Archive for November, 2012

The Power of Visioning

November 22, 2012

After I’d written and rewritten my novel, A Certain Slant of Light (the first one that sold,) I felt like I’d become a good enough writer to break in, but it still felt as if there was a vast canyon between me and getting published. As I researched agents and sent out queries, I also did inner-work.

Every day (sometimes more than once a day) I would picture the barrier between me and getting published as a physical wall and every day I’d knock that wall down in my mind. Sometimes I pictured myself hacking at it with an axe until it caved in; sometimes I pictured myself riding up to it on a horse and having the horse kick a hole in the wall with its hooves; sometimes I’d pictured my friends joining me to help attack the wall; sometimes I even pictured myself standing alone at the foot of the wall and singing a great note that vibrated through the stone and mortar, crumbling it like the walls of Jericho brought down by Joshua’s trumpet blast.

When that wall came down I always pictured myself joyfully leaping to the other side and sometimes even doing a victory dance. Eventually I began to picture my friends and relatives climbing over the rubble that had once been the wall and celebrating with me. And then I began seeing myself taking the broken pieces of wall and making beautiful flowerbed borders and fountains and sculptures out of them in the garden on the winning side of the wall.

I can’t prove that these meditations helped, but I never gave up picturing that wall coming down until I sold my first book and now I’m a full-time novelist. Visualizing what I want to manifest into reality has become a common practice in my life.

Another visioning exercise that felt powerful was the tipping of my proverbial hat to the writers who came before me. Each day for a minute or two I’d look at the novels in my bookcases and give a nod of thanks to each author as I said aloud, “What God has done for others God does now for me and more.” (This is paraphrased from Florence Scovel Shinn’s book, The Game of Life and How to Play It.) Each of those writers had been in my shoes at some point. And someday soon I’d be in theirs. Picturing myself following in those authors’ footsteps was deeply inspiring and comforting to me.

And the visioning method can be used for other things, not just writing. When my avenues to adopting a child overseas shut down, I felt stumped. I sat with my sister and a friend of ours and pictured what seemed almost impossible — me adopting a newborn. The foreign adoptions were all babies five to eighteen months old. It seemed unlikely, but I envisioned myself holding a baby who was only a few days old. I said to the universe, “I don’t know how it will happen, but I know that I will adopt a newborn baby and I feel joyful and grateful.” Within a few weeks I found the domestic adoption agency through which I adopted my son, taking custody of him when he was only ten days old.

The visioning process can be used on anything you want to summon. (But only positive visions – never picture something negative no matter how annoying your Ex/crazy boss/loud neighbor can be. What is sent out comes back to the sender, so nothing but good should be pictured here.) You might want to overcome writers block, or finish a current manuscript by Halloween, or get a 50K advance on the novel your agent is pitching next month at a Book Fair. See it in your mind with as much detail as possible. Create a scene instead of just the concept. Don’t just see yourself getting the news of the book deal — see yourself jumping with joy, hearing the exact words your agent uses to break the news to you over the phone, feel the joy of success run through your body. Who will you call first to share the moment? Will you go out to eat to celebrate or throw a party? It’s your fantasy – create it exactly the way you want it to be.

If you want to vision up a miracle, but meditating is not your cup of tea, writing a statement and repeating it might work better. Thoughts become things and thoughts are further empowered by the voice. (We’re writers – we have VOICE.) If you want to sign with the perfect agent, write it down: “I have the perfect literary agent.” Write it out ten times. Or a hundred. Now read them out aloud. All the repeats. Don’t use auto-pilot. Hear the words and mean them as you speak them. The universe will vibrate with your intention and what you have declared will be attracted to you.

I’ve used repeated statements for everything from having my one-on-one pitches at conference go great and getting the apartment I wanted, to finding lost objects and even winning an award. As with all these kinds of techniques, I can’t prove they work, but they feel good and they seem to have a positive effect.

If you want to envision something, but you’re not sure what the perfect version of it looks like, take a tip from my father. When he was told by his doctor that one of his ankles would not sustain his continued tennis habit, he asked for an X-ray of a healthy ankle. He studied the picture of that good ankle as he meditated on healing and, just as he knew it would, his ankle healed enough so that he played tennis (even winning trophies) for years after that.

Yeah, I know. It’s kind of Woo Woo. Try the visioning exercise anyway, even if it sounds silly. And when, to your surprise, it works, I won’t say I told you so. You don’t even have to tell me that it worked for you. (But please do – I’d love that.)

If the visioning process doesn’t seem to be working for you at first, don’t give up. Sometimes it takes longer than others. Relax and try it again tomorrow.

And, by the way, Happy Thanksgiving and good luck to those racing to finish the drafts of their novels by December first. Nanowrimo folk are a brave-hearted clan!


November Give-Away

November 2, 2012

Sorry that there was no October Give-Away, but the one for November is an Advanced Reader Copy of my upcoming novel, Under the Light (in bookstores May 2013), a companion to A Certain Slant of Light. To enter the drawing, send me your name and physical address via the “Email Laura Whitcomb” link on my website before December first.

I hope you all had splendid Halloween adventures. Here is my son, Binny, as the Dread Pirate Robinson.

Great good luck to all you brave writers participating in Nanowrimo! More power to ya!!!