Something a lot of people probably don’t know about me is that I’m a low-key paper hoarder. I don’t mean important documents or receipts, I mean craft paper. I have a random collection of patterned and textured papers and gift wrap. I save any kind of pretty paper that I think might work well in a craft. I do this mostly because I like to make my own cards for birthdays and holidays, but sometimes I endeavor in a different craft project and find that all these papers I’ve saved really come in handy. As an example, for Christmas last year I made my mom a scrapbook. I don’t have a lot of scrapbooking supplies, but I have a lot of random paper. I was able to use those resources at my disposal to make her scrapbook. I don’t think I ran out to the craft store once to get anything new, I made everything with all that paper I already had.
Over this last weekend my little paper collection came in handy again because I made a vision board. I’ve been thinking about making one for a few weeks, but I’ve been hesitant because I think they can be a little hokey. The best way to achieve goals and make the life you want is to have an action plan, but I couldn’t let the idea of making the vision board go. I figured I have the time and the supplies and the desire so I might as well do it.
I don’t know how interesting this is going to be for you, as the reader, but I’m invested in exploring this board and what it means to me. If you happen to take inspiration from it, I’m honored, but if not, then I invite you to stop reading at any time.
My vision board is a little different than others that I’ve seen in that I only used one magazine clipping. Most the vision boards I see online are pretty pictures from magazines, but the only magazines I had was a small stack of New Yorkers and they just aren’t cut out for vision board making. There aren’t many ads and there aren’t many pictures. I did take one cartoon from a New Yorker and I put the rest of my stack in the recycling. I may be a low-key paper hoarder, but I do know when it’s time to cut ties.
To start my vision board, I wrote out all the things that I wanted it to reflect:
This way I could keep it focused on the goals and dreams that really matter to me right now and not get sidetracked by simply picking pretty papers or cute stickers.
I then collected all the items that contributed to my goals and dreams and played around with different placements. In the end, I think I essentially broke it down into four quadrants and I'm going to take you on a tour of each one.
Whimsy and creativity. Inspiration for becoming a published author. Lovely words. Try new things. Art.
(Oh, in the interest of complete honesty, I also took that little stack of books by Judy Blume from the New Yorker. It's a little embarrassing how long I looked through those magazines before I finally realized I wasn't finding enough to warrant the search. Let this be your warning, if you make a vision board, don't use New Yorker magazines).
Anyway, for this quadrant, I chose to write out the names of two women that have really inspired me recently, Judy Blume and Amanda Palmer. I want to be a thoughtful and boundary pushing author like Judy Blume and I want to take action and be persistent about my passions like Amanda Palmer. (I’d also just love to adopt Amanda Palmer’s style and aura and way of being, but a vision board should be realistic).
I also included some images, like the panda unicorn, to reflect my desire to maintain whimsy and creativity in my life and in my work. I especially like the cartoon I clipped from the New Yorker because it reminds me to push against what’s standard and create what I want, even if it defies logic. I am a writer, after all. I can make whatever worlds I want. I may write primarily realistic fiction, but that doesn't mean I can't push boundaries there or play around with fantasy elements in other writing and work.
I included a little bit more than nature in this quadrant, like “fresh diet” “style” and “simple.” I also included a sticker that says “made from recycled paper” to remind me to be mindful of producing as minimal an amount of waste as I can. I think that these all tie back into nature pretty seamlessly, though style is a bit of an outlier. That would have made more sense in Quadrant 1, but oh well, it blended in nicely with the paper. Overall, this quadrant is a reminder to get outside and appreciate the beauty of nature. I find a lot of peace and stillness when I can do that. Plus, I’m super lucky in Colorado because there’s hardly ever a day that’s not nice enough to get outside for a walk, at least.
Love and family
One of the most important areas of my life to foster is relationships. I’m so blessed to have a loving and supportive family and a few (but damn good quality) friends and I feel pulled to pour my energy into those relationships as much as I can. I included the word “shine” at the bottom without much thought, but looking at it now I see it as a reminder of how wonderful fostering these relationships makes me feel.
As for Spanish, I used a bit of magnet so that I can play around with my Spanish magnetic poetry kit Unfortunately, the makers of this set didn’t do the most comprehensive job, so I can’t write very riveting sentences and it doesn't appear that they have every word in both its male and female variety, (which is why I have toda instead of todo. Just in case you noticed that - know that I know and it's bothering me greatly). But hey, I’m only learning the basics right now anyway.
I have a bit of an outlier with the butterfly wing encased in plastic. I wrote “ala de mariposa” on it, which means butterfly wing in Spanish, to tether it to this quadrant, but it also fits in with the nature or creativity quadrants. I’ve had this wing for several years now. It has stayed intact, even though I’ve never had it protected like I do now. The wing’s longevity and slight brokenness inspires me. To that end, it also kind of fits in with the “God” quadrant, which I’ll explore more in a moment.
Then there’s this other little outlier, my I am . . . board. This doesn’t really fit in with any of the categories I initially listed, but were I to give it a category now I’d call it “self-improvement” or “self-exploration.” To make it, I used another piece of magnet and glued a little cardboard frame around it. The magnet is so that I can interchange the word with my (English language) magnetic poetry kit often. I think it’s important for a vision board to have moving pieces because if you look at the same thing every day, eventually you stop seeing it. The placement of this works well in between my creativity quadrant and my relationships quadrant because I think those are the two elements of my life that influence who I am the most. I left the board blank for the pictures I took, but I have since put up the word “loving.” I’m looking forward to figuring out what word to put up next!
Nature and God
For a few years now I’ve been thinking more steadily and reflectively on death and dying, which has sparked a lot of existential and spiritual thinking. I want to return to a more consistent spiritual practice. I’m not sure yet how I’ll do that. I’ve been putting off going to church again, but that is ultimately something I’d like to do. I’d like to pray more. I’d like to give more. I'd like to be more mindful of peoples' brokenness and how it shapes them, and how worthy we can all be of forgiveness. I’d also like to have more conversations about God and the universe and what’s out there so I can better understand my own thoughts about it.
To make this quadrant, I used Velcro to attach a clothes pin so that this can also be a movable part. I have a box of cards called “Pocket prayers” and for now, I aim to interchange these cards. Maybe later on I’ll find other things to affix to this quadrant, but I like the Pocket Prayers because they are non-denominational prayers and they offer universal sentiments of hope, appreciation of nature and beauty, gratitude, and peace.
I spent a whole morning making this vision board. I had the time to do that and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I love organizing things into different categories and coordinating colors and themes. While I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a vision board to a busy person because it requires a lot of work and reflection that could be put to better use on an action plan. I definitely wouldn’t recommend a vision board to someone who hates paper crafts because even if you use magazine clips or print outs from the Internet, you still have to do a lot of searching and cutting. I think that vision boards are best suited to people who truly want to make one because they aren’t quick fixes to achieving your goals. I don’t have any delusions that looking at this every day will manifest success, but it is nice to be reminded of my inspirations and dreams. I hung it up right next to my desk so I can see it every day and easily interchange the moving parts.
If you stayed with me through this journey, I want to ask, what do you think about vision boards? Have you made one? Do you now want to make one? Or is a project like this a total waste of time for you?