Do you have a vision? For your project? For your career? For your life?
To get my young art students to focus, when they enter my classroom I ask them to close their eyes and see in their minds some object. Usually what I ask them to focus on will be part of the project for that day. Last week, I had them see a sky filled with stars. We were talking about Vincent Van Gogh and his paintings, especially "Starry Night".
I like to tell children about Van Gogh's work because during his troubled lifetime, he produced an amazing number of masterpieces that have grown more important and more valuable over the years. I don't believe that Van Gogh had a vision. It is fortunate that his sister-in-law did not throw away his work following the death of Van Gogh's brother, Theo, which occurred about six months after the artist's death. Instead it appears she developed a plan to make his work known.
Just like when the artist stands in front of a blank canvas and starts to visualize what he/she will place there, so each one of us must develop a vision for our writing. What kinds of books will we write? Will they be fiction or non-fiction? What will be the settings? Will this be a series?
More and more authors appear to be creating a character who will be part of a continuing series. That seems a good way to carry forth a vision as a writer.
Some writers don't have a plan. They are "seat of the pants" writers who let characters and situations take over as they create their books.
October starts next week; fall is already here. This is a good time for writers to sit down with a notebook and outline writing plans for 2011. Sketch out a brief synopsis for each story you'd like to write. Think about and list the markets for which they are directed. Schedule the days you will write and create a time table for completion of each project.
To be successful, you must have a vision. Create one now.
Vincent Van Gogh did not have a vision. He sold only one painting during his lifetime.
Do you want to be well-known for your work now, or, if you become famous, do you want it to be postmortem like Van Gogh?
Like my little artists, you need a vision and a plan.
(I'll post about career visions another time.)
Mary Montague Sikes