15 Jul Visualise your book
When I was writing and re-writing my travel memoir Last Seen in Lhasa, the author Patrick French gave me some advice.
‘Go into a bookshop and visualise your book on the shelves. Which section would it be in? Which books would it be between? Imagine it there. Solid, real, finished.’
I’m a great believer in the power of positive thought. For sure, it can’t fix everything but it can change how you relate to something or somebody. It can empower you.
Over the years I’ve used the classic Creative Visualisation by Shakti Gawain. This is a book that started a movement. Her advice is to write affirmations about what you want in the present tense, with no negative words, and as if it is already true.
Along the lines of:
- My short stories are published in fan fiction magazines three times a year.
- A publisher loves my books and supports me and my successful career.
- I have a brilliant agent who understands who I am and champions my writing.
You tailor them to what you want in your life. Any part of your life, not just writing.
When I went into that bookshop on Marylebone High Street and imagined my Tibet book in between Nicholas Shakespeare’s In Tasmania and Colin Thubron’s Behind the Wall, I felt a bit shy. Silly, even. I didn’t bolt. I stood there and let myself imagine. I looked around at the other customers and imagined that they were there to buy my book. Then I went back home, wrote out more affirmations, did more drafts and kept believing it would happen.
I was reminded of this when I received an excited email from debut author, Jessica Talbot, whose first book Picaflor has just flown into the travel memoir section on Amazon.
Originally from New Zealand, Jessica followed life’s synchronous messages, ending up in Argentina. Her heartfelt story takes readers from rainy Melbourne through the jungles of Peru, the heights of Machu Picchu, ending in the crazy, lovable city of Buenos Aires where Jessica lives with her husband and young son.
Although a lover of words, Jessica doesn’t have a writing background. She makes up for it with lots of passion, even more determination and a big story to share.
I mentored her as she was developing her manuscript. I always looked forward to our Skype sessions, often unpredictable due to the dodgy Argentinian connection. She’d arrive with a cup of strong coffee and reams of paper. The book, like any other, went through several drafts and I was always impressed by how hard she worked to make her book a reality.
Jessica first tried the conventional publishing route, before deciding to self-publish in both print and e-format. A talented artist Fern Petrie painted the original oil painting that Jessica used on the cover. As Jessica writes, ‘I wanted the nest to represent the journey… and to express the idea that we can make a home wherever we find ourselves… Even though it’s an imperfect, slightly messy nest, it’s mine!’
Writing requires talent. It also requires courage – putting yourself out there, dealing with rejection or misapprehension. And getting something published requires tenacity and self-belief.
Congratulations, Jessica! I was thrilled to hear your news – and see the final product. Do check Picaflor out and spread the word.
And whatever creation you are dreaming up… Visualise it complete. Honest. It works.