I started off this year, feeling really excited (and I still feel that way). One of the things about this year that got me in good spirits was knowing I wanted to publish a lot this year, and having a really clear picture of the books I wanted out into the world.
Last weekend, my son participated in a “Mini Comic-Con,” as they called it, in Greenbelt, MD. He’d taken a class in comic book making, and his teacher held a little event at the library where all the kids got to sit at a table and handout their comics and sign autographs. (Very cute.) What was really awesome was the nameplate they created for each kid (in the photograph). I thought it was clever, inspiring, and captured the epitome of what I wanted to talk about: visualization.
Wait! Don’t run off. I know when people start talking about vision boards and visualization techniques, it can seem kinda hokey. But, give me a second to explain. It’s not bad and it doesn’t have to be hokey.
The truth of the matter, is, all the greats in their field visualize things. From Jim Carrey writing himself a 10 million dollar check to visualize his success to coaching great Phil Jackson to tennis sensation Serena Williams, visualization is a core part of their strategy. When you read books about people who’ve accomplished great things, visualization tends to be a big part of their routine. Athletes often think about their game strategy or see themselves executing moves in their brains. Business people think ahead to where they see their products going. And I think it’s an important move.
A lot of people in the writing field are introverts. They’re not naturally big talkers, and may even be on the modest side (which also becomes an issue when trying to sell books, but that’s best for another discussion). And I think people can look at visualization and bold assertions of self-confidence as being conceited. I remember seeing an interview with Serena Williams when she was 11. The interviewer asked Serena, if she were a tennis player who she’d like to be like. She thought for a second, and then said, “Well, I’d like other people to be like me.” (The interview is on YouTube; the 1:22 mark is where she gets the question.)
This kind of answer can totally sound like hubris, but I think it speaks to her ability to see her own vision of the future she wanted, to see it and truly believe it. Yes, there is such a thing as humility. Many people have it. But many more practice false humility, where they say the things that are deemed appropriate, even though they have bigger dreams and bigger desires. That false humility comes from a place of fear (which I talked about on Friday). Fear that we don’t have the action to back up our plans. Or sometimes fear that speaking the plans aloud will jinx them. Don’t let fear that something won’t happen make you doubt yourself.
Speaking plans and desires won’t jinx them. Speaking the plans aloud, to yourself, to those closest to you, can really help you visualize what it is you want, and as you do that visualization, your brain can help figure out how to get you there.
So, self-publishers out there, I challenge you to take a moment to visualize what you want this year with your books. Where do you want to be on Dec. 31? Then, write it down, or draw a picture of it. That’s your way to get this year going in the right direction. And don’t just do this once and forget it. Look at your goals each day, so you know how to get yourself there.
Alright folks. That’s it for today. Be bold. Be brave. Be beautiful.