Creativity requires the ability to intrinsically inspire yourself. You can develop, feed, and grow visions and aspirations in your own mind either by using what’s around you or what already inhabits your thoughts. sometimes it feels there is nothing there and you’re absolutely drained. Sometimes your mind feels cluttered, foggy, a mess. This is when I think graphic organizers come in handy. It sounds like third grade, but there are more ways to organize, prioritize, and find potential in your thoughts than pie charts and venn diagrams. Mood boards, collages, dream walls, and lists are methods that people use to sort their lives and thoughts and remind them to reach certain goals. Some people make these graphics and actually look at them every day.
I think 13 year old girls used to do a form of this by cutting and pasting images of dresses, dream homes, role-model actresses, and cute boys on their bedroom walls. I remember covering about 100 square feet of wall that my poor mother hand painted with my favorite clippings from TeenVogue back when I wanted to go into fashion. This was, of course, before Pinterest, but it was a method none-the-less. Our day-to-day lives can become so dull, monotonous, and mind-numbing that every now and then we stop and ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this again?” From there, three outcomes are likely:
- We actually remember the reason we picked up an extra shift every week and get excited at the thought of being able to buy that new DSLR and continue working our asses off until we reach that goal.
- We don’t really remember but don’t spend time dwelling on the question because there’s a new episode of Shameless to be watched.
- We seriously can’t remember a good reason and interrogate ourselves into a mental wormhole, the other side of which beholds a dark and depressing reflection of our life choices which at this point we conclude were all terribly wrong.
This is why graphic organizers are so nice! They help us organize (duh, it’s in the name) our thoughts we once had and record them for future reference. As visually creative people, we also need to be able to see these goals and ideas in a way that makes sense to us which either means words or images of some sorts. Myself? I like to write and use photos, specifically I like to handletter and use photoshop to make photo compositions (which is stitching separate photos together to look like a seamless single image, they usually have an element of surrealism because you’re inner logic knows that images such as these should not be possible, and in fact are usually not) but for quick mind dumps of ideas and goals, collaging or a simple photo layout are go-to methods.
A great part about graphic organizers is they can be as organized or chaotic as you’d like! They can have themes such as Health and Fitness, Fashion, Travel, even Money. Each can have a certain color composition. One can be about the future. One can be about the past. One can be about the present because hey, who actually knows what’s currently going on in their own lives? Typically, people make them with a timeframe in mind like, “In five years, these are the things I want to have accomplished.” Three and a half years down the road you’re waiting tables 14 hours a day and wondering, “What the hell is all this for?” and you look at that graphic organizer and boom!.. you gather the strength to serve blueberry pancakes for another 6 hours! Sorry - am I getting a little personal?
Anyways - mood boards, dream boards, and graphic organizers can be done a number of ways but they’re so simple and a great way to record your thoughts fast and in a way that will speak to you later on. After all, you made them.
I’ve included three variations of organizing the same group of thoughts inhabiting my own head. This particular series is strongly tied to where I grew up in the Adirondacks and a longing for nature that’s been deprived since moving to the city, things I want to do more of, and John Hamm making breakfast because.. well that needs no justification. Making these is as easy as going online or you can take it old school and take actual magazine clippings and paste them on a foam board. The handlettering one obviously took more time, but I did include resources for learning that skill in one of my previous articles.