If you know me at all in real life, then you’ll know that I’m really fond of visual reminders.
Over the years I’ve found that as I spend more and more time in my head, translating thoughts into words, I get sort of lost or stuck on ideas. I start overanalyzing one bad day at work, then spiral into wondering why I even bother. Or else maybe it was something that someone said to me. All that thinking makes for great writing (and to be honest my best fiction work often comes from that twisted emotional place that I go to), but it isn’t a great place to hang out on a regular basis. So I leave myself visual reminders, little things that pull me back out when I start to forget.
My desktop at work rotates every quarter hour with a new picture of someplace in Iceland. This is to remind myself that the purpose of my being at work is to be able to save up money for the things that I want to do. I don’t come to work just for rent money, although that is necessary. I come to work for the few dollars every week that I can put away to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. I know you can see them other places, but my heart tells me that Iceland is the right place to go to for it. So I’m saving, albeit slowly. When I have a bad day, I look at those pictures. I visually remind myself that Iceland (and all the places that will come after) is what I’m working toward.
At home, I decorate. Pixar themed paintings hang on one wall, John Green and Joss Whedon quotes line another. These words and images remind me of my passions for writing, for reading, and for animation. They reinforce the idea of pursuing my dreams by surrounding me with the most memorable products of someone else’s ambitions. If Joss Whedon can get Firefly turned into a movie after cancelation and bring the most brilliant movie scripts to life, if John Green can write books and co-organize a half dozen online video projects, and if John Lasseter and his team can turn tiny little Pixar Studios into Disney’s animation powerhouse, then I too can have the things that I want. I can write characters like Joss, pursue new mediums like John Green, and continue to inspire my imagination with Pixar.
I haven’t always been a visual person like this. In a classroom I’m much more of a traditional auditory learner than a visual one. But I’ve found the visual reminders to be increasingly helpful now that I’m done with school. I spend my days in an office decked out from floor to ceiling in varying shades of “neutrals” and my nights in an apartment that I can’t paint any other color than white. It’s easy to get drowned out in the colorlessness. My visuals override that washed out feeling and remind me of what I’m doing. They keep me on track and keep me dedicated. Without them it’s way too easy for me to forget and just get lost.
Do you keep any visual reminders or do you have another strategy for sticking to your goals? Let me know in the comments down below!