A How-To Guide for Writers on Pinterest

Pinterest can be a fantastic tool for cataloging information from home improvement ideas to parenting tips. Did you know that you can also use Pinterest as a writing tool? True, it is not a great platform for interacting one-on-one with other people. Fortunately, writing involves a lot of solitary time for research and inspiration.

Signing up for Pinterest (C’mon, you know you already have an account)

The process of creating a Pinterest account is relatively simple if you don’t already have one. I have my Pinterest linked to my Facebook account, making registration quick and straightforward. If you don’t want to connect your social media accounts, you can create a new account with your email address. (If you do decide to create a Pinterest profile using Facebook, it will use the email address associated with your Facebook account.)

Private v. Public Boards

Once your Pinterest account is created, you can start pinning articles, websites, images, etc. You pin these resources to collections called boards. These boards can be public, meaning anyone can view the items you save here. If you would prefer to keep your content private, when you create your board, just set the button to “Secret.”

Secret Pinterest Board Dialog Box
Click the “Secret” button to make your board private.

However, if you do not make your board private, you may notice that people can follow your board, meaning they will receive notifications when you add resources. You can also follow other boards in the same way, receiving alerts when things are added to the boards you follow.

Creating Pins

So, you have created a board for your writing project (or a single aspect of it like research, aesthetic, or technical advice), now you ready to add pins! A pin is an icon with an image and link attached that consists of the resource you want to add to your board. Think of it like the push pin that holds a photograph to your corkboard at home above your desk.

There are a couple of different methods for creating a pin.

Creating a Pin On Pinterest

You can add a pin to Pinterest directly on the website.

Create a Pin button on Pinterest
Click the plus button beside the search bar on Pinterest to open the dialog box which allows you to create a Pin.
Create a Pin Dialog Box with all features
Add an image, link, and description to create a Pin. The more information you provide, the more useful the Pin will be in the future.
Create a Pin Dialog Box with the option to insert website URL
Enter a website URL to generate a Pin.

The above option is customizable within the website itself. However, there is one other option to creating Pins that does not require entering the website.

Creating a Pin Using the Pinterest Browser Extension(Google Chrome)

If you prefer, you can add the Pinterest browser extension to your web browser. I installed this extension through the Chrome Web Store.

Chrome Extension for Pinterest from Chrome Web Store
Add the Pinterest extension to your Google Chrome and pin directly from your browser!

Once you have downloaded the extension it will show in your web browser along with any other extensions you have, next to the URL search bar.

During your research, you can use the extension to Pin a webpage, or webpage resource such as an image, without navigating to Pinterest itself. From the resource’s webpage, you will click the browser extension icon and create the Pin according to the following steps.

Pinterest Extension in Browser Example
The Pinterest Browser Extension will install and be available from your browser next to the URL search bar.
Pinning from Browser Selecting Image for Link
Once you click on the Pinterest browser extension you will be prompted to choose an image that accompanies the link.
Select a board for your pin from Pinterest extension
Once you choose the image you want to pin you must select the board you want to pin to. Clicking “Pin” finalizes the pin creation and will automatically exit you from the dialog box, returning you to the webpage.

Creating Writing-Centric Boards

You may have various preferences for how you conduct research and get inspiration for your writing projects. Pinterest boards are just one of a myriad of ways you can compile and optionally display your resources, inspiration, etc.

Boards can be organized into subboards, allowing you to more specifically sort resources under a broad subject. For instance, creating a board for your writing project, then subboards for the various aspects of writing your story. I have broken my WIP board down into three subboards, aesthetic, research, and general writing advice.

Aesthetic

Creating a writing aesthetic means compiling things that capture the feeling you want to convey in your novel or things that place you in the mood to write your particular story. For instance, my current WIP is a YA fantasy about medieval witches. My writing board for this project is filled with art of witches, witchy items, spells, and other Wicca related resources. The artwork enables me to visualize the atmosphere I want to convey in my writing. The spells and witchy items likewise provide inspiration for actual scene setting and plot.

(WIP aesthetic example)

Research

Similar to things that might capture the feeling of your story, research that you compile can range from images of clothing, historical or fantasy objects, incantations, recipes, myths and fairy tales, charts, etc. On my WIP board, I separated pins that I consider specific to research for that story from pins of more general writing advice.

(WIP research example)

General Writing Advice

This is an optional subboard and can really be its own topic board if desired. I have one separate board for “Writing Inspiration” pins. Then I have my individual writing project boards with writing advice pins that I feel more succinctly meet my needs for that story. This can encompass avoiding bad writing habits like using the word “very” too much to ways to write believable emotional scenes.

(WIP writing advice example)

Happy Pinning!

In conclusion, I hope I was able to provide some helpful information on how to use Pinterest as a writer. Pinterest, unlike other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, provides an interesting format that is more accessible to the user than followers. I love the box format of displaying my information and find the layout particularly helpful with images.

Check out my other posts on writing advice and inspiration!

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