How much time do you spend on Pinterest every day?
Don’t tell me minutes — I said be honest.
We’re talking hours here, right?
I confess to spending an obnoxious amount of time on my phone, computer, Kindle — any internet-connected device really — cruising my favorite categories and boards.
So much so, in fact, that sometimes…I feel guilty.
Pinterest is like the ultimate tool for turning a little bit of boredom into a very prolonged period of procrastination.
I waste SO much time I could spend on productive things like working on my next novel, finding new fans, or meeting some other indie authors.
You’ve felt the same way, right?
What if I said you could get in your fun time on Pinterest every day *while* also improving your current work-in-progress *and* growing your fanbase?
It can happen.
Let’s start with your writing process.
How do you brainstorm your characters?
I’m not talking about the basics (name, age, birthplace, job, etc.) — I’m talking about all the little details that turn a character sketch into a living, breathing person.
You *could* fill out a detailed character profile with a long list of likes/dislikes, goals, hopes, fears, and so on…
…OR you could create a board with pins for everything about your character on Pinterest.
Let me tell you a quick story.
Last month, just days before my final deadline to finish my second novel, my grandfather passed away.
It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it was heartbreaking nonetheless. After a week-long trip to Alabama to join my family in saying our goodbyes, I returned home and found I was completely disconnected from my work-in-progress.
My concentration was shot, my characters’ voices disappeared from my head — in short, I was lost.
So I found myself drifting on Pinterest, my go-to activity when I have no brain power left to expend.
And then I saw something, a random pin that reminded me of my main character. I did a little searching and found more pins that reminded me of my character.
Eventually I created a board and start adding all these pieces of my character’s personality until I had a visual representation of everything she stands for, everything she loves, everything that means something to her.
And just like that, I was back in business — ready to resume my writing.
I made boards for a few other characters and then expanded my reach, adding a board for The Pink Mermaid Motel (the setting for most scenes in the new book).
In ten days, I penned 15,000 words and wrapped my first complete manuscript for Book #2.
All because of Pinterest.
What should you add to a Pinterest character board?
Anything you find while surfing the web, anything you research for your characters, anything you stumble across on Pinterest — if it makes you think of your character or represents some part of who they are, PIN IT!
6 Character Pins to Look For:
What’s your character’s default style? Jeans and T-shirt? Glammed out? Preppy? Hipster?
Think of casual and special occasion outfits as well as their general style preferences. It’ll make things much easier when you’re writing a scene and can picture the swirl of her yellow skirt or the scuff marks on his leather boots.
Where does your character live? Not just the city — is it a house? Apartment? Studio? Loft? Condo? What does the bedroom look like? Is it sparsely decorated or incredibly extravagant?
From top to bottom (and believe me, you can EASILY get carried away with this) you can pin every item inside your character’s home (including items straight from online stores — don’t just go with what you can already find on.
Forget that flat list of things your character loves — go visual with T-shirts from their favorite sports teams, album covers from their favorite bands, and recipes for their favorite meals.
Does your character have a special hobby or talent? Carpentry, quilting, photography, martial arts, music — whatever your character’s into, it needs to go on the board!
Is part of your character’s back story tied to another city? Whether the emotions tied to that place are good or bad, images of a specific city or even a generic location (like the beach, subway, street corner, etc.) can help illustrate your character’s past.
6. Hopes & Dreams
What does your character aspire to do with his/her life? Does she have travel plans? Does he have career goals? Does she strive to be a better parent? Does he want to move somewhere exciting?
Whatever it is, pin some inspiration for your character — even inspirational quotes you think your character would like can help you get in touch with what’s going on inside his or her head.
What about creating Pinterest boards for scenes?
Don’t stop with just character boards!
Find inspiration for the settings in your novel with scene boards as well.
4 Ways to Visual Scenes & Settings on Pinterest:
If part(s) of your novel take place in a specific city, it’s time to do some research.
Look for restaurants, bars, parks, and landmarks your characters might come into contact with moving from scene to scene. Is there a promenade along a river? A crowded wine bar on city side street?
If your character uses mass transit, you might want to pin maps, images, and subway survival guides to your board.
2. Fantasy worlds
Even if you’re creating a world from scratch, you can still find inspiration for a Pinterest board.
Start big and work your way down to the details like you’re zooming in with a camera. Snowy mountain peaks, towering skyscrapers, fiery deserts — whatever your mind imagines, go there. Then start filling in the details — buildings, trees, houses, cars, people, animals, flowers, etc.
3. Indoor scenes
If a big chunk of your plot takes place inside a house, school, cruise ship or other structure, get to pinning some details your characters might notice about the interior.
Lockers, desks, cafeteria tables, and hallway layouts are important details for any high school (and don’t leave out those special spots characters can sneak away to like courtyards and under the ol’ bleachers).
For houses, palaces, and office buildings focus on the decor, furniture, and other room details.
Now let’s kick it up a notch!
5 Ways To Use Pinterest for Book Promotion
What if I told you could take the boards you created for your writing process and turn them into book promotions your fans will love?
It can totally happen (And the best part is — you’ve already created the content, so you don’t have to invest a bunch more of your time!).
I’ll back tomorrow with details on five ways you can use your Pinterest boards to find new fans and excite your existing fanbase.
More ideas for inspired pins?
In the meantime, can you think of some other character or scene influences that would make great pins?