Why Pinterest is My New Favorite Writing Tool

I first began using Pinterest as a civilian. Beautiful photos full of pretty clothes, scrumptious food, hot boys, and funny nerd things filled my boards and I’m almost convinced I tried to pin things in my sleep. When Pinterest first exploded onto the social networking scene, it was easy to see it as a fun tool to become inspired as the Next Great Chef, City’s Best Dresser, or just burn up hours in a dull work day (kidding…sorta). It was all about images and looking at different things from around the Internet, but then I took a step back to realize Pinterest could be an amazing tool for writers.pinscreen

It’s impossible not to absolutely RUN with this idea of Pinterest as a writer’s marketing and inspiration help–sure, I can post book covers for current or favorite reads (my board there has been a little neglected lately), but what about using Pinterest for character and setting inspiration? Pinterest is the perfect tool for a writer–we can collect images we love, like city settings or character clothing. We can even upload our own photos if it helps with the process. For example, in my Super Nova title, Arcania City is almost a background character, based off my own downtown city.

This building in Roanoke is my setting inspiration for where Nova’s father works as Arcania City DA

Last week I took photos and then uploaded them to keep everything in one place. I’m still surprised by how useful it is to glance at a board and get a better idea of how to describe that Gothic structure or how a back alley connects to a main road, in turn helping a villain get away.

Another obvious way to use Pinterest as a writer is how we write our characters. I love collecting images of actors and models who, to me, resemble my characters. They might have a different hair color/style or be missing that beauty mark you love on your heroine, but you can get a general idea of what your characters look like when you compile images.

Pretty to look at AND useful for character descriptions.

Finding pretty people who could play my characters is always fun and gives me much better ideas of how to write a particular trait (that constant 5 o’clock shadow on your hero’s jaw or that just-right-shade of strawberry blonde hair) – I know I use Jensen Ackles a lot as my beautiful bad boy inspiration, but when I see him in certain photos, I remember to add that mischievous twinkle in my hero’s green eyes when he smiles or that his hair is constantly disheveled because he’s always running his hand through his hair out of habit.

Then there’s the general inspiration you can add to a particular board. My board for Gifted, for example, has character suggestions, but it also holds many images with circus decor. And I don’t just mean a tent and a game booth, but beautiful images of girls swallowing swords, ringmasters in full regale, and lit-up Ferris wheels. It’s full of magical images to remind me that I should always include sword-swallowers in the circus, that acrobats are always covered in a dusting of glitter, and of course, fire images that remind me of Lucy the Firestarter and how it should be described when she’s playing with fire in her hands.

Lastly, and I’ve briefly mentioned this already, but by uploading your own photos, Pinterest can help a writer with their marketing plan. Because so many people are already on Pinterest, by seeing your boards, they can get a better idea of how you see your story and really “see” what you’re writing. You can also upload your own team badges (like my Keegan and Gabriel ones), show off your book cover, or fun little things your fans might do for you in their devotion to the story.

And in case you want to check out my Pinterest boards (to see examples of how I use it for inspiration), here are the links:

Gifted, A Donovan Circus Novel

Witch Hearts, TBR Spring 2013

Super Nova

Pretty Boys (this one is just for fun, but I promise it’ll end up being your favorite board of them all. Seriously, please go look. And have a napkin ready for the drool that will hit your keyboard.)

How else can writers use Pinterest? Do you have a Pinterest filled with boards for your writing or other inspiration? Let’s be friends! Follow me on Pinterest!

14 thoughts on “Why Pinterest is My New Favorite Writing Tool

  1. Suzy Turner says:

    I’ve been using Pinterest for a while now and I just LOVE my book mood boards. They really do help don’t they? If I’m taking a breather or I’m feeling a bit stuck, I just head on over, scroll through them and the cogs of my brain soon start whirring again!
    I just followed all your boards, Liz! 🙂

    • LizLong says:

      Thank you Suzy! Once I got into actually pinning (and searching for inspiration), it was so much fun! And you’re right–if you feel stuck, you can always go look at fun images and that might help-I love it! (And now I’ll go follow all YOUR boards!) 🙂

  2. Becca says:

    Y’know, I’ve kind of a poked around on Pinterest, used it a little for wedding planning, but never really got into it. The idea of creating a board for each writing project *never* crossed my mind, and now I’m all, “OMG, why haven’t I been doing this?!”

    • LizLong says:

      Excellent! It’s probably going to take over your life for a few nights when you really get going, but once I got into a steady rhythm (instead of blowing up everyone’s wall), I was amazed at how helpful it was just for my own benefit!

  3. Liz says:

    I never would’ve thought to use Pinterest as a way to gather inspiration. This is truly an awesome idea. I especially love the idea of taking photos in your own city and using them as inspiration for the setting in your book. The fictional town in a few of my works is loosely based on the city I live in.

    • LizLong says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad you can benefit from it–since it’s not about “getting repinned” for popularity, I like using it even if it’s “just for me”-meaning photos I take might not mean much to anyone else, but it’s SO helpful for me! Plus it was just fun to go around the city taking shots for “research” 😉

  4. trgraves says:

    I love Pinterest because it is amazing and inspirational. I also love to follow my favorite authors because it gives me a peek into their minds and the books they are writing. (✿◠‿◠)

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