Pinterest
Pinterest might not seem like an obvious source of writing inspiration, but it can be if you know what to search for. (Illustration by Erik Ojo, Northeastern University)
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Pinterest

The site is much more than just wedding, craft and travel ideas.

Pinterest, when dropped in daily conversation, is generally associated with wedding plans and house remodels. But, if you are someone with a creative streak, the site offers so much more — in fact, it offers an unbelievable amount of source material.

If you have not yet had the pleasure of being exposed to Pinterest, the site is a wonder-filled place for anyone who might want to produce a creative work. In particular, if you are a hopeful writer, a professional or simply someone who writes for the sheer joy of it, the site can be an explorative place that can help you push out of a possible writer’s block or momentary imaginative slump.

The site’s development began back in 2009 and has only expanded since. Essentially, users can manage and organize images, or pins, into boards of their own creation. Users are also the ones responsible for the creation of these pins, and boards can be shared or made private as each user sees fit.

Pinterest lends itself to be a place where creative minds can create their own organized groupings of inspiration. However, because the site is so large in the topics it covers, a new user can be overwhelmed when first entering into the world of Pinterest. Some of its most popular searches and trending topics include crafts, clothing and home décor — not exactly the items you want to search for when in need of writing inspiration.

So, here are five ways the site can be used by the aspiring writer.

1. Written Prompts

It may seem painfully blatant, but Pinterest contains an insane number of writing prompts. Simply type “writing prompts” into the search bar and you can get lost for hours with all the search results.

The prompts literally span every aspect and genre you can possibly think to imagine. Some prompts are fairly straight forward, such as “Write a list of 25 sentences that all start with the word ‘green.’ Just see if something interesting happens …. ” Exercises like this one are everywhere on the site. Perhaps, though, you want something more direct, such as “Describe a thunderstorm through the eyes of a 5-year-old child.

The prompts get more and more creative as you keep digging. One of the more creative prompts is “Once a year, the second moon rises.” With so many possibilities as to what that line could possibly be, it will most likely bring about different results in each individual writer.

There are also dialogue prompts if you need a kickstart in beginning a conversation. For example, “What’s the little blinking light mean?” to which someone of your own creation answers, “It means … wait, blinking?”

2. Visual Prompts

Maybe you need a visual to spark your writing frenzy. Do not worry; Pinterest also has boards and users that explicitly create content for the more visual learners among us.

A lazy frog looks at the sky … what could he be imagining? You sit in front of a stone arch covered in moss, how did you get there? The floor of your house has collapsed in on itself, what happened? Any possible visual you could imagine has its own corner of occupation on the site. The best part is if you find something that does inspire you, clicking on that image will connect you with images and boards of that same nature.

3. Advice

Writing, especially creative writing, is a practice that you have to keep doing to get better at — at least, that seems to be the staple advice given to young writers. Yet, it can never hurt to have some more concrete tips in your back pocket.

If you type “writing tips” into the search bar, you will find pins ranging from how to create believable character development to realistic dialogue creation. The tips get even more specific as you keep going: the breakdown of specific genre plot points (science fiction, romance or mystery), how to describe eye color, editors’ pet peeves or even a pin on how to write a character with a secret identity.

4. Current Writers’ Boards

It’s no surprise that many current, famous and published authors have Pinterest accounts you can follow with multiple boards. Take a chance and type your preferred author’s name in the search engine, and you might find they have been using the site for a while.

One of my favorite authors, Sarah J. Maas, has her own account that I follow with a board for each of her novels. There you will find images upon images, quotes and tidbits that encapsulate some of your favorite worlds and may even give you the perfect platform to create your own original story.

Also, if you really think about it, it’s pretty cool to be in direct contact with the same inspiration that has touched the minds of authors you personally love.

5. Authors’ Quotes

Aside from possibly following your preferred author’s account on Pinterest, if you simply search their name for content, up will pop quotes they have both written in their works and quotes they have given in reference to creativity.

If I were to sit in front of my computer screen and type in “Neil Gaiman,” I would be flooded with copious amounts of his work and his personal thoughts. For instance, a quote comes up from his novel “Coraline”: “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

Even more specifically aimed at the future novelist is Neil Gaiman’s eight rules to writing. You never know what gems you’ll find simply by tying an author’s name into the search engine.

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