11 exercises include:

  1. Dreamzoning (an intentional time of focused daydreaming)
  2. Taking story walks
  3. Seeking your own symbolism (subconscious brains speak in symbols rather than words)
  4. Filling the well (looking for enough beautiful/interesting images)
  5. Using music as a starting point
  6. Using images as starting points
  7. Focusing on colour and light
  8. Bringing in other senses
  9. Creating music videos in your head
  10. Taking (imaginary) snapshots
  11. Paying attention to your dreams

Weiland puts it this way:

As a writer of fiction, my life remains fervently in need of these dreams, these visions, these specters out the corner of my eye. And so, even as I dedicate myself to waging war against Internet brain and the inherent distractions that pull me away from my visual thinking, I also become more intent than ever on once again consciously accessing this amazing realm of creativity.

If you want to become a more visual thinker, be sure to try Weiland’s exercises.