This is the collage I've made that represents the novel I'm writing. The collage is a visual representation of my imagination. It's a way for me to fuel my creativity, help my characters come alive for me. Using magazines and photos, I have tacked on my board various images that represent people, places and things in my novel.
Chapter 1 begins in the upper left corner and then winds it's way right to left, like a river navigating through a valley until it ends at the calendar.
The calendar reminds me of how much time has passed since I last worked on my novel. Too much time has passed. I have 75,000 words written and severals chapters more to go before I begin to revise, revise, revise. Then find a literary agent, but I don't like to think that far or I will get discouraged and never write another word.
You might be able to see the photo of the man on the right next to my April calender. He's one of my main characters and his name is Paul. I found his photo out of magazine in a doctor's waiting room office. In reality, he owns a restaurant in Spain. In my novel, I meet him for a romantic dinner of tapas in a restaurant in Colorado. His cabin is below him, to his left. I got that photo from a real estate flyer in Nederland, Colorado when I visited there recently. My novel is set in Colorado, a place I know well as I used to live there, and so I have lots of images of the Rocky Mountain state in my collage, pictures of Denver and of water tumbling into icy creeks. I also have a burlesque dancer in my novel, so I have a photo of a beautiful dark-haired woman in a satin robe. I think I got the picture of my dancer from an Oprah Magazine.
You might notice that wand next to Paul's cabin. It's a real wand, not a photo. My friend Jo Anna gave it to me for my birthday some years ago to make wishes upon. The pink and purple wand reminds me to keep magic in my story, in my life. Dreams can come true.
Sometimes, when I haven't worked on my novel a long time, I feel as if the people I've cut out and pasted to the board are angry with me. "We are waiting for you to tell our story! What the hell have you been doing? Surfing the Internet reading your horoscope? Posting on Facebook? Emailing friends? Getting a pedicure? Watching HBO?" Guilty of all of the above.
I bought the two boards at WalMart. (It still is hard to admit publicly I shop there.) They were cheap (which is why I shop at Walmart, but you knew that.) And then all I needed were some thumb tacks and my imagination. You could do the same with anything creative you want to do in your life, whether lose weight, or become a chef, or travel to a distant land. Seeing helps believing.
When I walk into my office each morning at home I glance at my novel vision board. Someday, and it better be soon as I ain't getting any younger, I will finish my novel. Then I will remove all those images, of cabins, of gypsies, of waterfalls, and begin creating a new vision for my next novel. It will be hard to let go, but that's the only way to let new things into our lives. What would you like to create next in your life?