Wednesday, March 23, 2005

See It

Visualization therapy, aka guided imagery, is a technique in which the power of positive thinking and personal desire combine to promote right-hemisphere brain activity. Which is fancy holistic terminology for what we called daydreaming or wishful thinking when I was a kid.

Writers are natural dream machines -- we couldn't write books if we didn't visualize all these nonexistent people, places and things -- but those visions are generally restricted to the creation of the work. When it comes to career planning and novel marketing -- the icky parts of the job -- the writer's imagination factory seems to instantly shut down.

Given the power of our dream machines? That's idiotic.

If you can figure out how to use non-existent science to colonize an alien-infested Mars, find Colonel Ketchup's killer among the gentry inhabiting a remote Devonshire mansion, marry a restless bachelor with a tragic past to an angsty widow with bill problems, or ride hungry dragons through spell-pulverizing witch storms, you can certainly create a marketing vision. No, it won't be as much fun, but it's only your future.

Speaking of the future, what do you want in it? Here are some of the things other writers have told me that they most desire, in no particular order:

Critical Acclaim
Travel to Exotic Locations
Hang out with friends at cons
Lifetime Writing Career
Having movies made from the book
NYT Bestseller List
To write great literature

If you're a writer, you've probably imagined a future in which you had some or all of the above things, just as you've imagined winning the lottery as you bought a lottery ticket. But while winning the lottery is pure chance, a writer's goals are not. You can have some, or possibly all, of the above list.

Today's marketing assignment is to decide what you want. Crank up the dream machine and make two lists: My Short Term Goals for what you want to accomplish with your writing career over the next year, and My Long Term Goals for what you want to accomplish with your writing career over the next ten years. Remember, you're dreaming, so we're not going to hold you to whatever you put on the list. You only have to see it.

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