We’ve discussed Facebook, Twitter, and a number of listening resources available to you on the Internet to enhance your writing life. At this point, you are probably screaming, “Enough, Nicole! There simply aren’t enough hours in the day!” Believe me, I hear you. However, I want to present you with all of the fabulousness that is available to you, so you can decide which pieces work for you and which serve merely as distractions from the number one goal of each day: writing more.
To that end, I present to you the latest and greatest in social media trends: Pinterest. At first glance, this may seem like nothing more than a play-thing; a visual candy store where the window shoppers of life can waste away the hours on their web connected devices. At first you may think this has no place in your writing life because of it’s severe lack of words. I say this because, at first, this is what I thought.
I ignored Pinterest for nearly a year. I had a saved invite in my inbox that I feared accepting. I thought, for sure, this will doom all productivity for good. A couple of months ago, I finally found a need for Pinterest, and now that I’ve been playing with it, I understand how it can fit in my writing life in a way that enhances it rather than detracts from it.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is, first and foremost, a service that allows us each to become the curators of our own collected beautiful finds. When you find something you like on the Internet, you “pin” it to a “board” which you can name anything from “My New Summer Wardrobe” to “Blue.” You can create multiple boards, you can pin as many items to the board as you would like, you can add descriptions to the boards and the pins and you can share you boards. Other Pinterest users, known as “pinners” can “like” a board or a particular pin , they can “repin” stuff to their own boards and they can start to follow you and your collections. In short, this is what it is all about. There are, of course, more fun features. like allowing others to pin on one of your boards as well, but let’s start with just the basics for now.
Some writers have a blog. Some writers write guest posts. Some writers write for multiple websites. Finally, some writers do a combination of all of these things. Why not create a virtual portfolio for yourself using Pinterest? You can either gather writings based on who they were written for, or, instead, create boards that describe what they are about. Do you write fan fiction? Why not create a board called “My Fan Fiction” and add in the description what type it is.Watch fellow pinning fans leap onto your work and start sharing it around. If you have your own blog where you have been coming back to one character/story over and over again intermittently between other writings, why not give this story its own board? Remember you can make a board for anything. In that way, Pinterest can serve as a virtual portfolio, showcasing whichever works you wish to pin there, in whichever type of arrangement you would like.
THE CATCH? If something is to be pinned, it needs to have an image to pin it to. This is your only limitation.
Pinterest As a Platform
While writers may need a portfolio to show off their writing, in the 21st century everybody needs a platform. This is, I think, a little bit more fun and artistic than creating a portfolio. According to Creative Penn, a platform can be described in the following way:
The author platform is how you are currently reaching an audience of book-buying people, or how you plan to do so. It is your influence, your ability to sell to your market. It is your multi-faceted book marketing machine!
So let’s think of it this way – you are ready to start selling your book and in order to do that you are going to use Pinterest to sell YOU! Janet Boyer wrote an excellent post about how to do this and shared some fantastic examples of authors doing it as we speak in a post for #amwriting. Rather than rehash all that she said here, I’d rather just send you on your merry way over there to see what she has to say. In short, if you are using Pinterest to build your platform, I should be able to go to your Pinterest page and get a feel for the essence of you, what you are interested in and, most importantly, what you are writing about.
Pinterest for Inspiration
Wait, wait. I should have said “Pinterest for PINspiration” that would have been cuter. Alas. I will let it stand.
In the previous two sections I discussed how we present our boards to the pinning public. What has been left to last is the wonderful world of exploring. This is tons of fun, but **WARNING** this is also where lots and lots of time can be lost! Whether you have writer’s block, you’re looking for the perfect outfit or setting for one of your characters, or you need some sage words of advice, chance are you can find any one of these things on Pinterest. At the top of the Pinterest page there is a search bar where you can type in “purple outfit” or “Victorian home” or “Inspirational quotes” or anything else you can muster up! Image upon image matching your search will cover your screen. As you make more and more pinning friends, you won’t even have to use the search bar – you’ll find enough fodder right on your front page from everything they’ve been pinning while you’ve been busy writing.
Oh yeah… that. WRITING. Don’t forget about it! In fact, enough of this Pinterest business from me, let’s get back to our other word-weaving so that we have things for our Pinterest portfolio, so we can create a pin-able author’s platform and so, someday, pinners will be searching to become curators of our great creations!