I’ve been on Pinterest for a while, mostly using it to save craft projects I know full well I’m never going to try. It’s only since I’ve started having a Social Media overhaul that I’ve really thought about Pinterest as a tool for writers.
Pinterest is like a virtual cork board – a place to ‘pin’ ideas and images to save for later. It’s used for a variety of different reasons. There are big communities for crafts, recipes, healthy living and many other areas. If you can avoid getting distracted by all that (no easy feat!) there are loads of resources available for writers, and plenty of creative ways you can use your boards to help inspire yourself.
What Boards to Create
This is obviously hugely personal and will depend on what you need. I’ve approached it in a couple of ways.
Inspiration – One of the things I love to do with Pinterest is browse through the fashion pins. If I find something I particularly like, I’ll save it to one of the three boards you can see in the picture above. Clothes, Jewellery and Faces. Faces is for people who are particularly interesting (I love the attitude in the cover girl’s eyebrow) and might be inspiration for characters later on. I like to have a picture to work from when writing. It helps me to keep details like eye colour in mind, and brings the character to life for me.
Having a load of clothes and jewellery for reference (I’ve not done much with the jewellery board yet, as you can see by the single pin) saves me loads of time. I’m not good at fashion, and it takes the pain out of describing what characters are wearing on the few occasions when that’s relevant.
Reference – You’ll see one of the boards is ‘Blog Design Resources’. This works in two ways for me. One, I have all the things I’ve used in one handy place, should I need to go back and make any amendments at a later date, and two, it’s a great way to give credit to the people behind the brushes and fonts I’ve used.
When I come to designing my book covers and interiors for self-publishing, I’ll do the same, building a catalogue of the resources I’ve used on Pinterest. In the meantime, I’m saving fonts that are free for commercial use as and when I come across them, along with any book design stuff I find so that when that time comes, I don’t have to look so far and wide to find what I need.
As I’ve said, it’s personal, and depends what you want to get out of Pinterest. Some people use it purely for personal stuff, others to drive traffic to their blogs. I’m not so interested in driving traffic as to build a bank of resources for myself that hopefully others will find useful.
Be Specific About Your Boards
My ‘Writing Stuff’ board already needs an overhaul. It’s too non-specific. It has accrued 49 pins (bear in mind that I’ve only been pinning to it for a few days at time of writing) and they cover too diverse a range of topics. Within it I have pins about mythology, quotes from writers, tips and ‘how to’s, infographics about body language and many other things.
Pinterest can be a time suck if you let it, so you want to make sure you can find your resources easily. I’m going to divide this generic ‘writing stuff’ board into at least three separate boards – Mythology, Writing Tips and Author Quotes. I’m undecided about the infographics, whether they need a board of their own or not.
The lesson here is to be specific. Narrow your boards down where necessary. ‘Clothes’ and ‘Faces’ can be broad, because they are for inspiration, to browse until something catches my interest. But if I decide that a character wears skater fashion, I’ll probably start a new board for ‘Skater Clothes’ so I can use that when writing about that character. My focus is to make my boards useable for me, but specificity will also help anyone who might be looking to follow boards of writing tips or facts about world mythology.
When you have a work in progress, you sometimes aren’t ready to share it with the world. But Pinterest has a function to help you with that – Secret Boards. These are boards that you, and anyone you choose to invite to the board can see. They aren’t open to the public.
I have several, one for each of the projects I’m working on. My plan is to open them up to the public once the projects are done and the books are out there. Then if readers are interested, they can have a look at some of the ideas I had, and gain an insight into my working process.
Some of the things I do include finding faces for my characters, as already discussed. I also pin any research specific to the story, any locations, songs, outfits etc.
I really love Pinterest as a resource for writing, and I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the surface of its applications. I’m no expert. I’ve only just started experimenting, so I’d be really interested if any of you reading use Pinterest for any facet of your writing process – leave me your username in the comments and I’ll give you a follow! Click on the button below if you want to take a look at my pins.