Everyone I know has gone through a questing phase in early adulthood. During my questing phase, one of my neighbors introduced me to two wonderful books. Creative Visualization, by Shakti Gawain and Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins. Each book provided a different, but similar way to realize one’s goals and dreams. The Gawain book by visualizing yourself and your surroundings as you wanted them to be. The Robbins book by acting as if. Both were enormously helpful in freeing my inner dreamer. They didn’t necessarily make my dreams come true. Most likely, that was my fault. Especially in the case of the Robbins book. I remember one segment where a couple was convinced they were going to win the lottery, so they began acting ‘as if.’ They bought the toys, moved to the desired house and, guess what, they hit the lottery. Now, I don’t have the courage for that. But I did have the courage to look forward in my future and see it the way I wanted it to be, and take the hard steps to work toward the goals I set. That meant if I wanted to write, I had to find the time to do it. And I had to put, in the early days, pen to paper. Now it’s fingers to keyboard. Writing meant missing out on some social events, and staying up way too late. Hum. I still stay up way too late to write. Maybe I better go back to the drawing board on that one! Even though I have not yet realized my dream of writing full time, I can see the path and I know how to get there.
Seeing what you want and figuring out how to accomplish it are keystones of both books. You have to have a clear picture. No fuzz or static. The ability to ‘see’ what I want has come in very handy in my writing. If I were to meet Hayden Kent or Catherine Swope strolling down the street, I would instantly recognize them. They are real to me. Their facial features, stride, and tics all as familiar as my own. I also know that when Hayden looks out her back window, she sees a rock pathway surrounded by tropical plants and a huge mango tree with a surrounding concrete bench. Down at the end of her yard are a riot of bougainvillea. If she goes into her house and walks through the living room to the hall, her bedroom is the second door on the left. Her office is the first door on the right. I know there is a door between the entrance to the hall and Hayden’s bedroom. I haven’t opened that up yet. I know that Catherine Swope’s bedroom door has a deep gash where a bullet tore past her boyfriend’s head and lodged in the doorframe. I know that when Catherine is stressed, she pulls on her sneakers and runs through the streets of her town. And I know the houses she passes are pastel stucco, some Spanish Mission style, other’s 1950s ranch. I can see her streets, and the Royal Poinciana trees that shade them. I know where she is at all times.
Did these characters appear to me in dreams? Did their settings arise full-blown from a vision? No. they grew on their own, but by seeing them and their settings as if they were real, by creatively visualizing them, I bring them to life, for me, and hopefully my readers.
What about you? Have you created yourself how you want to be? Whom do you emulate? What drives your dreams?