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Pinterest: The Ultimate Writing Resource

Be honest…

How much time do you spend on Pinterest every day?

pinterest infographicDon’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.

Which one of those sounds like more fun?

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 goes!

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:

1. Style

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.

2. Surroundings

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.

3. Interests

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.

character pinterest board

4. Hobbies/Skills

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!

5. Origins/Past

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:

1. Real cities

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.

pink mermaid motel

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?

  • S.K.Falls

    I love this idea! Thanks for the tip–I’m off to do this right now.

    • Awesome! It’s a lot of fun, but I probably should have suggested using a timer to make sure you don’t get lost on Pinterest for days :-) I have a tendency to do that!

  • Alan Place

    On a regular basis, I rarely use Pinterest; I use mainly my Weebly blog combined with StumbleUpon, RebelMouse and G+.I do spend a lot of time on my laptop but that is because I am always writing stories or doing researches on line :)

    • Sounds good Alan! I’m glad we have so many social media networks that each of us can find one we enjoy using. :-)

  • sarah pj white

    thanks for this – some really great ideas – I’d never thought of using Pinterest for character boards!

    • You’re welcome Sarah! Warning: Once you start you won’t be able to stop! :-)

  • MPax

    I’m a Pinterest slacker, but like it when I’m on it, probably wasting at least 20 minutes. Love your suggestion of the character boards. Fab!

    • I definitely go through phases with Pinterest, where I stay away from it for a while and then jump on it and wind up spending a lot of time there. It’s always a better experience though when I’m browsing with a purpose, so I think you’ll find you enjoy it even more when creating a character board!

  • I use Pinterest for research and I’ve also used it for characters but I never thought about doing it for a scene. Nice idea! Thanks! (I’m KarlaAkins on Pinterest and RMDC is my current work in progress board. Can’t wait to see yours!)

    • Awesome Karla! I will look you up and be sure to follow your board. It’s SO much fun I could easily get carried away with it…I probably already have!

  • Helen Ross

    Once again great information. I also hadn’t thought of using Pinterest for this. My boards are looking very bare so this is a wonderful way to inspire me.

  • Debra Marvin

    I do this for each book but haven’t gone to just a single character yet. I stay off Pinterest unless I’m too hazy to write. But then I find I’m on there for an hour or two and it’s midnight!

    looks like it’s easier to do for a contemporary character. “What kind of car does your character drive?” Answer–doesn’t even has his own dog cart much less brougham…

    fun post!!

  • Jessica Rydill

    I’ve been meaning to add a question! I use Pinterest a lot and was enthused by your blog post. I have been wondering about signing up to Pinterest for business, I was going to ask what you think of that option? Many thanks!

  • Sammi G.

    Wow great idea thanx