Doing Digital: Using Pinterest as a Digital Mood Board

Category: Writing
Tagged: Doing Digital

Like it or not, Pinterest seems set to stay. And, if you are a skeptic like me but still want to get involved as a writer, there are several ways you can make use of the image-oriented social platform to go beyond salad recipes and wedding planning. Back in the pre-social days, you got out a notebook and used it as a place to build the world of your novel, filling it with images of places you liked, names of potential characters, maps, even hairstyles and clothing choices. A novelling scrapbook, if you will. Think of Pinterest as the digital version of that, with a lot less effort and a much wider reach. Once you have taken the plunge and set up your account, there are a few things to consider that will help you hit the ground running.

Uses for the image-oriented social platform go beyond salad recipes and wedding planning

Decide how to organize
One of the most important parts of using Pinterest for mood boarding a work is deciding how to organize your boards. First, do you want to one board per story and include in that board all the things that might work as scrapbook reminders? For instance, do you have one huge board that has character images, names, locations, images of all the details of setting that you might find useful? Or do you break it up over several specialised boards, such as: a board for creating your setting, character attributes, buildings, homes, and more? There is no right way to make this work for you, but there is one key factor: sticking to it.

Stick to it
There is nothing more confusing and annoying that wanting to find that one wee detail you need, and being unable to in a disorganised Pinterest board. Once your boards have lots of pins (some people have upwards of 30,000 pins) it can take a lot of time and feel demoralising to look for a particular one with no luck. Avoid this. Whether you decide to use one big board per work, or choose to separate out the big elements and let them have separate boards, stick to it. If you stick to a certain form of organisation that you are comfortable with and know how to use, you will be better able to navigate your work and find what you wanted.

When arranging the mood board of your novel, the best thing you can do is just get stuck in

Label, label, describe
When you are considering how you want to arrange the mood board of your novel, the best thing you can do is to just get stuck in. The second best thing you can do is to make notes on your pins so that you have three important pieces of information available for when you return to a pin. You need to label it. If you have a board for character looks and you have forty pins that look somewhat similar, you want to be able to differentiate between which may belong to each character. So give the pin a name that attaches it to a character, place, or important part of your story. Secondly, label where you got the image. Not only does this help you get away from the murky waters of ownership in Pinterest (I won’t get into that here), it also allows you to go back to the original location and see what other images the site offers. Finally, describe. Use the description field like a place to stick Post-Its to remind you why you chose that image and how you might want to use it. After all, once you put that much energy into your Pinterest board, it’s great to remember why.