Creative Visualization

Studies have shown that creative visualization can be a powerful tool for some people, especially those involved in sports when the technique is used to train muscles even while at rest.  Quite by accident, I had a brush with it.  I had a golf date scheduled for the next day, and I suppose I went to bed with the activity on my mind.  Whatever the cause, I dreamed of playing golf.  In fact, it seemed like I played golf all night.  But I didn’t just play golf.  I excelled at it.  Over and over in my dreams, I made perfect shots.  The next day, I played better than I ever had in my life.  I still didn’t make par, but I played extremely well for me.  After that, I tried to dream of golf on nights before game days.  Try as I might, I couldn’t make it happen again.  My game returned to normal quickly.

One day, the film The Secret was recommended to me by a friend.  I watched it, purely out of curiosity.  One of the featured stories caught my attention.  A man put a picture of his dream home on a bulletin board.  Years later, when he had become successful, he realized the dream home he’d visualized for so long was the one he now lived in.

His story reminded me of my golf game, but more importantly, it prompted me to do something with my manuscripts, two languishing in unpublished land and the third unfinished.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with a small publisher to publish my first book.  Before my book came out, the publisher filed for bankruptcy.  It took a year to get my rights back.  Was I doomed to remain unpublished?  Maybe, but I wouldn’t go down without a fight.

I grabbed a copy of RT Book Reviews Magazine and found three books whose covers looked like they could have been mine.  I cut them out, and with the help of a little computer magic, replaced the titles and the author’s names with my own.  I glued them to a strip of paper and taped them to my bathroom mirror where I would look at them day and night.  I looked at them for so long, I began to think of them as mine.  So much so that when I worked the Literacy Book Signing at the RWA National Conference, I opened a box and let out a squeal.  The box contained my book, except it wasn’t; it was the cover I claimed as mine.  Still, it was a thrill for a couple of seconds.

I started researching publishers again.  Soon, I felt like I had found a good fit for both of my manuscripts.  I sent The Timestone Key to Lyrical Press and His Hotness to The Wild Rose Press.  It wasn’t long until I received an email from Lyrical.  They wanted to offer a contract.  Three weeks later, The Wild Rose Press accepted His Hotness.

A year later I signed with an agent and the year after that Harlequin Superromance bought Out of the Depths.  The Summer Place followed and February 1, 2014 is the release day for Moonlight in Paris–and I’ve signed a multibook contract for four more Superromances over the next two years.

The day I mailed the first Harlequin contract back, I took the now-faded strip of paper off of my mirror and put it away.  It had done its job.  It kept me believing in my dream until it became my reality.

So, how about you?  Have you ever tried creative visualization to reach a goal?  If so, did it work for you?