I can hear you already: ‘Hannah, I do not need another social media distraction in my life. I am trying to be a writer, not a professional social media mogul. And also, please do not refer to Pinterest as your bae. Get an actual boyfriend.’
Valid objections. I can definitely see your points.
Distractions or delays to your writing come in all shapes and sizes – some we cannot control (children, appliances going on the fritz, other hobbies), and some we willingly let into our life (Netflix, ice cream, an obsession with [insert your current love here]). And it’s the latter that most of us find it really hard to battle, especially in today’s society where the Internet is just so tempting.
So why is Pinterest important for writers and why should you give it a chance? One big fat word: INSPIRATION.
I started using Pinterest maybe a year ago, and didn’t really get what it was about. At first, I thought it was a swankier looking version of Polyvore, which I’ve never managed to get on with particularly, but then as time went on, I figured out how to use it and eventually incorporated it into my writing process.
How? Boards. Maybe you have a cork board above your writing space, or a whiteboard, or just a wall you stick pictures to – well, Pinterest is a virtual version of that. Except you can have a board for each story, for each book series, for whatever you want and if you like to be clutter free and organised like me, it’s an OCD dream!
We all know that being inspired can make or break your writing groove. We can spend hours waiting for that lightning bolt to strike us and drive us to write an entire manuscript in one sitting. News flash: that probably won’t happen. Margaret Atwood said, ‘if I waited for inspiration, I would never write a word’ and that’s true, because it comes and goes like a changing wind. The truth is, as Jack London put it, ‘you can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.’
Pinterest is just one ‘club’ you can use to kick start your creative juices. I’ve lost count of the times where I’ve been stuck on a plot point, or lacking direction for a character and I’ve seen a picture or quote on Pinterest that’s made me go, ‘THAT’S IT!’. I also have friends (remember my other pep talk about how important they are??) who send me pins that they think might inspire me, and a fresh angle from an outside source has saved my story more than a few times!
There are also hundreds of boards devoted to character ideas, setting and location shots (for every genre), writing prompts, gifs of people using special abilities…whatever you need, I can bet you’ll find it there. And yes, you should be careful how much time you spend on there because if you get a taste for it, you can spend hours creating the perfect mood board when you should spend hours writing. However, if you’re disciplined, it can be a fantastic tool that could seriously make a difference in your writing routine!
Hannah Davies is an English Literature student, Junior Editor at independent publisher Patchwork Press and Creative Submission Editor for the University of Greenwich’s magazine Latitude Lookout. When not working or studying, she can usually be found creating new recipes, riding buses, or mothering everyone around her. Her debut short story Scorpio was published in the Patchwork Press anthology Polaris Awakening May 2015.