Monday, December 7, 2009

Envisioning The Coming Year

I don’t know about you guys, but the holidays are heating up for us around here. Carols are playing, Salvation Army bells are ringing, kids are getting wound up and goofy. Yep, Christmas is just around the corner…

Mary and I would love to tell you all to just take a month off all your promotional and marketing duties, as well as shopping and cleaning and cooking and parenting and just recharge. But of course, we can’t in good conscience.

Plus your families would kill us.

What we can do, however, is share an idea for an activity that you may find spiritually and creatively uplifting, which may in turn help you recharge. An added bonus If you have kids, they can play along.

Here at SVP we try to give you lots of tools to help promote your books, get comfortable with the amount of promotion you can reasonably do, and gently stretch your goals to encompass the life you want to inhabit. A lot of this information is outward focused to meet the challenges of a promoting author. Today however, we’re going to talk about a different kind of activity—a highly inward-facing one: collages and vision boards.

Now before you roll your eyes and think you left all that back in grade school, let me gently point out that collages and vision boards are a highly effective tool in helping focus your creative energies—either in a personal direction or in a project-related one.

There are a couple of different ways to approach a vision board. You can create one that focuses on:

Personal growth aspirations for the coming year
Professional goals
Creative goals
Spiritual areas you’d like to work on.
Qualities you’d like to more fully embrace or invite into your life
Whatever whispers to you, that’s what you should use for the focus of the board.

But perhaps you’re more comfortable working on something to do with your work-in-progress, and that’s fine, too. Some story collages capture the overall mood and feel of the book.

They can also be representative of certain scenes or parts of the book, maybe even parts you're having a hard time nailing down. When you work on a collage, you let your subconscious take over and then, watch out!

You will likely find yourself drawn to elements that have no real place in your life or your story, but will instead invoke some hidden theme or motif. Embrace that.

Supplies Needed:

~ Assortment of magazines and old books
~ poster board or foam core board or even just a big thick piece of construction paper
~ glue sticks, double stick tape, scissors, stamps, anything that your imagination grabs hold of
~ A couple of free hours (probably the hardest to locate!)

But don't just take our word on the benefits of collages. No lesser authority than Carl Jung has claimed that our best work originates in play.

The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, which belongs also to the child, and as such it appears to be inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. – Carl Jung

We’d LOVE to see some of the vision boards and collages you create! If you get motivated over the next few weeks (even after the holidays) please do send us a jpeg of your collage/vision board and we’ll feature them here on the blog. (We can absolutely share them anonymously!) And while sharing your project is definitely not required, we might even have a prize drawing for all of those who participate. If you'd like to share, send your jpeg to us here at Shrinking Violets, and we'll do the rest.

So open up your mind and let your imagination GO . . .


kathrynjankowski said...

Love the quote from Jung!

This is just the nudge I need to get my board together. Thanks for sharing yours.

Melodye said...

Thanks for sharing your creative process AND those beautiful examples.

I am a big fan of creative journaling, which seems like it would fit hand-in-glove with what you're suggesting. I wrote two blog posts about it (with photos!) here:

and here:

Would you mind if I quoted some of this entry & perhaps posted an image or two? I'd link back to your blog, of course...

Irene Latham said...

I just love y'all. I've often done collages -- for no particular reason, I thought -- but now I know it's called a Vision Board!!! I love when I find out something I've thought odd about myself actually turns out to be somehow healthy and justified. Because the Shrinking Violets said so. :) Now where's that glue stick...

Elizabeth Loupas said...

Hello, Violets!

I use beautiful little French bulletin boards (cream-colored padded silk with crossed satin ribbons) to make collages. That way they're living and changeable and it's very easy to tuck a new image among my favorites.

Also a note to do with last week's book promotion idea. I have Robin's cool FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX featured on my blog today (Tuesday), with a note that purchasers can write to her for a personalized bookplate. I think that is such a great idea and as the month goes on I'll include as many Violets as I can.

Robin L said...

Wow, I love that so many of you do this, too!

Kathryn, so glad to be of nudging service. :-)

Melodye, absolutely feel free to quote and link! And I loved your blog entries, especially the link to the how-to part, since my art skills are a little feeble.

Irene, we LOVE being that validating force in your life! If you have any collages you'd be willing to let us post a picture of, do let us know. Like I said, it can totally be anonymous.

Elizabeth, that is a BRILLIANT idea, using criss-cross ribbon set up for a blog. No messy glue or ruined pictures. Now I'll have to try that, too.

And thank you SO MUCH for including Nathaniel Fludd in your Christmas giving guide on your blog! Very very kind of you, and how generous to be including as many violets as possible. You ROCK!

Sherrie Petersen said...

What a cool idea! My kids are home sick today. Maybe after they're done throwing up we can do one of these. On second thought, we might just stick with reading for today!

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Mary Hershey said...

Robin, this is such great timing for this! Thanks for putting this one together and for sharing your gorgeous work here.

Hope you all will consider using the winter/hiberation mode for taking this inner trek. It is a fascinating journey!

Would love-LOVE-love to see some of your collages and boards. Pretty please?


Melodye said...

Robin ~ Thanks for granting me permission! I posted that entry here:

Susan Taylor Brown said...

Love seeing your beautiful examples. Thank you so much for sharing them. I've been having a conversation with Melodye over her blog about this and thought I should post over here, too, in case it appealed to someone else. I'm gathering materials for my vision boards now too but since I don't really have a good spot to place one I've decided to make mini boards for each segment of my life, my writing, my heath, etc, And I'm going to do them in a vision journal so I can look through each night before bed and first thing in the morning.

Will send you some pictures when I get some done.

Carol said...

Violets - thanks for the inspiration to clearly see goals and ideas for the new year. I was looking just for this very thing - beyond a list on paper.

Susan Taylor Brown said...

I finally got my writing vision board done here:

R.L. LaFevers said...

Thanks so much for sharing, Susan. It is AWESOME!

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