Our guest blogger tells us why all aspiring novelists need a vision board.
Vision boards might seem like an unusual resource for writers. When you’re dealing primarily with words, how will an otherwise haphazard collection of images help you out?
A vision board can be valuable for writers, with benefits that can help aspiring novelists achieve their dreams. Read on to learn how.
Ideate for your next novel with visual aids
When you’re searching for the perfect idea for your next novel, things can get tricky. With so much written work out in the ether already, striking gold and finding a great idea that hasn’t been done before is a gargantuan task.
Visuals are beneficial for free-associating ideas. That same principle can help you make connections between disparate thoughts and come up with a premise for your next project.
The key to this is to find images that resonate with you. Perhaps it’s a beautiful person you saw in a magazine or a powerful photograph of a Vietnamese vista that conjured up a scene inside your head.
On the vision board, these images might look discordant. But take time to consider them, letting the synapses fire, and fill in these perceived gaps. With time, you’ll find an idea arises, fully-formed in your mind.
Plot your narrative in a brain-friendly way
Every good novelist has a plot outline somewhere that they refer back to when they’re planning and writing their book. It might be a sheaf of rough notes, or it might be a meticulously planned timeline.
Whatever form it takes, the chances are high that it’s almost entirely written down — no, or few, photographs or images are included.
While these methods have their pros, a less word-oriented approach is required for visual thinkers. As a novelist, words are your tool, but a picture (or, in this case, a vision board) speaks a thousand words.
Creating a vision board for your novel’s plot lets you take a step back and ‘see’ your narrative in your mind’s eye. Rather than having to follow your plot timeline word-by-word, you get a visual overview of it.
This lets you plan your plot easily in your mind, letting you free-associate between ideas and find new paths to take your narrative down. You can quickly and easily traverse your plot’s timeline.
As a result, you can spot potential plot holes (and overcome them) with speed by letting your mind naturally fill in the blanks. While this won’t work for everyone, it’s a route well worth considering if you find yourself hitting a wall.
Take time away from words and immerse yourself in visuals
Writing a novel is famously a solitary job. Chained to your desk, tapping away on your keyboard for hours every day, only to cut half of what you wrote anyway — it can feel like a Sisyphean task.
Taking time out of writing gives your brain (and your hands) time to breathe. Rather than jumping from the frying pan into the fire and reading a book or writing something else, immerse yourself in a vision board.
Creating a vision board is simple, personal, and creative — as a result, it’s enormously therapeutic. You trawl through images you like, using your hands to create a collage, and you end up with something beautiful.
Even if you choose not to use your vision board, the process of creating one takes your mind off your writing and into a meditative state. It gives you some much-needed relief away from the keyboard, leaving you feeling recharged upon your return.
Find motivation and visualise your writing success
Vision boards are also great for visualising your career success, specifically in this case as a writer.
- Collect some photographs of your favourite authors — Stephen King, Zadie Smith, Helen Garner, whoever — and paste them onto your vision board.
- Find some images of your favourite novels and include them in there as well.
- You could even select some of your favourite lines from books — it’s up to you.
Including these images on your vision board helps remind you why you want to be a novelist in the first place.
While vision boards are often associated with Oprah Winfrey and New Age spiritualism, they can actually be hugely beneficial for novelists. Buoyed by the lessons above, go out and craft your own vision board and see your novel take shape today.
by Hollie Jones. Hollie Jones is an expert lifestyle blogger who lives for writing. Hollie’s drive, passion and background come from the arts and media sectors. She’s worked with some of the biggest and most responsible brands in the world, making her ideally positioned to offer lifestyle support and advice. You can read her latest blog posts on Hollie and the Ivy, where she shares tips and advice about her passions while having a lot of fun along the way.
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