Vision Boards for Creative Writing

I’m sure you’ve heard of vision boards before, where you take pictures and quotes that embody your vision (whether it’s for your work life, personal life, or just life in general) and you collage everything onto a board that keeps you motivated towards your goals. I’ve worked with similar vision boards, but I’ve learned that they can actually be very useful for creative writing as well. Here’s how I use Pinterest to make my own creative writing vision boards:

Overall Inspiration/Aesthetic

Pinterest is known for its aesthetic because it’s a very visual platform, and this is perfect for when you’re trying to immerse yourself in your story’s world so that you can get writing. What I like to do is have a board and then separate sections for what I’m trying to achieve, as I outline in the following bullet points. Here’s an example screenshot of the vision board I created for my NaNoWriMo project this year that includes each section, and a look at the aesthetic section I included:

Whenever I work on this project throughout NaNoWriMo, I’ll have this board open on my computer or phone so that I can reference the overall aesthetic I’m trying to achieve in my writing. Which brings us to the next point…

Sensory Details

I cannot stress enough how invaluable vision boards have been for my writing when I’m world-building because it reminds and helps me include sensory details. For example, a lot of my world for the above work takes place in the mountains. To help me better set the scene, I’ve included setting pictures that spark details for me that I can then use in my writing: colors, scents, sounds, flora and fauna, temperature, textures, etc. Find pictures that remind you of these things and put them all next to each other to create scenery that you can describe. Plus, it will help you keep multiple locations from blurring together in your mind.

Character Design

This is one of the most fun sections of the board in my opinion, but it can also be the hardest to cultivate. After all, your characters are your own and it’s very unlikely that you’ll find an accurate representation of your entire character in a single picture (unless you work with an artist to create one). The way I approach it, is to find pictures that have elements of your characters and let them blend together into an aesthetic. For example, a lot of my story involves riding horses, and so my character design section includes people on horseback. Look for things like hairstyles and clothing, but also try to find people in dynamic poses if you can. Referencing these pictures will help your characters come alive on the page, and make your readers see them as vividly as you do.

Research Notes

This one is most important from a world-building perspective rather than a purely aesthetic one. My research section on this year’s vision board includes common knowledge that I believe my characters will possess (even if I don’t currently possess it), information that I will need them to learn via plot progression, and some references for smaller details that I can pepper in to really sell my scenes. It’s sort of a ‘catch all’ section where I dump everything I want to make sure I don’t forget. When it comes time to write, I’ll pull up the board and review some of the information as a refresher before diving in. Doing this gives the characters a level of authority with their information, and makes their innate knowledge more believable vs me as an author who learned about this a few days ago.

The Short Version

Vision boards can elevate your writing by giving you, the author, rich details to incorporate and a solid structure upon which you can hang your story. Your entire world doesn’t have to exist only in your head, and forcing it to do so can (in my opinion) ultimately hurt your writing. My advice is to use a platform like Pinterest or even just a notebook and organize sensory details into a format that you can reference later. It’s an easy way to immerse yourself in your story’s world and bring your readers along for the ride. Plus it’s just fun to be surrounded by so much inspiration all at the same time.

What do you think? Will you give vision boards a try? What are your thoughts on Pinterest? What kinds of sensory details do you like to include in your work? Let me know in the comments!


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