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The Power of As If Thinking As if thinking is a sophisticated name for pretending. Not only does it work to boost your creativity, it's also fun. Role-playing helps you stretch yourself as well as get in touch with your right brain. Here are some strategies to try.

Dialog with an imaginary mentor: Imagine a person (living or dead), a person whose ideas you respect and admire. Try to select someone you sense would have good ideas about the problem you face. Now, with your notebook in front of you, imagine you are sitting across from this person in a quiet coffee shop, and can ask him or her anything you want. Write a question in your notebook. Then with a different color of ink write what you imagine your mentor would reply. Continue this process for 20 minutes or so until you have the information you need.

Sit right down and write yourself a letter: Make believe you are a sage or a wise woman, you have seen and know everything. You have been watching the real you grapple with the problem you face and the time has come to speak. As this wise person, write yourself a letter of encouragement and advice. Make it as least a page.

Try automatic writing: Pretend you can channel your higher self or helpers from the spirit world. In a quiet and private space, sit with your notebook and pen in hand. Empty your mind and allow your hand, rather than your mind, to choose what words to write down. If you find yourself crossing out words or censoring, your mind is back in control. When this happens, gently tell it to take a break and resume writing.

Project yourself: Imagine the problem you face. Personify it. Give it a voice. Now listen to what it wants to tell you about itself. If you wish, you can do a tape recorded or written dialogue with it. Ask it what it needs from you in order to become more co-operative. Allow yourself imagine yourself as the problem and write from the problem's point of view. Where did it come from? Who were its parents? What makes it tick? What does it need to stay strong? What is its goal in life? What are its weaknesses?

Get in touch with your right brain: Try dialoging with the inner genius that lives in your right brain. Again, use a notebook and two colors of ink. This time ask yourself written questions, one question at a time, with your dominant hand (the one you usually write with). Answer them in writing with your other hand. Doing this not only gets you in touch with your more intuitive self, it also slows you down. Some people become quickly frustrated with this process and quit too soon. For the best results keep at it for at least twenty minutes.

Learn more about creative problem solving.

As If � Kay Marie Porterfield is a creativity coach, author and workshop leader. Her website, Live Your Creative Vision, is filled with information, links and resources that focus on the creative process and using creativity as a tool for healing and growth. She also offers a free newsletter, Creative Writes.