Tools For Writers: Process Visualization
I'm almost finished reading Uncertainty, by Jonathan Fields. The sub-title is: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance. Make no mistake about it, this book is about creativity. I'm gleaning some good stuff from it, and one reason I love it is that Fields mentions stuff I've been doing (and writing about) for years and gives them actual names. That same propensity for naming and categorizing is actually probably my main dislike of the book, too, just because I tend to be a loosey-goosey type when it comes to creativity. But that's a minor quibble.
I want to share a couple of these techniques with you, one today, and one on Monday.
Today's technique is something Fields calls process visualization.
Fields says that traditional visualization is not good for the early stages of a creative project because that's when there's a lot of uncertainty, and attempting to pull your brain into line at this point does more harm than good. He calls this kind of traditional visualization outcome stimulation. Its when you create a specific picture of an outcome in your brain and visualize it often. Key word here is outcome.
But when you switch it up and focus on process visualization, crazy good things can happen, and this apparently has science to back it up. What you do is visualize yourself writing. (Or painting, or creating a business, whatever your creative idea is about.) So, if you want to get up early and work on your Nanowrimo novel, you see yourself happily opening your eyes to the alarm, getting out of bed, grabbing your coffee, and getting right to work. The words flow easily and well for you and you complete your quota and get on with your day.
I've actually done this off and on for years. I remember reading about it in a book on writing (minus the fancy name) back when I struggled to have courage to put words on paper. I tried it with success and have returned to it whenever I've had a difficult time motivating myself. So I urge you to put it in your toolbox and consider pulling it out when need be.
A note about visualization in general: as you might have noticed, I offer a free Ebook on creating a vision board for your book. (It is yours for the taking, all you have to do is fill out the form to the right.) So you might be wondering how that jibes with the whole visualization thing.
The kind of visualizing Fields says he doesn't like is the type where you envision the finished project. I think there's a place for that, definitely, and it thinking about having your novel done and in the bookstores can spur you on to get it done. What I advocate in my Ebook, however, is using a vision board as a way to gather and coalesce ideas and images that will help you throughout the process of writing the book. It is an process of opening up, not closing down.
So, tell me. Do you ever use process visualization in your work? With what results?
PS. Sorry for the lack of a photo. I've been battling a headache all week and I just don't have it in me to go look for one. Hey, here's an idea–you can visualize your own image to accompany the post!