Symbols for Writers: the Snake

Snake Symbol

About the Symbols for Writers Series: I’ve found that symbols and imagery can trigger valuable insights into writing, life, problem-solving, finding joy, and more. This series was born because I wanted a collection of symbolic images coupled with text and questions intended to kick-start the creative process, help identify a creative block, or aid expression of complex concepts in condensed packages–and I thought you might enjoy such a collection, too! If you’d like to know more about how the Symbols for Writers series came to be, check out the first post in the series.

How to Use

This week’s image is meant to inspire thoughts about success and what it means in your personal universe. 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. Have fun!

The Snake…

 snake

SOMETHING THAT IS: UNPREDICTABLE 

OUT OF CONTROL

UNKNOWN

FEARED

HIDDEN & THREATENING

* * *

SNAKES CAN ALSO SYMBOLIZE TRANSFORMATION

SHEDDING THE OLD, AS A SNAKE SHEDS ITS SKIN

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 slow, deep breaths. Let your thoughts wander through the meanings this symbol can carry.

  • Is your gut reaction to the snake image positive or negative?
  • If positive, what transformation might the snake image bring to mind?
    • Is there a change happening–or a change that needs to happen–in your life?
    • Can the snake help you think about a transformation one of your characters is undergoing?
  • If your reaction is negative, what feels unpredictable or out of control in your writing life?
    • Consider how these ideas might apply to your characters: does one of them face something beyond their control?
    • Do they face a betrayal? A danger that might strike without warning, like a snake’s sudden attack?

Take 5 minutes and journal about the snake symbol and the thoughts or images it sparks. 

How could this image relate to something in your writing life? Please share in the comments!

Friday Fun Poll: How Do You Celebrate Success?

Balloons

 What’s Your Vision for Success?

Balloons

Yesterday, I sent you on a guided visualization about success and how you envision it for YOUR creative life. I’d bet the poodle that every single person who went through the exercise came up with a different vision.

“Success” means different things to different people. Heck, it means different things to the same person at different times! 

Unfortunately, we humans have a tendency to reach one goal and immediately latch onto the next, without taking time to celebrate along the way. It’s all too easy to live in a constant state of if only…

I’d be happy…IF ONLY

  • I sold a short story
  • I found an agent
  • I got that book deal
  • I got a good review
  • I hit the bestseller list
  • I ______________

I have to make a conscious effort to celebrate success in my writing life, or those successes slide by unnoticed. 

How do you celebrate when you have a creative success or reach a goal? Check out the poll below to cast your vote and see where your fellow writers land!

How do you celebrate success--big or small--in your creative life?

View Results

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If I didn’t include your favorite celebration in the answers, please share in the comments–I love to hear from you!

Symbols for Writers: Balloons!

Balloons

About the Symbols for Writers Series: I’ve found that symbols and imagery can trigger valuable insights into writing, life, problem-solving, finding joy, and more. This series was born because I wanted a collection of symbolic images coupled with text and questions intended to kick-start the creative process, help identify a creative block, or aid expression of complex concepts in condensed packages–and I thought you might enjoy such a collection, too! If you’d like to know more about how the Symbols for Writers series came to be, check out the first post in the series.

How to Use

This week’s image is meant to inspire thoughts about success and what it means in your personal universe. 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. Have fun!

Balloons!

 Balloons

CELEBRATION!

GOALS

DREAMS

OVERCOMING
OBSTACLES

RENEWED HOPE

OVERCOMING
DEPRESSION

 

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. Imagine a celebration for your upcoming success. Visualize it in all its glory, the sounds, the smells, the food and drink. Let your mind relax and savor the scene. Feel the flush of success!

[Tweet "Visualizing your success can provide both motivation and clarity! #writingtip"]

Take 5 minutes and journal about what your vision. Here are a few questions to get your mental gears turning:

  • What are you celebrating? A book sale? A book release? Hitting the bestseller list?
  • How do you feel–excited? Scared? A bit of both?
  • Who is celebrating with you? What familiar, friendly faces are in the crowd?
  • Who are your fans, joining the celebration? What do they look like? What do they say as they crowd around you?
  • What do they love about you/your work?

Did this image resonate with you? Why or why not? Please share in the comments!

Idea Logging Strategies

Idea Logging iPhone Tools

Idea-Log-GraphicLast week, I wrote about the transformative power of keeping an idea log. Well, this week, I think it’s worth talking about point #4 on my “How to Keep an Idea Log” list: namely, KEEP IT CONVENIENT.

I know, it sounds obvious, but do you know how many writers I know who have ten untouched “writing journals” lying around their house? Or maybe, like me, you collect apps on your phone. (Don’t even ask me about iPad-only apps!) Collecting notebooks, journals, and even nifty writing apps for tables and smart phones is a fine vice for writers and creatives, but not if you drown in having too many choices.

[Tweet "It's better to have ONE notebook and use it than to have a HUNDRED, and use none."]

Okay, you say, then what works?

The answer is… ***Drumroll, please***

It depends.

It depends on you, what you like, what you don’t like, where you go, what you do, and what sort of environment your idea log needs to survive. In just a sec, I’ll give you some questions to help you identify what type of notebook–virtual or otherwise–you might actually use. 

But first, let me tell you what doesn’t work. You know all those lovely journals, sitting on bookshelves and collecting dust, instead of getting filled with ideas? Those don’t work for you. So feel free to keep them around for their aesthetic appeal, but whatever you do, don’t pick one up and try to make it into your New-Improved-Really-Going-to-Do-It-This-Time idea log. Just don’t. Okay? Okay.

phone

Choose the Ideal Idea Log

Here are a few questions to help you navigate the table of tools below:

  1. HOW do you do your best thinking? For example…
    • While walking, hiking, or pacing?
    • While writing longhand?
    • At the computer?
    • While talking aloud, to yourself or with a friend?
  2. WHERE do you need to record ideas? For example…
    • In the car?
    • While running errands?
    • At the gym?
  3. WHAT METHOD of writing gives you the best flow? For example…
    • Writing with pen and paper?
    • Typing at your computer?
    • Dictating?
    • Or does it matter if you’re just recording inspirations?
  4. HOW do you like to SORT or ACCESS your ideas later? For example…
    • By searching electronically?
    • Chronologically?
    • Visually scanning entries, which you’ve sorted by topic?
Below, I’ve listed some examples of high-quality notebooks, notebook systems, computer programs, iPhone apps, and iPad apps with which I’ve had experience. I’ve ONLY included products that I’ve found are reliable and relatively flexible. For example, although I love the program Index Cards for the iPhone, I don’t think it translates very well between mobile devices and my desktop machine, so I haven’t included it below.
TOOL

VISUAL

AUDITORY

KINESTHETIC (USE WHILE MOVING?)

HIGH-TECH

PORTABLE

FLEXIBLE STRUCTURE/ SEARCHABLE

Notebooks
Arc customizable notebook system

X

X

X

X

Moleskine-style notebooks 

X

X

X

Computer Programs
Scrivener

X

X

X

Word processing programs

X

X

X

Dragon dictation (with other program)

X

X

X

Dragon dictation (with Bluetooth microphone)

X

X

X

X

Smart Phone and iPad Apps
Simplenote

X

X

X

Evernote

X

X

X

X

Recording apps (or digital recorder)

X

X

X

X

Paper 53 storyboarding app  X  X

X

 X

Do you have any “idea capture systems” to add to the list? Please share in the comments!