Friday, August 15

Creative Visualization as a Writing Technique

I know some of you are rolling your eyes at the mention of creative visualization, but bear with me a moment. Yes, creative visualization has been embraced by myriads of snake-oil-salesmen as a way to “get rich quick” or to “make all your dreams come true,” to which I say an enthusiastic: bah humbug! (That said, if you’re using creative visualization and you’re getting rich quick, good for you. Ignore me.)

What I’m talking about today is using creative visualization as a tool to help folks meet their writing goals, whatever they may be.

My Attempt At Creative Visualization

As some of you know, I’m smack dab in the middle of my WIP which means that I’ve been slogging through the (cue ominous organ music) Great Swampy Middle of Despair. Predictably, I started to wonder why I ever wanted to write in the first place because I’m obviously horrible at it; and so on and so forth. The old demons of doubt reared their ugly heads and, unfortunately, it’s all too easy to believe them. Thoughts--these kind of negative thoughts--do have power (the power we give them) and can become self-fulfilling. And, let’s face it, it’s easy to find reasons not to write. Oh look, the kitchen needs cleaning and I really should go grocery shopping.

While I was procrastinating yesterday I read a fabulous article, On Giving Up, by Monica Bhide over at one of my favorite blogs, Writer Unboxed. I should mention that when I read Monica’s article I was in full-on panic mode. In her article, Monica wrote about feelings of inadequacy she had experienced and it was as though she was speaking for the both of us.  

Monica Bhide obviously shook off her feelings of inadequacy to write again and, in reading her article, I remembered a technique I used years ago: creative visualization.

I thought, Well, I may not believe it will work but what do I have to lose? So I closed my eyes and spent a minute or so imagining completing my word count; I imagined how that would feel. I imagined the pen in my hand and the feel of the paper as I wrote. 

And you know what? It worked! I astonished myself by writing more than twice the number of words I needed to.

Now I’m not saying, “Close your eyes, think good thoughts, and great things will follow,” (let’s face it, horrible things happen to good people) but I do think that our thoughts can paralyze us, convincing us that we are less than we are, that we can do less than we are capable of. As powerful as these thoughts are, when we understand what’s happening and consciously take steps to balance these negative thoughts with positive ones we can surprise ourselves by what we can accomplish.

That’s my wish for you today, whatever negative, pointless, goal-destroying thoughts you may have, balance them with positive ones. Even if you don’t believe you’ll finish your word count today, close your eyes and spend a minute imagining yourself doing it. Then go write, even if it’s only a word. Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. You can do it!

Have a great weekend.

Photo credit: "Bee Enjoying The Flowers" by A Guy Taking Pictures under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.


  1. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m back.
    Shaddap awreddy. I never really left, Karen… just went silent.

    Okay doll, now really try to lissen, okay?
    Nah… you’re not lissenin’ yet—don’t make me go all Bogart on your Bacall. Sheesh.
    (OoooOOOohhhh…. Des mentioned Bogey and Bacall! I gotta learn how to whistle!)
    Nevermind, lurkers… Google it, and watch the flick….

    Any frikkin’ way…
    C’mere. Yeah, over here. Now grab a seat and fold your hands primly. (Honesty, you hafta do that or else that Bogey thing’s gonna happen).
    Got your attention Young Jedi?

    Let’s take a stroll down memory lane… it’s on my blog, where I was doubting my own chops. And a woman told me I had the chops. She raised me up. It was around the same time that her own hands were bruised and aching from spendin’ too much time at the PC. Her comment on that post gave me the dagnabbit gumption to keep on going. I’d put the link up, but I’ve had too many brewskis, and frankly I KNOW that you know you did it. The lurkers can do whatever they wanna do.
    I’m NOT cleaning up here as a writer.
    But, I’m doing … well, I’m happy. Selling about 1K books/mo and pulling in about 2K/ month. For the 3rd month now. 15%/ month growth in sales since Dec. It’s going pretty good, and even if I’m not making Preston/Patterson/King/ Child do re mi… I’m excited as a kid about my future. (BTW, lurkers, I’m 56… in dog years that’s like 212 or something I guess).

    A long time ago, I put a post up about my insecurities and (cough… cough…ack… need more beer and better smokes)
    And… well… you put a comment on it… and it got me though.(So NOT wiping tears or anything. Just needed a Kleenex to blow my nose. That’s all….)
    You didn’t give me ‘The Super Sekrit of In-Dee-Pen-Dant Publiking…. You just told me to keep at it. That I could put words on paper and make em count.

    OMFG… one of the BESTEST writers’ bloggers on the hole dam net told me I had the chops. Whoaaaa.
    It got me through. And things are doing good. Not Howie Hosanna good, but good enough for this potato head, awrite?

    The lessons, suggestions and so forth about the craft showed me what I hadda do.

    Lookit—I got some buds here online that sell zillions I call ‘em buds b/c when I email ‘em, they respond. I’m not name dropping, so fuggedabout that. Let me put it this way—they could buy me for a pet.

    Every one of them have posted at one time or another about not having chops.

    I think…(yeah, able to do that in spite of the PC Low Carb ingestion) that doubt is something that makes one a real writer. It ain’t the contract, it ain’t the ‘NY Times Best Seller’ list. It ain’t the Mover And Shaker’ from Amazon.

    It’s the giving a damn enough about this crazy craft and thinking you’re not good enough.

    Wanting to get there.

    Wanting to be good enough. Not by the accolades or hitting the lottery with a ga-jillion dollar advance. Or selling a ba-zillion eBooks on the Zon. But by just sayin’…
    Just sayin’ to yourself when you type ‘The End’… that ‘Hey, that was some good shit!’

    ‘Sooner or later, you just gotta say WTF’. I love that line. WTF… my shit’s pretty cool.

    So’s yours. Just from this blog… so is yours Karen.
    Just sayin’.

    …. Now… what ya gonna whistle, doll?


    1. Hi Desmond, nice to have you back. Congrats on your success! :-)


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