“Visionboarding” and adulting

Recently I decided to use my Pinterest more, for a couple reasons. The first of which is that my travel blog can get a fair amount of redirect traffic just from people pinning my photographs that are posted with links to my site. The other is that there are all sorts of neat images on Pinterest that can help you figure out new ideas for not only stories (which is why I got into it a few years ago–briefly–and have neglected ever since) but also house projects. It’s where I started paying attention to the faux tin ceiling tiles and how that might really improve the looks of the house.

Visionboarding is one of those neat tricks you learn in creative writing classes or even in some psychologists sessions. The idea is that you gather together a bunch of images and put them together to help you wrap your mind around the aesthetic that you want, or on a deeper level, to give you an idea of what you would like to manifest in your own life.

The funny thing is that last night I couldn’t sleep, so I decided I was going to go through Pinterest and start gathering a bunch of pins to help my creativity, either for the stories I am working on, the house, or maybe even just things to give me some motivation or inspiration in general. Unlike Instagram or even TikTok (and especially Facebook) my algorhythm hasn’t been dialed in yet to give me a repetition of things yet. Those apps lock you in pretty quickly, and unfortunately this also means that they won’t deviate too far from what it considers your “interests.” But the point of these things should be to help you expand your interests, and not put a fine point on them.

I would love to learn more about things, but how am I supposed to learn about new things if I have no exposure to them? It’s a lot like showing up to a school for Career Day and telling the kids they can be anything they want to be in life if they really want to pursue that dream. Then saying “Boys, you can be a firefighter, or a cop, or a soldier, or a construction worker, or an Indian chief,” and literally offering no other career ideas. Which is sorta how it went when I was a kid in school.

Growing up in a rural area gave us the impression that you could stay in town and work on a ranch, a mine, or the woods. The real go getters could get their CDL and be a long haul truck driver! Or you could go to college to become a teacher or a “businessman”–whatever the hell that was. There was also the military. We didn’t have much guidance at all and certainly our options were limited to a handful of occupations. As with most places the idea that you could make a living on art, music, or anything that wasn’t service based or production was laughable. “You’ll starve to death!”

And yet, somehow there are people in this world who make a living off playing in a band or writing or painting. Funny how these outlets of expression were usually downplayed, but I don’t know of a highschool out there that didn’t go bonkers over their local high school athletes. Even though the odds of becoming a professional athlete are about as good as being an astronaut. And yet every weekend the town turned out to watch kids blow out their knees and ACLs and shoulders in hopes that they might be good enough to get a college scholarship or better yet a shot at the big leagues! Ten home games a year for just about any sport, and probably only one school play. Two band concerts. And art classes are the first thing to get cut from curriculum when the districts have to tighten their belts.

And yet everyone goes home and watches TV, spends billions of dollars at the movies, reads books or the news, and the radios in our car are nearly 100% dedicated to playing music as we drive.

So, my rant about the importance of creativity aside, something I noticed about being on Pinterest is how limited my drive and imagination have become. Ten years ago when I was writing a lot of fantasy and science fiction, I would have loved this app. But last night I had a hard time of even wondering what I would commit to a “pin.” What did I care about? What was inspiring me visually? Jeez, it was like pulling teeth.

I mean I have the opportunity to just go crazy on this! And…

I came up with a lot of pretty libraries. Some shots of people in costumes that would make good characters for stories I’m nowhere near writing just yet. And some places I would like to visit one of these days. I felt like my mind had somehow hardened off to the need for external stimulation. I actually got a little bored, but that could have also been from the overstimulation of there just being so much out there to look at.

If I were to make a vision board, it would be pretty sparse. But maybe that’s part of the problem too. I’m only just now allowing myself to let my mind wander and manifest a different life than what I have been experiencing for a little while now. It’s difficult to really stretch your legs when it feels like something is always jerking your leash. It must be how a dog feels that realizes nobody is holding its leash anymore and yet it just continues to walk along. Or as with my dog, pick up the leash in her mouth and just keep going.

So, I’m going to try again and see what kind of inspiration I can get. Maybe another type of visionboard for my life. I used to like this kind of thing, but lately it seems like something for those who are young and don’t have so much dust on their dream. A variety of this is what I used to do when I would go to a bookstore and just look at the covers and then I would be inspired to write because one day I wanted my book to have an awesome cover on those shelves one day too!

Might as well give it a shot. Sometimes you have to exercise parts of your mind, just like any muscle, or risk it atrophying.