How keeping a vision board helped me as a writer – Nicole Meier
By Nicole Meier
I am a visual person keen on color, shapes, and textures. As a writer, I like to use images to inspire my work. It was actually the discovery of a single photo that sparked the idea for my new novel, The House of Bradbury. ♥
My interest was piqued when I came across a newspaper article featuring the Los Angeles home of a literary great. I could tell from the photo of the charming yellow house, where Ray Bradbury resided for half a century, that the interior was full of stories. Like my protagonist, I wanted nothing more than to get inside and discover its secrets.
As my research continued and my novel unfolded, I found myself snatching up clippings and posting them at my desk. I pored over everything I could find to help me visualize my setting: snapshots, real estate flyers, and even videos. Once I felt I had a firm grasp on the house, I moved on to find images best depicting my characters. Feeling inspired, I began pasting up logos, magazine covers, and even pictures of storefronts where I hoped my book would one day be sold. At the end, I looked up and realized I’d created a display representing what I wanted the whole book to become. I had created a vision board.
Since then, I start each new project with this tool that helps me to clarify and keep focus on my goals. And I have to say, it’s been quite astounding to look back and see how much has come to fruition in some form or another.
For example, before the manuscript was complete, my board featured palm trees against an orange, sunlit sky. Fast forward to the day my cover artist showed me her first renderings and there were palm trees on an orange background! It was a collaborative effort to reach that point, and I’m sure I told her I’d prefer a beachy, L.A. theme, but the palm trees and background color came as a surprise. I’d like to think it was half putting my idea to paper, and half putting my wishes into the universe.
Not sold? I’ll give you another example. At the top of my vision board was a headshot of Reese Witherspoon. I’m a fan and like to fantasize she’d do with my book what she did for Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. As of today, I don’t have a blockbuster movie deal with Witherspoon, but when my publicist put out an article featuring my book and I tweeted it to the actress, she promptly replied and retweeted it to her fans. Pretty cool.
I’m not saying every single thing on my board will be realized. I may not become best friends with Oprah or see my profile in Vanity Fair. But what my vision board has done for me is bring a collection of dreams and desires to the forefront. The house images helped to center my writing on a key setting. And the visuals I kept on creative direction drove me to secure promotional reach for my book. That’s why whether my boards are craft related, marketing focused, or just plain fun, I will continue to keep up this practice.
For anyone wondering what the rules are for starting your own vision board, my answer is there are no rules. No one can tell you what you can or can’t dream. Your future is dependent on hard work, dedication, and, in my opinion, a little creative vision.
Nicole Meier lives in Oregon with her husband and children who kindly put up with her crazy spurts of creativity and writerly determination. Her first book The House of Bradbury is out now.