I have noticed with my novels that I like having a symbol that relates directly to the project I am working on. Sometimes the symbol comes along as I am writing, sometimes it comes before. Mostly it's been a song that directly relates to the story in some way. I feel like if I can find a theme song for my project, I am home free. For The Mailbox it was "The Boys Of Summer" by Don Henley. (And if you've read the book you know why!) Whenever I wanted encouragement, I listened to that song. If I happened to hear it randomly played on the radio, all the better.
There was also a sign on the way to Sunset Beach that said Campbell, one of my main character's names. I felt like that sign was a symbol too. Both the sign and the song encouraged me to keep going during those dark times when I was worried my work would never see the light of day. I didn't need these symbols, I just had fun with them. Smiled when they came my way.
With She Makes It Look Easy, I listened to a lot of Bruce Springsteen, letting his lyrics about loss and unrest fuel the emotions I was trying to express on the page. I also loved the lyric from Fleetwood Mac's song "Gypsy": "She is dancing away from you now, She was just a wish, She was just a wish." That quote became the epigram for the novel (the quote that begins the book). Interesting fact, Stevie Nicks wrote that lyric about herself. The "she" in question is her former self, the gypsy she used to be that she can never re-capture. And that's what I wanted to communicate in this book-- we can never totally lay hold of that self we dream of being. It's better to just accept who we are right now.
And now I am writing a new book. The other day I was in a store and found a frame that expressed a sentiment from the book exactly. My mouth fell open. That frame is now in my room as a little reminder, another symbol that makes me smile. I also have a perfect song that serves as my encouragement. I will tell you what both of these things are when the book gets a bit closer to publication. Right now I am keeping what I am working on pretty tightly under wraps-- not because I want to keep it a secret but because I prefer to not talk about what I am writing to too many people while I am working. Once it's done I talk about it too much! It's all or nothing with me, it would seem.
Today I happened upon a charm on an Etsy site that the creator had named the same name as the title of the next book I want to write. I froze, staring at this charm, knowing I would have to buy it and wear it as I write the next book. I felt like it was one of those signs, yet again. One of those little confirmations along the way. Not that I am superstitious, just that I love those moments where things around you become little encouragements that you are on the right track and your future is exactly what you're hoping for... if you will just keep walking towards it. They make me smile, they encourage me, and they bring me little boosts of joy. I don't know a writer that couldn't use a little bit of all of the above.