I was one of those children who know early on what they want to be “when they grow up.”
“I’m going to be a writer,” I told my parents. “I’m going to write books,” I said to my teacher. When they stopped laughing, I took my secret dream and buried it. But I did know who I was and who I was going to be, so finally I started writing despite the expectation of ridicule. I was 35.
Each time I wrote, I agonized over what to say. I fretted over the quality of my work, and felt inadequate even before the letter of rejection arrived. Six months or more would pass between one submitted piece and the next, while I tried to overcome the embarrassment and shame I felt at each rejection.
Ten years later, I make my living as a writer. I write something every day, and have a 75 percent acceptance rate for my queries, short stories and articles. I publish two ezines for other writers and have multiple books on food writing and writing for sale.
What happened in those ten years to change my writing process? Many things, but it wasn’t until recently that I started creating and selling my writing regularly. What did I do?
I visualized my writing success.
It sounds simple, but it’s hard to put into practice when you are filled with self-doubt. My first breakthrough came after reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. One step to personal fulfillment she suggests is writing “morning pages.” Start each day by sitting down with a notebook and pen. Write three pages of whatever comes out. Write without planning, editing or thinking. These three garbled pages are my data dump. I write about my many worries: the high price of gas, my weight, my cat’s limp, rejection letters, the snow storm on its way, losing my job, obnoxious people.
Once the three pages are done, I let go of the mundane and clear the way for the extraordinary to flow from my mind and my finger tips.
But that was only a start for me. It did clear away my insecurities but only temporarily. Throughout the day those self-doubts would sneak back. As I lay in bed each night I was haunted by my mistakes, my sloppy syntax, the very idea that I thought I could submit a short story to a writing contest, and why couldn’t I produce like the other writers I knew did.
I had to find something that would fill my mind and heart after the crud was written out each morning. I changed my evening ritual of worrying and self-recrimination to one of visualization and raising my “vibration.” I’ve had this explained to me two ways: we are all just energy and we can operate at a low vibration and negative energy, or at a high vibration and positive energy. Alternatively, we can raise our vibration and connect with God, the Source, the Divine or the Creator – choose your own name for it. The Creator is the place from where all creativity comes. I learned to tap into that feeling of joy and began to gratefully accept my gifts and talents.
Each evening before I fall asleep, I close my eyes and let myself be successful, productive and filled with joy. As I feel the joy, I experience a lightness and feel a buzzing around me. I let the feeling flow over me until I am operating at this level of vibration, awash in positive energy and feelings. My specific visualization changes based on the projects I’m working on. One night I might visualize myself walking into my office, smiling and energetic. I am thrilled at the ideas that flow from my center, and start researching markets to sell these articles to. I see myself writing winning query letters and manuscripts. I think about spending my paychecks on something special: flowers to plant, new hiking shoes for me and my husband, a donation to the food pantry.
After a few practice sessions, any writer can benefit from this tool by:
– Finding a quiet place.
– Thinking of the happiest moment in your life and allowing yourself to relive the happiness you felt at that time.
– Imagining yourself getting lighter. One way to do this is to visualize yourself in an elevator. Get in on the first floor, then move up, floor by floor until you notice a “buzzing” feeling.
– Once there, start the visualizations of your writing success. Remember the good, happy feeling. This is the feeling you want to continue throughout the day as you turn your visualizations into reality.
The next step is to create that positive feeling by talking to yourself about where you intend to be, not just tomorrow morning, but in a year from now: “I’m so happy that my new novel is being published this week. I thought the interview I gave last week was productive. My second novel is nearly finished.” Despite the fact that none of this has yet manifested, keep talking to yourself (or journaling) about it as if it is happening now. Truly see yourself in these positions – signing books, giving interviews on CNN, and preparing a second manuscript for your editor.
Keep practicing, knowing that you will find yourself writing and selling more. You will become more creative and better able to overcome the obstacles you’ve placed between you and your writing success. When you start to head down the “I’m a loser” road, stop yourself and redirect your feelings by beginning a new visualization about how wonderful your work is, and how many people have benefited from your writing.
For great, easy to understand teaching on positive feeling and raising vibrations, read “Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting,” by Lynn Grabhorn.
Day by day, I am manifesting my dream. Since starting my visualization practice, I have begun writing every day. In fact, I often squeeze in extra writing throughout the day, enjoying the happiness that flows in and out of me as I write.
Pam White’s work has been published widely on the internet and in ByLine, Writer’s Digest, Low Carb Energy, Home Cooking, Back Home, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, Without a Clue, and Third Degree. Her website (www.food-writing.
© 2006 Pamela White