In my last post, I shared with you how scent helps me stay focused in my writing. But smell is only part of my new experiment with sensory stimulation. Visuals have always been my go-to learning tool my entire life--writing life included. Needless to say, I'm a visual learner and I always have been.
Just to know
I don't retain information well, period. My memory sucks. I have conversations I don't remember being a part of all the time (mostly having to do with my husband telling me things I clearly was only selectively listening to), I'm introduced to people and don't retain their names, people reference gifts I've given them and I'm like, "What? Really? Gosh, I'm so nice." It's horrible not to remember things, really worrisome and troubling at times, actually. But then, who doesn't have a few screws loose? The flip side is that I never forget a face, even if I don't remember their names. I can name a movie I've only seen once just by hearing one line of a sentence, no visual assistance required because apparently I've retained it all the first time I watched it. I remember historical happenings not because I read them or someone explained them to me--that all goes into my brain and disappears a second later. I remember and love history that I can see. I watch documentaries and visit museums and reference old photos. So it would make sense that visuals are helpful at all stages during the writing process.
The first step
This is my story Pinterest board that I use before I start writing. My storyboard helps me to gather images that set the framework for my story. It allows me space to collect all the images I attribute to my character, their bedroom colors, the setting, the clothes they wear, different physical attributes I want to keep in mind, and so on. This is what gets the whole processes started.
While I'm writing
I use Scrivener when I'm organizing my chapters and writing my first drafts. The reason I appreciate this program is because I can have the manuscript and any photo or reference material I want side by side while writing. During the first draft phase, I'm generally still getting to know my characters so this helps me remember the weather, locations, research I found, etc.
Throughout the writing process
This is a story notebook, which I use throughout the entire writing process. I use it for brainstorming and near-the-end editing. I have a notebook for every story, and it contains cut-outs, drawings, charts, sticky notes, lists, research, and just about everything in between. All of which I carry around with me when I leave town in case I get a brilliant idea, and I have it open every time I'm writing.
So, now you know why visual aids are so important for me in the writing process. Next time I'll share with you what other ways I indulge my sense while writing to keep myself in "the zone."