The act of creating a vision board helps you reach your goals. You can create one in just a few minutes.

I didn’t know what a vision board was until a few years ago. Not unlike an art and craft project, you lay out your goals and visions for the future on a piece of poster board. There are other ways to create them, of course. Digital vision boards are popular too.

When I found out what a vision board was, I thought they were hokey. Much like a genie in a magic lamp, the idea is that what you wish to be true will happen.

What I later discovered after reading lots of self-help books is this:

The very act of writing down our goals and vision for the future helps us achieve what we desire.

Convinced  I was missing something, I created my first vision board last year. Two very successful women I knew swore by theirs. One entrepreneur had a $2 million goal on her board and reached $1.8 million at the end of the year. Even freakier, one woman put a picture of a baby on her board and ended up having a child who looked almost exactly like the photo.

What did I have to lose by trying one? I scrounged around in my supplies and found a lone piece of poster board. Armed with a few magazines,  tape, and magic markers, I plotted out what my 2019 year would look like.

2019 vision board

#1 Goal goes here

I focused on 3 theme words: Create, Freedom, and Collaborate. For each word, I had one major goal.

3 focus words

CREATE: I wanted to complete 9 fiction books. Here’s what I actually wrote:

• Salvage (Book 4 in the Rogue Spark series)

• After We Fall (a 40K novel that is my current lead magnet)

• Steel Guardian (Book 1 in a new series)

• Stolen Future and Coded Red (Books 1 & 2 in another new series)

That’s a total of 5 full novels. In addition to those, I published a Rogue Spark box set (Books 1-4). I wrote 3 short stories that were published in a magazine or in anthologies.

That’s a total of 9 published fiction works in 2019. Goal achieved!

FREEDOM: I had a goal of achieving a specific dollar amount per month in profit. My books combined with my launch strategy consulting business achieved that income goal! Admittedly, some months were better than others. The summer months were slow consulting-wise, but a healthy first quarter helped boost my earnings, and I’ve been nearly fully booked as a book launch strategist since August.

COLLABORATE: I  co-wrote a story, The Soul Collector with another author. I attended a Seattle sci-fi retreat and built a world with other sci-fi authors. Finally, I experimented with a hybrid publisher (Molten Universe) for my book Steel Guardian. All of these collaboration experiences helped move me forward in some way.

This year has truly taught me that we cannot create in a vacuum. We learn best when working with others. It’s taken me a few years to assemble a small but mighty team of people I can rely on for help and return the favor. I’m really happy with my editor, cover designers, and I have a writing coach with whom I can vet my outlines.

Not only that, I joined a novel writing challenge hosted by Dean Wesley Smith that keeps me on track to write a novel every two months. This has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my writing career.

There were 2 goals on my chart that I didn’t meet. I had a  weight goal that I missed, but I’ve taken steps to get healthier including working out more and eating better.

I also had a goal to “find a new house with amazing views.” Oddly enough, on a trip to Arizona, we found an amazing house in the Tucson foothills with an incredible view. We seriously considered a move because the cost of living \ there is much less than Chicago. We found the house but we didn’t take the step of actually making it happen.

I’m convinced that the act of creating a vision board helps you reach your goals. I kept mine hanging on the wall so  I could see it every day. I created monthly goals and met with a group of three other writers via zoom monthly. We share what we achieved and what we hope to achieve the next month.

I also held weekly check-ins with myself to keep on track. All of that might sound like a lot of work, but for me, it has been a groundbreaking year in terms of productivity.

On to the 2020 board! My 3 words this year are Create, Blaze and Space.

Vision board

The 2020 Board

Creating is core to my identity as an author. The word create will never vanish from my board. I hope to keep writing until I’m 100, at least. Maybe beyond?

CREATE: My goal this year is to write 6 full-length novels and 2 nonfiction books. That’s actually 1 more novel than last year. I’m continuing down the sci-fi path because I love writing it so much. And I  want to bring more nonfiction ideas into the world.

BLAZE: I will blaze a new path forward and reach a new level of income while being boss of my business, which allows me freedom. Once again, I set a monthly profit goal, which is higher than last year’s. I added a total profit amount that I hope to achieve from books alone. As a result. I’m carefully watching expenses to make sure that I reach the profit goals I set.

SPACE:  This year, I will be focused on moving to a new home. My husband and I have been talking for quite a while about moving. We’ve enjoyed our home in the Chicago neighborhood we live in, however, after 10 years, the neighborhood has changed a lot. We want to live in a quieter area and have closer access to nature such as parks, woods, and lakefront. We plan to put our house on the market in the spring and part of the year will be dedicated to finding our next home.

Perhaps the coolest thing about the vision board is that it just makes me happy to look at it! I know that I have a plan and it gets me excited to keep working and creating. When I didn’t have a vision board, I  still had goals and wanted to achieve a lot, but it wasn’t easy to decide what to do next.

The vision board acts as a compass to help you decide whether to say yes or no new projects. Sometimes a potential client will come my way or I’ll get asked to participate in something, but if it’s not helping feed my creativity, blazing a new path forward, or contributing to me finding the space to create and thrive, then it’s not for me.

It’s simple to create a vision board if you want to try it. What do you have to lose?

I used poster board (doesn’t have to be very big) and magic markers, plus cut out some pictures from magazines. You don’t have to do it this way. You could simply write down your three words and what you hope to achieve on a sheet of paper. In fact, I had dinner with a friend recently and she pulled out her vision board, which was written on paper and folded into four squares that she keeps it in her wallet. It works for her.

A lot of people create digital vision boards, and if you just Google that search term, you’ll find a lot of images.

I would love to hear from you! Have you created a vision board and what were your results? If not, are you considering creating one?

I hope this is been helpful. I’ll be posting soon with other news and creative productivity tips.