Using Pinterest to Enhance Your Writing

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pinterest, besides being a treasure field of hairdos, recipes, DIY projects and home decor ideas, may also be used as a source of something more peripheral: writing ideas. In a sense, you can draw moods and paint pictures in your mind about storylines by paging through the rich collections of images. Here is a list of ways you can use Pinterest to develop your writing ideas:

1. Directs your thinking. I've been plotting a book idea for awhile, and I did a simple search in relation to it. The images gave direction to a few more chapters in the book. For example, say you're writing an article about putting together a care package for a cancer patients. You might search "cancer gift" to begin putting together ideas for your article. You might even start getting more article ideas just by browsing, such as oncologist-approved soap for delicate skin. Pinterest is talented at putting you in the mindset of what you're writing about so the thoughts start pouring in. Beware, because too many thoughts could start rolling in:)

2. Assists the Brainstorm Process. Pinterest could be used as a virtual brainstorm in itself. If you can't find a starting point or become completely stuck, browsing through related images could restart your brain gears. Keep a paper nearby to brainstorm or cluster your thoughts. You may even find an effective technique for brainstorming by typing "brainstorm" in the search box. In fact, Pinterest might just be the proper cure for writer's block.

Source: via Anna on Pinterest

3. Trigger. Even when you're not searching for related images to your writing, you might stumble upon an image that triggers an idea for a blog post or a memory that would form a beautiful poem.

4. Picture your characters and settings. My advice is to create "character" and "setting" boards for any fictional novels you're preparing to write. You can get as detailed as you would like. What would your character wear? Where would he/she live? What would her teenage daughter's room look like? Developing strong, rounded characters requires the writer/creator to think about all of these things. You may even start accumulating details about your character that you hadn't even thought about before. Visualizing settings also helps you work out the logistics of rooms, pathways, and other details about location so you can describe them properly.

Your imagination just takes off with actual images. I find it frustrating to create a character or setting from scratch, based upon my own ideas of person and place. Pinterest puts me in touch with more people and places than I could dream up on my own. I have a hard time conceptualizing settings in my head, but Pinterest is always there to assist with the visualization.

5. Learn new territory. Are you developing a character who loves ballet, but don't know much about dance? You can always start with a Pinterest image search. You'll start picking up on information about the gear, outfits, posture, popular ballets, studio layouts and so much more. You can see detailed pictures of the insides of the shoes the typical dancer's body structure. You've been told to "write what you know." This is good advice, but you can also start "knowing" more by researching.

6. Find a new art medium. I'm not suggesting you give up writing to be a watercolorist, unless that's your dream. I'm talking about finding a way to express your words in a way that feels natural to you. If novel writing feels right, keep on keeping on. For me, novels never felt quite right.  Right now, on Pinterest, I'm on a hunt for more examples of Art + Writing. I have a few art journal and calligraphy images pinned as a start. I've always wanted to combine beautiful words with imagery in some meaningful way, and Pinterest is helping me develop ideas for a new art combination as well.

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Anonymous said...

wow great post! u really inspired me =)

Jessica Collins said...

Welcome Elle! And thank you!

Rachel said...

These sound like very good reasons to use when I explain to myself why it's okay to spend some time on Pinterest instead of writing... :)