Sunday, June 21, 2009

Advice to Writers: Vision Board

Over at Sunday Scribblings the topic is “vision.” If you aren’t familiar with Sunday Scribblings, you should check it out (I’ve been away for far too long). Great folks, great thoughts. :-)

So, thinking back to Eva Gordon’s recent interview as the first guest of our Dog Days of Summer BlogTour, I recalled her comment about having a focus or vision board for her next novel sitting behind her laptop in the workspace post.

I’ve done vision boards. They can be potent things.

Vision boards are more free-flowing than a sheet of short term and long-term goals. Or a WIIFM sheet. They’re more visually rich, and maybe, because part of the idea of a vision board is to have you focus on it or even drift mentally to it, maybe that’s why they are more effective (at least for me). I prefer to rest my eyes on something that verges on pretty rather than something black and white, sharp and linear. That additional time and restful/peaceful thought you put into the vision board simply by zoning out in front of it (or better yet, meditating on it) pays off. Seriously.

Wanna’ make one? Yay! Let’s go!

Materials:
  • Background paper (or posterboard) in a symbolic color you recognize (too big is clunky and harder to find space for)
  • Old magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  1. Take a few minutes to think of what you really want to work on (we’ll focus on writing here). Maybe your goal is to just complete that novel that’s inside you and clawing to come out. Great! What if your novel is a romance or a thriller and it’s important you feel as passionate about its completion as possible? Perhaps a strong red for your background will work (red being associated with the heart, passion and love). Want to make more money through your writing, try a rich ;-) green (if you’re in the US where we relate $ to “greenbacks”). If you want to find peace with your writing, perhaps a calm blue will help as the background or paper foundation for you.
  2. Okay, with scissors and glue nearby, grab a magazine.
  3. Think about your goal as you slowly flip through the magazine’s pages, skimming the words with your eyes. Keep your mind open.
  4. When a title, phrase, picture or word jumps out at you, pause and think about it. Does it in some way represent your goal and what you’ll do when you succeed with it? Then cut it out and paste it on your board. Example—going back to being passionate about the completion of your novel, some phrases might be anything from “Finishing School” (because you’ll need discipline—like school—to finish it) to “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun” (to help remind you of how enjoyable writing can be and how fast you’ll fly through it).
  5. While you hold your overall goal in your mind, think about some of the smaller things you’ll need to line up to help you get to the biggee. They may actually pop up for you in the course of flipping through the magazines—you’ll be surprised at what jumps out at you if you’re in the right frame of mind.
  6. Continue to fill your background paper until you feel it’s complete (I know, I know, it’s all based on feelings—sorry, measure and weigh if you need to instead ;-).
  7. Put a date on it.
  8. Now hang it in a place you’ll see it often. If it’s tiny, hang it on your bathroom mirror so you see it when you wash up or brush your teeth (unless you’re the type that steams up a bathroom with long showers...steam + paper = mush ;-). Consider putting it near your computer or at your bedside. Really it can be any place you can peer at it and take a few minutes to ponder.
  9. Give your vision or focus board at least 10 minutes of attention each day. I suggest a few in the morning to put you in the right frame of mind to greet Serendipity (or Opportunity) and recognize it and then a few minutes before bed so your sleeping mind can play with it, too.
  10. About once a week go back and consider how well it's working--you may need to feed it with a little blind faith in the beginning to really start to see obvious progress. Give it "the benefit of the doubt" in that first week or two if you need to. Sometimes we need to make an internal adjustment to recognize and welcome good things to us first.
  11. Take another couple minutes each day (just a couple) to hook into the great feeling of accomplishment or pride you're going to have when you've hit your goal. Hold onto that feeling. It helps Serendipity catch your scent. ;-)
I want to hear about your vision boards and how they're working for you. What are your goals?
~Saoirse

18 comments:

Eva Gordon said...

Yes, visions boards are as important as an outline of your manuscript. I like to have story collage parties with my critique partners. All the materials you mention and then drinks and eats.

Saoirse Redgrave said...

Absolutely. :-)

Doing it as a group event lets more folks with more magazines show up and mix in. It also lets more eyes help you find your path (they'll surprise us, sometimes). It also opens things up for discussion and clarification.

Our last two vision boards were done in a group setting, too. :-)Great minds thinkin' alike. :D

Thanks for stopping back in, Eva!
~Saoirse

Jeanette said...

Vision boards can be a powerful tool. In addition to a commonly known vision board (posterboard), do you feel having a vision board in the palm of your hands can be an effective tool as well? We spend a good amount time with the hurry up and wait game (i.e. waiting at the Doctor's office). You could use that valuable time mediating on your mobile vision board. What are your thoughts on this?
Please note, I did develop an App for this but I am not trying to push just want your opinion on the concept. Thanks!

quin browne said...

i have just one.

we shall see how it goes.

Dee Martin said...

Something I've never tried but sounds interesting.

Carry On Tuesday #5 and SS #168

Saoirse Redgrave said...

Jeanette,

I don't have a hand-held version (sounds neat) but carry what others would call a "worry stone" (I think of it as a touchstone) that I meditate on off-and-on throughout the day. It's actually pietersite (which links directly into my novels--it was in a totally serendipitous way at first).

Quin,

Keep the faith--vision and focus boards can take us to unexpected places if we keep our eyes open to the opportunities they'll help lead us through on our path.

Dee,

It's definitely one of those things to try. Regardless of what you believe (religiously) the vision board or focus board or prayer board (or whatever anyone calls it ;-) helps "keep our eyes on the prize."

Thanks for stopping in, everybody!
~Saoirse

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