At the beginning of a book, or other long writing project, it's helpful to create a vision board or some other visual "touchstone" to keep you inspired, focused, and moving forward on your writing journey.
Your visual touchstone can be:
- A vision board of your book to put on your wall, or on your computer as a desktop background or screen saver. It can include your book cover,"NY Times bestseller," or any other words or images that excite you about your book.
- A mind movie: A vision board turned into a video, inspiring thoughts and images moving to the beat of an uplifting song. You could even record a voice-over talking about how you'll feel when the book is completed, and how it's going to affect the people who read it.
- Your book cover: If you don't have your book's official cover, you can create a rough draft (it doesn't have to be perfect) that has meaning for you. Besides using the book cover on your computer as your desktop image or screen saver, you can print out the cover and put it on your refrigerator or near your computer. You can also put your book cover on a 3-ring binder, paste it on a book-sized diary, or create a physical mock-up of your book in some other way.
- Your book's back cover: Put this where you can see it, or combine it with the book cover described above to create your "book." Be sure to add a couple of testimonial "blurbs" to the back cover copy saying how wonderful your book is.
- Your book's table of contents: Print your TOC in a nice sized font, so you can easily read the chapter headings. Put it where you'll see it often.
- A picture of the ideal reader you want to educate, inspire, or entertain through your writing. It can be someone you know, or a clear representation of your ideal reader (age, gender, etc.).
- A picture of something you've promised to buy yourself when you finish writing your book. There's nothing wrong with a little incentive. Writing a book is a big commitment, and completing it is a HUGE accomplishment. Celebrate the many little wins along the way, and when you've finished the book, do something big and wonderful for yourself.
- Or some other image that has meaning for you. It could be an author you admire and want to emulate, or someone (or something) that inspires you to do your best.
I've made a mock-up of the book, "Brainstorming Your Blog," as an example, I've not only created a book cover, I've put it on the front of a 3-ring binder, created chapter dividers, and suggest printing out the book's pages as you complete them.
The reason for doing this is four-fold:
- To encourage you to finish each of the individual chapters or sections that you've outlined.
- To help you feel more connected to the book, and, therefore, more committed to going all the way to a completed manuscript.
- To get a visual and tactile sense of accomplishment as the completed pages of the book grow.
- To help with the editing, as there is something about having a piece of paper to edit that helps you see things you might not catch online (I don't know why this is true, but it is).
Do you use any kind of visual touchstone? How has it worked for you?