I'm happy to offer the floor today to Devon Monk, author of Magic in the Blood, Magic to the Bone, and the forthcoming Magic in the Shadows, who has some lovely thoughts to share regarding creating an Affirmation Board for your writing (or your health goals...or other career goals...or any other creative endeavor!)
My friend was tired of New Years resolutions. She wanted to start the year on a better foot. Make a better plan than just listing things she would ultimately fail at.
So she told me about the affirmation board. The affirmation board is easy. You sit down, flip through magazines while thinking about what you want to do, and better yet, what you want to happen to you in the year ahead. Then you hang that board someplace where you will see it every day–on your closet, by your TV, some place where the images and words can sink into your subconscious and remind you of your hopes and wishes and affirmations.
It sounded to me like the perfect way to make a year’s worth of writing goals.
The first time I sat down to make an affirmation board was on New Year’s eve. I bought some poster board, glue and scissors, and asked friends and family to bring their old magazines to the party.
In a house full of people, at a party I was hosting, I began flipping through magazines. I knew some of my goals: I wanted to write more and sell more. I wanted balance between all aspects of my life. I wanted health for myself, friends and family. But how would I make that into a visual inspiration?
An amazing thing happened. Halfway into the first magazine, the sounds of the party faded away. I forgot I was sitting in a room full of people. My conscious mind took the backseat, while my subconscious sorted through photos and words–and wondered, do I want that next year? Is that my hope and dream? Is that a writing goal? Is that the career I’m reaching for?
Certain words and pictures jumped out. Other concepts were difficult to find. No surprise there. Dreams are hard to spot in a recycled magazine. But trust me, dreams are in there. I cut out everything that spoke to me. More words and pictures than I could fit on a board. When it came time to assemble the board, I slid photos and words around, feeling like an artistic criminal, making a ransom note for my future.
The board turned out pretty nice. It was pleasant to look at–very important since it was going to be on my wall. I posted it above my writing desk so when I was at the computer, my eyes would wander to the board, and my subconscious would be reminded of my goals and dreams.
What was on that board? A quote: “Step of the cliff expecting to fly, not to fall.” An image: a woman in silhouette standing at the top of a mountain, the sun rising to greet her with “success” at her feet. A goal: “Editor’s pick.” A hope: “healthy children.”
But there was danger lurking in those words, too. I foolishly clipped out this quote: “See how much one woman can do” thinking it would be inspirational. It would help me see how much writing I could get done in a year, right? Wrong. Instead, I had one of the craziest, busiest years of my life! There wasn’t a last minute emergency that didn’t fall into my lap, there wasn’t a disaster that didn’t need me to handle it, there wasn’t a moment’s rest. It was crazy! Finding out just what one woman could do nearly killed me.
And it reminded me that words, even just clipped words on cardboard, or electronic pixels on a screen, or ink on a page, have power.
I’m a little more choosy about what I put on my board now. I still strive for things that will encourage me to reach my writing goals. If you look in the left hand corner of my board from last year, you’ll see a goal of mine that I haven’t reached yet. But I’m working on it.
This year, for the first time in ten years, I didn’t make a board. I miss it. I miss that beginning-of-the-year, fresh-start-hopefulness that helps me keep my chin up during the tough times, the rejections, the failures. The affirmation board is more than a concrete reminder of what I want to accomplish. It’s a visual encouragement to keep hoping and keep dreaming. And of course, to keep working toward the career I want.
And thanks to Chloe’s invitation to blog here, I think I’m going to make a middle of the year affirmation board. Because even half a year without a my writing dreams and goals is far too long.
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Alright, I have an appointment with some scissors and a glue stick. Thanks for joining us (and inspiring us), Devon!