Again and again, I've heard journalists-who-would-be-novelists complain that the hardest thing for them is to kick-start their imaginations. They're used to telling the truth, and not making up things. (A few reporters excepted there!) They're accustomed to writing concisely, not meandering on for 400 pages. I had the same problem, and it was a BIG problem when I wanted to write fiction.
So, for them and for other beginners, here's the World's Best Writing Exercise to get around the crusty old editor in your brain and let your imagination flow.
Set a timer for 10 minutes.
Sit down with paper and pen and put the tip of your pen on the page.
Turn the timer on.
Look up. What's the first thing you see? Use THAT.
Start writing on that "theme," whether it's "doorknob" or "dog." Do not stop for anything. Don't edit, erase, or mark out. Forget punctuation, grammar, spelling. No judging, criticising, or anything but writing down everything that comes out of your pen. Write, write, write as fast as you can, before the judge on one side of your brain can browbeat the artist who lives on the other side of the duplex.
When the timer goes off, STOP.
Read what you wrote. Now tear it up and throw it away. DO NOT REWRITE IT.
Do the same thing tomorrow, and every day for a month.
I'll be very surprised if that doesn't free up something inside your imagination.
Happy Tuesday, everybody!