Vision boards are a powerful tool for novelists, storytellers, and anyone who wants to change their life. It’s the perfect visual reminder of what you’re working towards, and it can help motivate you when you hit a snag or just need to brainstorm ideas.
Creating a vision board might seem daunting at first, but if you follow these guidelines, vision boards should be easy to create and update on a regular basis.
What is a vision board?
A vision board is a collage of images that represent a goal you’re working towards.
You can make them on paper, cardboard, corkboard, or as a digital image. Digital copies are becoming more and more popular as people spend more time on their computers, tablets, phones, or other devices.
A vision board for novelists might include pictures of characters, settings, plot elements, atmosphere (e.g. foggy London streets for a story about Jack the Ripper), or publication goals, e.g. a deadline, or a mockup of the book cover in a store display.
You do not have to be an artist to make a vision board. You can find free templates online that make vision board creation easy. I’ll show you how later in this article.
Think of a vision board like a map to the future you want. If you’re going to achieve your goals, you need to know what they are. These boards represent and help you visualize your goals, dreams, and wishes to help you create the life you imagine.
How can your dreams come true if you don’t have any idea what they are?
How can vision boards help you write a novel?
Vision boards work because they help you focus on your goal. When you see the images every day, they’ll start to influence your thoughts and actions in a positive way. Concrete, visible goals are possible goals, and when they look possible, they’re easier to achieve.
If you have a visual cue for your novel, that makes you think about it throughout the day, you’ll be more motivated to work on it when you finally have free time.
Do vision boards really work?
A vision board is not a substitute for writing a novel, editing it, or submitting it to publishers. Making one might feel like busywork or nitpicking to avoid actually writing. How can a board of pictures help in achieving…anything?
The truth is that a vision board is not enough by itself. You can’t just paste up pictures and magically have all your dreams come true. But vision boards are one tool, among many, that can help you see the future you want, or the reality you want, and focus on how to create it.
Which should I make: a physical or a digital vision board?
The real answer: whatever is easiest and most rewarding for you. If you like making collages with scissors and glue, then by all means, make a physical vision board for your office, bedroom, closet door, or other private space.
If you have a bullet journal, a sketchbook, or a notebook you use to outline your novel, you could make a vision board there.
If you have a cork board in your bedroom or office, you can use it to create a vision board with images from magazines, newspapers, or printouts. magnetic whiteboard and attach images for your vision board with magnets. Seriously, whatever works.
If you don’t have the time or materials to do this, I’d recommend using a program like Canva to create a vision board for your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
When creating vision boards, the important thing is to focus on what you want by creating a picture of the future you desire.
An okay-looking vision board that actually exists will always beat the perfect vision board that you never actually got around to making.
The same is true of novels, by the way.
Where can I find vision board ideas?
If you want to find some ideas for vision boarding in a hurry, do a Google image search (images.google.com) of “vision board” or “mood board.”
You can also do a Pinterest search for “vision board” and look at some of the results.
How do I make a digital vision board?
As long as you have an internet connection and an email address, you can start vision boarding today without any trouble.
Here’s the complete list of ingredients. To make a vision board, you will need:
- A computer, smartphone, or tablet with an internet connection
- A Canva.com account, plus the Canva app if you’re using your phone or tablet.
- An email address or Facebook account.
Now let’s get started.
How do I find the right template?
Log in to your Canva.com account, or create one for free using your email or Facebook login. Your home screen should look like this:
Once you’ve logged in, find the search bar at the very top of the screen and type in “wallpaper.” This will fill the screen with suggestions. The top two will usually be “desktop wallpaper” and “phone wallpaper.”
For this example, let’s use Desktop Wallpaper. You can create a wallpaper, of any size, on either the desktop website or the app.
You can look for a themed template, e.g. “spring desktop wallpapers” or “pink desktop wallpapers.”
Or, you can do what we’re going to do in this tutorial, and click on the top left result, which says “Create a blank Desktop Wallpaper.”
That will take you to this screen:
Note: if you know the dimensions for your desktop or phone screen, you can enter it by choosing “Create a design” (upper right-hand corner) and selecting “Custom size” at the bottom.
How do I edit my template?
Now it’s time to make your vision board. For this example, we’re going to use a simple grid. It’s easy and fun to make.
To find a grid, go to the “elements” tab (just underneath templates) and scroll all the way to the bottom, to “Grids.” There will be a few examples, but if you click on “more” it will pull up all the grids available.
To try out a grid, click and drag it to your blank document. The grid will automatically resize to fit your canvas. if it doesn’t look good, just click delete or backspace and try another grid.
How do I add an image to my vision board?
Now it’s time to add some images. If you have Canva Free, your image selection will be fairly limited, so you may want to find some free photos on sites like Pexels or Unsplash.
You can also make AI-genereated images on apps like Wombo Dream, Neuralblender, and Artbreeder to make images of your characters or settings in your book.
Once you’ve downloaded your image, or chosen photos from your own computer or phone, you can upload them by dragging and dropping them from your computer into Canva.
If you’re using the Canva phone app, you’ll have to upload from your phone’s gallery.
You may want to include your book cover if you have one already. If you like to design your own book covers, feel free to do so here.
For this tutorial, I created a basic image board based on one of my works in progress. It reflects the dreamlike aesthetic of the novel, even if it doesn’t show the characters or the plot. When I’m satisfied with it, I download it using the button in the upper right-hand corner.
Here’s the final product.
These images connect to my story outline, the draft I’m working on, and the dreams I have about this novel. It’s another visual cue to remind me of this work on a daily basis, even when I can’t work on it right now.
I like to save these images to a folder for Desktop Backgrounds. That makes it easier to find them later.
How do I make this my desktop/phone background?
To start, look up “change desktop background” and then your operating system, e.g. Mac OS X, Windows 11, Chromebook, etc. Same if you’re on a phone.
If you’ve been working on a desktop and want to save an image as your phone background, email the picture to yourself and download it on your phone. There’s usually an easy way to change your background from the photo gallery.
What’s the secret to creating a vision board that works?
The key to creating a vision for your novel is to be clear about its purpose. Is it supposed to reflect the mood of the story, the plot, the journey of the main character, or something broader about the story’s theme?
You may not know that when you first make your board. That’s okay. Honestly, that’s to be expected.
Just keep tweaking and working, creating more vision boards, until you create one that feels right to you.
The best vision boards will inspire you and keep you motivated to work towards a clear goal: in this case, writing and publishing a novel.
How often should I update my vision board?
I like to update my vision boards when I hit a writing milestone. For example, if I finish a chapter, finish a draft, hit a word count, or even just revise my outline.
However, I don’t make a new vision board every single time I hit a milestone. It’s more about when the mood strikes, and when it feels like a good time.
If this is too woolly for you, try creating a new vision board at the start of every month. A collage of new photos and words will help you get those creative juices flowing and help you stay focused on the novel you want to write.
Today's guest post was written by Athena Miles, and was originally published on her website. It occurs here courtesy of the author.