August 15, 2023
Note From Rochelle
When I published Level Up, I did a smart thing and picked up MockUp Shots—a tool that puts my book in fun shots: on someone’s desk, in their hands, and more. It also does memes, gifs, video trailers, and tons of other cool things, all with your book right in center stage. Simply use this link in the next few weeks, and you can get lifetime access to MockupShots for only $97. (Normally $207.)
And, I have a new class coming up soon. In How to Choose the Best Book Topic for Your Audience we’ll talk about how to find your ideal readers, how to choose a book topic that engages readers, and how to test market your book idea. If you’re struggling to figure out whether your book idea is good enough or even sellable, this webinar is for you. Sign up here: https://writenowcoach.com/workshops/
Today’s tip is an excerpt from my book, Level Up. It will help you imagine your best possible future.
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Vision Your Epic Wins
Be careful what you wish for, because you might not be dreaming big enough.
– Dar Williams
I often work with clients who are overwhelmed by multiple ideas and possibilities for writing projects. They flit between projects, wondering which one will be the sure thing or worrying about how to proceed. They come to me, hoping that I have the ability to tell their fortunes, predicting which path will lead to gold. Instead, I invite them to dream big, imagining where they’d like to be in 1, 5, or 10 years. This vision will unearth their dreams, help them set goals, and create a road map.
In this quest, you will vision your epic wins. You’ll write about what your life will look like when you have accomplished your goals. Psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky discovered that writing about one’s best possible future self improved moods, health, and ability to set and achieve goals. When you vision your best possible future self, you’ll feel like you have peeked through a crystal ball. Once you’ve seen what you hope the future could look like, you’ll be able to plan how to get there.
This quest invites you to consider your future life:
Imagine yourself [INSERT FUTURE TIME FRAME HERE] Everything has gone as well as it possibly could. You have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing your goals. What does your life look like?
When you do the quest, write in the present tense as if everything you’ve envisioned has happened. We’d normally write about the future like this, “I hope by the end of the year to have finished writing my nonfiction book on garden snakes.” For this quest, you’ll write about your goals in this way: “I finished a draft of my nonfiction book. I am celebrating with my writing group at my favorite taco place.” Use as much sensory detail as possible. After stating that you finished the draft, describe how it felt. Record the details of your celebration. How do the tacos taste?
In the original study, participants wrote about what their lives would be like in five years. Because we’re working on plotting a writing life in the here and now, it can be helpful to create a vision that imagines what might happen in the next month, quarter, or year.
Take your game playbook to a coffee shop or park and spend 10-20 minutes doing this exercise. Do the quest four times, in four different places. Each time, imagine a different scenario for your life. Play with wild and crazy possibilities. Or imagine the same scenario in four different ways, trying different writing forms like a list or a personal artist statement.
As you do the quest, pay attention to how you feel. If you feel especially energized and engaged during parts of your writing, note what you are writing about. What plans excite you? If any plans leave you feeling drained, jot that down, too.
When you’ve finished writing all four of your visions, review what you wrote and look for themes.
- What are the 3-5 consistent themes that show up in your vision?
- What activities or plans consistently energized you?
- What goals appeared out of this practice?
- What creative projects showed up?
- What steps do you need to take to achieve your vision?
Game Play Tips
- Think about creative ways you can do this quest: write an acceptance speech for a coveted award, a profile of yourself for a television news show, or an interview for a popular magazine.
- In the original study, participants did this exercise four times. I found that the first time I tried this quest, I was so tethered to the present that I could not envision the future. The second time around, my tether was looser. Each try brought bigger dreams. Do the quest at least twice—and leave time between tries.
- It’s important to do this questaway from home. It’s hard to see the seeds for your beautiful life when you are staring at piles of dirty dishes or the stacks of unpaid bills. One of the most persistent villains, the inner critic, will use this information to try to derail you: How can you accomplish anything when you can’t even clean your house? Defeat that villain by getting out of the house. Go to the art museum, a coffee shop, or library and write there. You will be able to dream bigger dreams.
For the Win
The minute you scribble your vision in your journal, you’ve entered the winner’s circle. Just articulating your vision increases positive emotions like hope and optimism. But writing about your best possible life will also make you more likely to participate in activities and connect with people who are part of your vision. Once you’ve written about your heart’s desires, you can take the first small steps toward your goals.