Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Pinterest for Writers – Research and Collaboration

by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyADict

Pinterest is a great tool for writers!
Today I get to write about my favorite social media format: Pinterest. People visit Pinterest to relieve stress, find information, get inspired, and just plain have fun. It’s a great place to go for entertainment and education. It’s also a great tool for writers.

Now, gentlemen, don’t check out. Yes, Pinterest has been heavily skewed toward female users in the past, but the number of men on the site is growing. Don’t believe me? Check out this article from Business Insider to see cool things men are sharing on this hot media platform: How Men UsePinterest

Note: One of the first areas the article showcases is booklists. How fabulous is that?!

Pinterest for Writers
The potential ways writers can use Pinterest are vast. Today we’re going investigate two: research and collaboration.

Using Pinterest Boards for Research
The value of Pinterest is its ability to collect large amounts of data into usable groupings. In the past, a bride-to-be would have gathered ideas for her wedding in a notebook. Now, she can save those snippets to a Pinterest board and have another board for how she wants to decorate her home. Authors can do the same thing for their writing ideas. Here are a few types of boards to give you inspiration:
  • Character Boards: Need to define your new character? How about having a board with pictures of his clothes, hobbies, hometown, car, favorite music, etc. When you look at this board, you’re in this character’s head. What better time to write about him?
  • Time Period Boards: Writing a book set in the 1930’s? Create boards to show you important aspects of the time – pertinent events, clothing, prices, magazine covers, historic figures, landmarks.
  • Procedural Boards: Need information about a specific career or scientific field of study? Find articles and tips from leading industry experts and put them all in one place.
  • Writing Quotes and Articles Boards: Struggling with writing motivation? Collect articles and quotes to keep you moving forward. You can also find new bloggers and industry specialists to help you improve your writing skills. Click here to see my Pinterest writing quotes and articles board. https://www.pinterest.com/efficiencyadict/writing-tips-and-encouragement/

Adding notes to your board.
Board Tip #1: Pinterest boards can be public or secret. Don’t want your followers to know about your new book, yet? Keep it secret. Then, make the board public when you’re ready.

Board Tip #2: When you save a picture/article to your board, add notes regarding how you want to use it or why it’s important. You can do this by clicking the pencil below the picture. This allows you to change the text that describes the pin, making it more relevant to you. (Pic 1)

Collaboration with Pinterest
If you’re working with another author on a project, Pinterest can be a big help. Each board you create has the ability to become a “collaboration board.” 

Picture 2
Simply click the edit button, then go to the bottom of the menu and invite the author to join the board. This allows you and the other writer to save items to the board. You can now share ideas, leave notes for each other, etc. (Pics 2 and 3)

Picture 3

I’m currently co-writing a book with another author. Before we started developing chapters, we created a secret Pinterest board to collect ideas for our manuscript. Some of the benefits we’ve noticed include
  • The Ability to Review and Debate Options: Our story is set in a Victorian home. My co-author and I saved multiple examples of Victorian houses to our joint board. We were able to share, discuss, and discard pictures until we found an example we both liked.
  • The Value of Using Pictures Over Words: We found pictures of people to represent each of our main characters. We could have simply written a description on a Word document. However, by using the pictures, each of our voices and vision came through in the manuscript. We each described the character differently because what caught our attention in the pictures was different. This helped keep our voices, and those of our characters, distinct.
  • Quick Clarification: Whenever one of us had trouble describing something to the other person, we found a picture of it. This made our meaning clear and helped us move forward more rapidly.
  • Planning: As we came up with new ideas, we saved them to the board. Even if we don’t use them in this book, we’ll have options for future collaboration.

Collaboration Tip #1: If you’re part of a series of books or novellas created by multiple authors, see if they’d like to participate in a Pinterest collaboration board. This can help you share ideas and keep overlapping characters or settings clear.

Collaboration Tip #2: Does the art department need ideas for your book cover? Share your Pinterest board with them. They’ll see exactly what inspired you as you created this story.

Want more tips for how to use Pinterest for Research? Check out this article on Almost An Author about Pinterest research collections. http://www.almostanauthor.com/pinterest-for-writing-research/

How do you use Pinterest for research and collaboration? Please share your ideas in the comments section.


Cynthia Owens is The Efficiency Addict, a technical trainer helping writers, speakers and small business owners work more effectively. She runs www.TheEfficiencyAddict.com, which specializes in computer training, business organization, career development and event coordination. 

Connect with Cynthia on Twitter and Pinterest.

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  1. Outstanding article! Thank you so very much for the many new insights you provided for using Pinterest. It is one of my favorite Social Media venues. Blessings to you! :)

    MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA


    1. Glad you got some new ideas, MaryAnn. Would love to hear feedback on any you try.

  2. Pinterest shows me what and where my audience's interests are now. I know the latest topics to present to an audience in difference fields of interest too. Pinterest pictures and layouts inspires me in my photo shoots for my blog posts. It's a great and productive tool in extending my out reach in a simple media.
    Great article, Cynthia.
    Write on!

    1. Learning about your audience's interests are big reason to use Pinterest. We'll be talking about that in a future post. As always, you're ahead of the curve, Carolyn!

  3. Although I'm a non-fiction writer, I'm seeing several applications for keeping client product images and brainstorming their blog posts etc. Great ideas. Thank you!

    1. Hadn't thought about using Pinterest that way. Good tip, Ursula. Thanks!

  4. Fabulous and informative. Thanks for the great info!

  5. Thanks for the info on using Pinterest for writing ideas. I love Pinterest for the beautiful pictures and quotes. Now I can use it in a new way.

  6. What a truly outstanding article. I appreciate the practical, doable insights. Well researched, and well written. Excellent.