I say always illustrate never use words. No matter what. Why 1. Words are smaller lines and more prone to looking weird in the future 2. Tattoos are a great way to start a conversation where you get to explain the meaning of the illustrations. When you use words your kinda just walking around with text people can go read anywhere 3. Pictures can change meaning over time. Today your tat may remind you of strength another day it may remind you of your family words are always going to mean the same thing 4. Pictures are prettier and more interesting
For other suggestions 1. Always be original and authentic. Do something meaningful for you. 2. Sit with the idea for a few months. I know it sounds like forever but I've reddish need my own tattoo 11 times now over the past 4 years and I absolutely hate my first design. So don't rush it 3. I came up with my tattoo ideas by listing what I believed made me me. My ideas, my beliefs, my hobbies, my memories, then I looked for ways to weave those things together.