I have a love-hate relationship with the self-help industry.
Mostly, I love it. Send me an email detailing the latest way to develop more insight and I'll click on your link any day. Show me an ad promoting some kind of "You Can Achieve More With Your Life" workshop and I'll read your long sales letter. I love that rah-rah, you-can-do-it-if-only-you-believe-in-yourself stuff, I do. And I have the books to prove it, lining my office walls.
On the other hand, much of it is just plain silly. Rehashed Law of Attraction, same old, been-there-done-that crap. I look at it and think, why bother? I've gone down that route so many times before, said the affirmations, made the vision boards, visualized until the cows came home, all with mixed results.
But hope springs eternal. And I'm always in the market for ways to enhance my writing and my productivity, as well as for techniques to recommend to others. So I continue to click the links, read the sales letters and watch the videos.
Suck-er, I hear you saying. And you are correct. That I am.
Occasionally, some of this time-wasting research results in useful finds. Recently, for some reason, I recalled the concept of creating your day from the movie What the Bleep. Now why this thought suddenly occurred to me, I have no idea, but occur it did. And so I spent some time looking into it, and experimenting with it, and I'm now convinced its actually a vital tool for writers.
In the movie, a man named Dr. Joe Dispenza talks about visualizing his day. Then there's an interview with Ramtha, the entity that J.Z. Knight channels (um, channeling is one of those New Age things I'm still not sure about). Both of these people, particularly Ramtha, make it seem like creating your day is this mysterious thing that you have to buy videos of people talking in lame hoarse voices to master.
But I'm here to tell you that's not the case. Its a simple idea, people, and its simple to put into place. The results are of geometric proportions, way out of line for the effort you'll put in. It goes back to that most basic of New Age principles, visualizing. All you really have to do is visualize how you want your day to go. First thing when you wake up, or last thing before you go to bed at night, do a little run-through of what you want to happen during the day. This will, of course, include copious amounts of writing.
It may help you to sit down with paper, pen and calendar beforehand, in order to sort some things out. Appointments need to be included, for example, and things like taking a shower and eating lunch. But here's the cool thing: if you habitually dawdle in the shower and would like to be speedier in order to waste less time, you can imagine that happening. You can run through your endless to-do list and see yourself accomplishing everything on it.
Here's what I find: rarely does my day go exactly as I've visualized it. However, and this is what I find amazing, somehow I manage to get everything done that I imagined. Might not do it in the exact same order, but do it I do. Its like you've given your mind a directive and it can't help but follow it.
Now, on the days that I don't do this, I'll find myself unfocused and unproductive and halfway through the day I'll wonder what's going on and then I'll remember. I didn't take time to visualize my day.
Its especially useful for writers because you can visualize yourself blissfully engaged in writing. Scribbling down mad notes for your novel, or writing like the wind through the assignment you've been having trouble finishing. And then, by God, you do it.
Magic. Or, as my daughter used to say when she was just a wee tiny tidbit of a girl, magic with a hard g.
Now, if we could only come up with a less dopey name for this process.