Improve Your Imagination: Anthony Trollope’s Secret

Writers often complain to me that they have no imagination. (Of course you do!)

I love this quote from famous novelist Anthony Trollope on developing your imagination so that you can create fictional characters.

How to develop your imagination

Sir Henry Brackenbury recounted a conversation he had with Trollope in his book, Some Memories of My Spare Time:

I said that I envied him the gift of imagination, which enabled him to create characters.

He said, ‘Imagination! my dear fellow, not a bit of it; it is cobbler’s wax.’

Seeing that I was rather puzzled, he said that the secret of success was to put a lump of cobbler’s wax on your chair, sit on it and stick to it till you had succeeded. He told me he had written for years before he got paid.

What’s cobbler’s wax?

Presumably cobbler’s wax was once used by cobblers — shoemakers. According to this instructive tutorial from Eunan Hendron, it’s a sticky substance made of beeswax, rosin, and olive oil. Nowadays fishermen use it to tie salmon flies.

From the article:

A little bit on your finger as you’re tying works wonders for holding materials in place with minimum thread wraps, and your body temperature keeps it soft enough to run over the thread as you need it.

So there you go. You don’t need imagination to write wonderful fiction. Just stick your rear end to your chair and keep it there… With or without cobbler’s wax… 🙂

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

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Just Write It: Write More, Sell More, Starting Today

Just Write It: Write More, Sell More, Starting Today

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This book will help you if you'd like to write more, more easily.

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