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  • Writer's pictureNina Lane

Vision Boards - Part 1

Welcome to our four-part series on creativity and vision boards!

Vision or "mood" boards are a longstanding popular practice among creative people, including photographers, stylists, and interior designers, but what exactly is a vision board, how does it work, and why should you think about giving one a try?

In essence, a vision board is either a physical or digital collage of words and pictures that represent your goals, dreams, and hopes. If you create one for your life, it can serve as a way to identify goals and as a visual motivator to strive for the things you want. Authors often create vision boards for their books to inspire them as they write and to evoke the atmosphere they want the reader to feel. The vision board helps set the tone of the book.

A collage of words and images

We'll discuss physical vision boards later, so for now let's talk about digital boards, which can be easier and less time-consuming to maintain and switch up.

Pinterest is the main site for digital vision board creation, and the Instagram hashtag #moodboard has over a million posts.

I've made Pinterest boards for many of my books, and the Secret Thief board above is one that I shared with the photographer who created the book's cover. I included images that evoked the tone of the book, the setting, and the intensity and heat of the couple's relationship.

The best part about any vision board is that there are no rules. Do you want to create a board for the book you're about to start? Find ideal images of your characters to inspire descriptions. Include pictures of the setting -- beaches, cities, small towns -- and locations where your characters will be interacting. Does your heroine have a pet? Look for the perfect photo to add to your board, along with anything that relates to your characters' professions, lifestyle, personalities, relationships, and habits.

By keeping your vision board in a place where you see it regularly, like close to your computer if it's physical or in an open tab if it's digital, you're subconsciously motivated to stay focused on your goals and to re-enter the world of your books.

Instead of using Pinterest, contemporary romance author Eliza Boyd creates a digital vision board on Canva for both her books and her life. She then sets the board as her desktop photo so she sees it every time she sits at her computer.

The board includes pictures of herself and her husband, inspirational images and words like "strong," and a "1 million" reminder of the number of words she intends to write this year.

"It helps me focus on what’s important," Eliza says. "By looking at those images, I remember why I’m doing what I’m doing and it helps me stay true to the things I want, including writing my books."

While both digital and physical vision boards can be a private creation meant only for you, using a digital platform can also help serve as a powerful marketing tool and create online communities.

"I need my Pinterest!" says author Cat Porter. "As I'm outlining or as ideas hit, I'm constantly pinning into a locked board -- setting, casting inspirations, objects. I pin a lot, I weed out a lot too as ideas solidify... Also helpful, I change the wallpapers on my desktop, phone, and tablet to a pic of my book hero. So all these things work together to keep me 'in tune' with my book's themes and characters as I write."

Pinterest is also the medium of choice for author Carmen Jenner, whose readers are especially invested in the visual atmosphere she creates with her boards: "I use Pinterest for all of mine. I can’t write a book without a board or playlist, but if I’m not ready for others to see what I’m working on, I make them secret. My readers always enjoy the unveiling too. If I forget to make it public, they definitely let me know." Her Pinterest boards receive between 14--18K visitors every month.

For these authors, the creation of digital vision boards clearly adds a whole other dimension to their books and also gives their readers a powerful visual to accompany their reading experience.

Join us for part two of our Vision Board series, where we'll talk to more authors about the creation of their digital and physical boards!

Do you create vision or mood boards for your life and work? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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