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Monday, January 20, 2014

Pinterest For Writers

Before I begin, let me say this: if you're reading this and you're not already on Pinterest, disregard this post.  If you haven't already been sucked into the black hole, don't go anywhere near it.  Just walk out now.  Trust me.

Okay, for those that are still here...

Unless you actually bake the recipes you pin on Pinterest, actually do the DIY projects, or actually buy the clothes you hang on your "virtual closet" pinboard, Pinterest is useless other than the fleeting moment of happiness you get from pinning a thing.  What good is it going to do you to have a board full of pictures of dresses you can't afford?  None, except for the longing satisfaction of looking at the pictures.  If you set the value of that satisfaction against the time lost by doing it, you've most likely come up short.  But hey, at least it's safer, cheaper, and 100% more legal than, say, cocaine.  And probably more fun.

This is the value of creating writing/novel inspiration boards.  At least you'll be using your time for something slightly more productive, since, as I'll talk about later, these boards can serve as references for character personalities, physical descriptions, etc.

(I realize that, if you're like me, your Pinterest feed does not look anything like what the founders probably intended.  I don't go for the mason jar crafts or hipster DIY shirts or "healthy" recipes or whatever normal people pin.  My feed is more Tom Hiddleston, bizarrely hilarious screencaps of Tumblr posts, Loki, math jokes, Benedict Cumberbatch, more Tom Hiddleston, and the occasional dorm organization thing.  It looks more like Tumblr than Pinterest.)

Since you're there anyway, you might as well turn Pinterest into a tool that can help inspire your writing.  The most obvious way is to create a board of writing prompts and inspiration.  Pin anything and everything that inspires you.  It could be a compelling or intriguing photo, an interesting piece of artwork, a link to an article about a topic that you'd like to write about, a quote, lyrics, etc.  Hipster quotes in Helvetica on washed-out landscape photos.  Or one of those pictures of Ryan Gosling (or another handsome guy of your choice) that says, "Hey girl, you should be writing."  If it sparks your creativity, pin it.

If you're working on a specific writing project, it's an awesome idea to make an inspiration board specially for this project.  I made one for both my previous novel and the one I'm writing now.  It's awesome as inspiration, but it's also helpful to keep track of things, visually, for your novel.  If I find a photo of a person that looks like one of my book characters, I put it on the board.  Then, I can use this photo as a reference for writing physical descriptions.  This also doubles as an acceptable excuse to pin 1,893 photos of Andrew Garfield if your novel has a similar-looking character.

I also like to pin quotes that describe the novel or a certain character.  Just make sure that you write, in the pin description, who or what the quote refers to, so you don't lose track.  Song lyrics or even links to songs on YouTube are also good ideas.  Little infographics with information about any certain Meyers-Briggs personality type can be found easily on Pinterest, and it's good to keep track of which characters are which type.  (I highly recommend knowing the type of each of your major characters.  It'll help so much with figuring out how a character operates, because most of the work is basically done for you.)

Here's an example of a novel inspiration board.  It's the one I use for my current work-in-progress.  Click to see the whole thing.

Follow Annie's board Untitled Book on Pinterest.

The awesome thing about your novel inspiration board is that you can use it however you want.  If you want to pin inspirational writing quotes, go for it.  If you just need some kitten pictures to keep you sane, no problem (because we all need some kittens sooner or later).  If you need to pin some pictures of cake, because your protagonist likes cake...okay, who are you kidding?  You just want cake.

But I digress.

I also keep a board filled with writing advice, memes, and quotes.  It has links to various helpful articles and some writing humor.

Follow Annie's board Writing on Pinterest.

In summary: use Pinterest to your advantage as a writer.  Use it for reference, inspiration, or keeping track of things.  You might as well turn your time-wasting into something a little less time-wasting.

Do you have a writing-related Pinterest board?  Let me know!

UPDATE 2/3/14: PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: When you pin something off someone else's novel inspiration board (which is an okay thing to do), be sure to change the caption.  Most likely, the original pinner has captioned it so that it fits their story.  Not yours.  If you don't change the caption, specifics of someone else's story will be on your board.  Which not only makes you look stupid, but it also lets it spread around the internet, and nobody wants that.  Seriously, just change the caption.  On everything, actually.  It's not that hard.  Also, if you notice that someone pinned something from your novel board, it's okay to ask them to change it.

It's semi-related storytime: Pinterest recently introduced this new feature that recommends categories of pins based on things it thinks you like (as in, Pandora for Pinterest).  Some of the things it thinks I like: Tom Hiddleston, fandoms, 'Jesus jokes' (apparently this is what it is referring to), writing, Ryan Tedder, the Avengers, Tolkein, and dorm organization.  Why does Pinterest know me better than most humans?  It also thinks I like ships, but when I clicked on the recommended pins, they were all pictures of...actual ships.  Sailing and cruise ships.  No, Pinterest, no.  Those weren't the kind of ships I was talking about.  I just...I don't even know how to respond to this.

Before I go: take my blog survey.  David Tennant wants you to.  Is that manipulative?  Whatever.  Click here or on the GIF to take the survey and tell me about all the things I do that annoy you.  (And no, I'm not going to stop bugging you about this for awhile, so you might as well just do it now.)

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