Imagining Your Finished Book—A Three-Part Brainstorming Exercise

Winter can be a bluesy or beneficial time for writers--depends how much you enjoy holing up with your words and ideas.  Sometimes it helps me to think from the end, visualize where I am heading, especially when the days are gray and my writing feels just as blah.

Many pro writers use this "thinking from the end" idea--novelist Roxanna Robinson mentioned how she writes to an image when she begins a book.  But you can also use it like creative visualization, thinking about the real end of your writing journey, when your book is finished!

So, with the blog taking a holiday break next week, here's a three-part creative visualization exercise to keep you brainstorming your book's completion.  I hope it'll feed your writing right into the New Year. 

Three-Step Creative Visualization Exercise for Book Writers Who Want to Actually Finish Their Books

Step 1: 

Grab some paper and a pen or your laptop.  Set the kitchen timer for 20 minutes.   

Write, without editing or censoring anything, about how you might feel when your book is finished. When it is published.

Let the writing go wherever it goes--even if it brings up concerns and fears about this, which it might, as well as excitement.   

Step 2: 

Find a piece of 8-1/2 inch x 11 inch white paper that you can fold in half lengthwise to resemble a blank book cover.   Find a published book you love to use as a guide. 

Grab 4-5 magazines and a pair of scissors, some glue or tape, and a big sheet of paper.  Set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes and scan the magazines for the perfect image for the front of your book when it is published.  You can also do this online with images from google or 

Print the image or cut it out and paste it to the front of your book cover. 

You know those blurbs that are on the cover of books after they are published?  In your wildest dreams, who do you want to write a blurb for your book?  Which reviewers from The New York Times, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly might read your book and rave about it?  Draft some stellar reviews for your book and paste them to the back cover.

Some of my students go all out with this exercise, adding a bar code and back cover copy and even a spine.  Get into it--it's really fun (and actually helps you feel like you might someday finish!).

Step 3: 

Design your publication party. 

When books are published, someone (friends, relatives, book clubs, even the publisher sometimes) will throw you a publication party.  What would you just love to have at yours?  Music, food, literary stars, speeches, thousands of books sold?  Set your kitchen timer for 20 minutes and list all your wishes.

Put these up where you can see them, in your writing room or on your desktop or phone.  They are big boosts for doldrum days.

Mary Carroll Moore teaches the popular Grub Street workshop, “How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book,” on February 7 and will be offering it at the 2015 Muse and the Marketplace.

*Image from Wikipedia via Pubic Domain

grubstreet Image
About the Author

Mary Carroll Moore’s thirteen published books include the award-winning Your Book Starts Here: Create, Craft and Sell Your First Novel, Memoir or Nonfiction Book, based on her How to Plan, Write and Develop a Book writing workshops; PEN/Faulkner nominated novel Qualities of Light (Bella Books); How to Master Change in Your Life: Sixty-seven Ways to Handle Life’s Toughest Moments (Eckankar Books); Cholesterol Cures (Rodale Press), and the award-winning Healthy Cooking (Ortho Publications). A former nationally syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times, over 300 of Mary’s essays, short stories, articles, and poetry have appeared in literary journals, magazines, and newspapers around the U.S. and have won awards with the McKnight Awards for Creative Prose, Glimmer Train Press, the Loft Mentor Series, and other writing competitions. She teaches creative writing in New York, Boston, New Hampshire, and Minnesota and writes a weekly blog for book writers at

See other articles by Mary Carroll Moore
by Mary Carroll Moore


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