About the Symbols for Writers Series: I’ve written a number of times about the power of intuition and symbols to enhance your writing practice. Exploring a symbol can kick-start your creative process, help you to understand a creative block, or enable you to express a complex concept in a condensed package. Lately, it seems that all my best ideas and insights arise from exercises that tap into the nonlinear, nonverbal part of my brain.
When my friend Laura hosted an impromptu discussion of symbols and writing–using beautifully illustrated cards as a jumping-off point–I was struck by an idea: she should create a collection of such images and symbols for writers. Each image could be paired with an explanation of its symbolic meaning, maybe a writing exercise, and she could share her wealth of knowledge about imagery, dreams, and symbolism with an audience who needs to access intuition on a daily basis.
As I expounded on the idea, Laura interrupted with a laugh. “This sounds like your vision,” she said. “Maybe it’s something you should explore.” And so this project was born.
I’ve found that symbols and imagery can trigger valuable insights into writing, life, problem-solving, finding joy, and more. Since I’d love to have a collection of such images, coupled with text and questions geared toward writers, I hope you will enjoy them as well!
How to Use this Series
Following the image is a brief visualization exercise to help you identify what the image means to your subconscious–but there are no rules. If you prefer, skip to the suggested meanings that follow and see if any resonate. You can also use the image as a creative prompt, or as a reminder of some key idea you want to remember in the coming week.
Symbol: The Clock
What thoughts and emotions does this image bring to mind?
Take a good look at the image above, then close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Let your mind relax and wander a moment, then imagine the clock shown above. What emotion does the image trigger? Does it bring to mind a particular project, scene, or character? Or perhaps a situation or person in the “real world”? When you have something in mind, ask your subconscious if that’s right–if you’re on the right track–and then sit quietly to see if you sense an answer.
Take some time to write about your experience and the insights, ideas, or questions it generates.
The clock can symbolize a feeling of time pressure. If this meaning resonates, it may indicate a need to give yourself the gift of time. It is also a reminder that time is a limited resource that must be used wisely. Is your schedule overflowing, your time too tight? Maybe this image is prompting you to depose a tyrannical schedule. How can you ease time’s grip on your energy?
The clock may also be a sign that you feel overwhelmed by something in your life. Maybe you need to devote more time to that issue, to help move it forward and free yourself of a looming deadline, real or imagined.
Did this image resonate with you? Why or why not? Please share in the comments!
I will be posting a new “card” every Friday. Please let me know what you like or don’t like, and what you might suggest for future images. Are there particular concepts or issues you’d like these images to explore? I’d love to hear your thoughts, feedback, and suggestions!