My first exposure to vision boards was through the television show Happy Endings and I have to admit, my reaction was much like Max’s.
Really? A collage of pictures could change my destiny? While it might make good fodder for a TV sitcom, it sounds a bit like hokum to me.
Then I read Martha Beck’s article on making vision boards at Oprah.com. Sorry. If you expected me to say I converted and believe a vision board will fulfill all my life’s goals and dreams you’ll have to deal with disappointment. Even Ms. Beck admits she’s made vision boards that bombed.
You expected a flip side, didn’t you?
One woman’s hokum can be another’s exercise in creativity. The one thing that rang true for me more than anything in Beck’s article was this quote:
“Virtually everything humans use, do, or make exists because someone thought it up. Sparking your incredibly powerful creative faculty is the reason you make a vision board. The board itself doesn’t impact reality; what changes your life is the process of creating the images—combinations of objects and events that will stick in your subconscious mind and steer your choices toward making the vision real.”
Now, using a vision board as a way to unleash inner creativity? I can get behind that. So I started making a list of ways I could use vision boards to help me be more creative in my writing.
1. The atmosphere board. Let’s say you want to capture a creepy and sinister mood in a short story you are writing. Fill a vision board with images and words that trigger those feelings for you.
2. The Word Nerd board. This board is precisely what it sounds like, a collage of words you find interesting, beautiful, or in some way remarkable at any given moment. Allow the juxtaposition of meanings to suggest story ideas, or provide you with fresh ways to express yourself. These boards can be poetic in and of themselves.
3. Character/setting board: I’m a visual person. When I write about characters or settings, it helps if I have a clear image (mental or otherwise) to steer by. Separate collages of faces and places may be just the inspiration you need to give birth to that next character, or send them on a trip around the world.
4. The “Where I’m Going” board: Admittedly, this board is similar to a traditional vision board. Assemble it using pictures that represent your writing goals: The cover of a magazine you want to write for. A celebrity you wish to interview, a brochure for a conference you want to attend. Unlike a traditional vision board, place this one where it can serve as a constant reminder to move toward your long term goals.
5. The quotation board: Most writers I know can’t pass up a good quote. We like them for their nuggets of humor, insight, wisdom, and inspiration. Why not create a board full of them and use them as jumping off points for essays, stories, poems and more?
What about you? Where do you stand on vision boards? Helpful or hokum?