Storyboarding…Your Career …by Susan Lute

(Originally published in the Writer’s Serenade, August 2013 issue, with minor changes to update for Steam punk girl with Typewriter.readers of See Jane Publish)

Saturday I’m giving a workshop titled, Storymapping Your Novel. As both the titles of the workshop and this post indicate, (as those of you who follow SJP know) I’m in many ways a plotter. I didn’t start out that way. When I began doing the Storyboarding… workshops, many, many years ago, it was Storyboarding Your Story. As time when by, I realized this fun exercise could be used to plan…mold…plot a writer’s career in the same way you would a novel.

You can do this at home. You’ll need a poster board (½ sheet), glue stick, scissors, lots and lots of assorted magazines, and a large frame to showcase your finished storyboard.

Find a comfortable place to spread out. Let your mind fly free. From the magazines cut out pictures, words and numbers that jump out, speak to you, feel like, or seem to have some significance for your career as a novelist (you might not know how or why). Once you have a large pile, sort through them, placing the most significant on the poster board. Make a collage. Don’t worry if some of the images overlay others. In the middle put the the one that feels most important, the image or words that scream the loudest what you’d like your writing career to look like. Build from there to the edges.

Some of the images may relate more to your non-writing life, but blend them with your career pictures. This is a hodgepodge merging of everything that is you succeeding as an author. That can’t be done without the ‘normal’ life that makes you who you are as a writer. When you’re satisfied with the overall effect, glue everything down. Use numbers to date your board. Then take a good look. What do you see?

You don’t have to be an artist or natural born plotter to do this storyboard.

(Insert: For those of you who are readers, you can do this exercise too, for your career, or everyday life, whichever you would like to spotlight, or need help deciding where you could go from here.)

In fact when I made my very first one, I fancied myself a pantser, someone who writes a story by the seat of her pants, with no guideposts except the end – a happy-ever-after. At the time I made the one hanging in my office, I’d grown into a hybrid between a pantser and plotter. Now, after a lot of back and forth, I like to think of myself as a planner, a close sister to a plotter, only without the specific attention to detail. But, it doesn’t really matter how you approach your writing (or life), only that you do approach it…and your career, with the firm intention of finishing your current novel…and the next one…and the next one.

The best thing about storyboarding your career is you’re going to see something unexpected in your finished board. It will speak to you, tell you something you didn’t know about yourself. And, it can be framed. Mine hangs in my office. When I look at it, the visual image of my writing career reminds me, I’m a work in progress, same as the story I’m currently writing.

About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on August 6, 2013, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Most writers don’t take enough time for themselves. Chasing the next story, and just life in general keeps us burning the candle at both ends. Taking an hour or two to do a storyboard, for whatever category, is a gift of time we can give ourselves…oops, too philosophical, lol.


  2. Hi SU,

    I LOVE this idea! I do a collage for every book,. It’s so much fun!


  3. What a great idea, Su. Looking forward to giving it a try!


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