When I was in the middle of aggressive cancer treatment, I mentioned to a strong Christian friend that I was using visualisation to help me deal with the treatment. She went berserk. She accused me of turning my back on the Lord, and of dabbling in the occult. What hogwash.

Please Note: Many people are of the impression that “visualisation” is a New Age practice. While the New Agers may well practice a distorted form of visualisation, that doesn’t make it belong to them. My dictionary describes visualisation in this way: A mental image that is similar to a visual perception. And it explains a visual perception as an image that arises from the eyes, or an image in the visual system.

So if you think of your mother, and picture her in your mind, you are creating a visual image—in other words, you are visualising her.

If you’ve been going along with the previous few posts, you have already done a fair amount of visualisation. And if you’ve completed each exercise along the way, you now have a good story ready to write. The art of visualisation is to see a person, image or situation clearly and in detail. This applies to both fiction and non-fiction. One of the ways to improve your ability in this area is to pay attention to the people and places around you in the real world.

As a writer. the better you can see (visualise) a scene in your mind, the better you can describe it. This is possibly one of the most important skills, and yet little is said of it, especially in Christian circles. Is this because we are scared of getting into the occult? There is absolutely no tie-in with visualisation as I am describing it, to the occult. This isn’t a spiritual exercise. It is purely practical.

You want your reader to see the scene you’re describing, don’t you? That’s visualisation. And in order to write it well, you need to experience it yourself. If you’re writing about the Tokyo, the best way would be to go there. If you’re not able to do that, the next best thing is to read all you can about the city. Find out about the smells, the sounds, the atmosphere. Immerse yourself in the city in your mind, then when you start to write, you sound as if you have been there.

As we learn to visualse, first by “seeing” things with our “mind’s eye”,, we will begin to use out other senses as well. This doesn’t only apply to fiction. Non-fiction also requires the ability to transport the reader into your world: the world you want them to understand.

As writers, we have to be able to see, with our eyes and with our imaginations, the people and places we are trying to portray to our readers. We need to use our eyes as if they were digital cameras, and our minds as if they were the memory card on which we save the memories. Then as we spend time examining the memories, we find we can imagine their texture, their smell, or the sounds they make. And that, my friend is visualisation.

About Shirley

Shirley Corder is an author who writes to inspire and encourage. She has a passion for helping other writers and cancer survivors.