I think that at this point, we can all agree that 2020 has been somewhat of a bust. If things went according to plan for me, I’d be in Limerick, Ireland earning my MFA in Creative Writing. I’d have seen My Chemical Romance reunite in all their glory. I’d likely be thinner and I might even be in love.
But here we are.
Rather than despair, I’m looking ahead with a real sense of optimism. I plan on re-applying to the University of Limerick in about a month for the 2021-2022 academic year. I intend on emailing the head of the Creative Writing program first to inquire if studying abroad will be an option. If not, I can earn my MFA much closer to home and just visit Ireland.
My mom – my most honest and reliable Beta reader – read the first half of the revised draft of Moody Blue and said it was “really good.” She gave me some advice which I’m definitely taking. The last time this happened, Her Beautiful Monster was published.
And to this end, to looking forward and being hopeful, I’m starting a vision board. I’d heard of vision boards but always wondered if they were honestly helpful or just some trendy, new age crap basic women made to clutter their workspace. I did a little research and ended up with an article by Brigitt Earley (“a freelance writer and editor based in NJ – (small world!). Her work spans the women’s lifestyle category and has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Real Simple, Health, and Apartment Therapy”) featured in The Oprah Magazine, and that seemed like the right place to end up. The article explains what a vision board really is (“Put simply: a vision board is a visual representation of your goal”) and elaborates on the benefits of creating one. Vision boards are a form of visualization, and “mental practices (like visualization) can increase motivation, confidence, and even motor performance.” A scientific study referenced and cited in the article even found “that, in athletes, visualization was almost as effective as physical practice.” And after expounding upon the benefits of doing so, the article broke down how to craft a vision board.
Step One: Figure out what matters most.
According to the article and media/life coach Zakiya Larry, the first step is determining your goals. “Think about the one or two segments of your life you really want to change and focus on the words those sectors bring to mind. Then, decide if your vision board should represent short-term or long-term change.” Larry recommends using yearly benchmarks as they are “digestable” and their progress is easy to track.
Step Two: Pictures, pictures, pictures.
Cutting pictures from old magazines or printing “images you see on Pinterest and Instagram” will help you find visual representations for your goals. Find a picture of a woman comfortable with her body and display the word “confidence” next to it, for example. My board will include something like that, as well as pictures of Ireland and love and a cozy home as I work to renovate mine.
Step Three: Make sure you can see it.
“Once you’re done, put your vision board in a place that’s within your regular line of sight—your nightstand, your home office, or even by your television—because the key is to look at it as often as possible, says Larry.” This way, the visual representation of your hopes and dreams also serves as a constant reminder to always be striving towards those goals.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE UPDATES!
One of my favorite quotes that I use time and time again comes from Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then; I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.” The wonderfully exhausting bit of human existence is that we’re constantly in flux. Some believe people never change, but I would argue it only seems that way because we’re constantly changing and in that, we are consistent.
The materials are arriving this weekend, and I’ll be sure to post pictures. But 2021 will be the year I become a Bohemian babe with a publishing contract in the works and a man blowing up my phone. I’ll have another stamp in my passport and I’ll be earning more and I’ll be a better writer.
I hope to realize these goals in 2021, but I’m starting as soon as possible.
Will you join me?