Why Pinterest May Be The Greatest Website For Writers: Part 1

There are countless social media sites out on the internet, each of them offering us different means to share our thoughts and life with other people. For authors, social media can help us out in many different ways. Book promotion, connecting with fans, networking with other authors… and that’s just to name a few.

A little while ago I was introduced to a site called Pinterest by a fellow author and let me tell you, I will be forever grateful to her for it. In this post, along with another one I shall be putting up in a couple days, I hope to give you a few reasons why I believe Pinterest is so useful for authors. Right now, I’m going to focus on the private side of Pinterest, and what it can do for you and your specific writing.

Character depictions, settings, random quotes that mesh with your story… Pinterest is full of pictures and photos just waiting to bring out your creativity. And once I was shown all of these possibilities, I became hooked.

When I write, I’ve always found it rather difficult to conjure up an image of my characters in my mind. Vague ideas? Yes, that I can do, but full-fledged representation? No chance in hell. And I know that I’m not the only author who suffers from this problem. I’ve chatted with others who also find picturing characters difficult. It’s a problems that can have devastating effects on work in progress writing projects and wreak havoc. Sometimes, if it’s really bad, it can stunt my writing and cause a serious case of writer’s block.

This is where Pinterest works wonderfully. For example, let’s say you know your character is female, blonde, and has hazel eyes. Type that into the search bar on Pinterest, hit Enter, and voila! Dozens upon dozens of pictures of blonde females with hazel eyes for you to search through and find your character. Now, it’s not always that simple – sometimes Pinterest requires a little more keyword refinement or tweaking, but it’s there. Something physical and tangible that you can pin to a board and have for reference sake.

I also use Pinterest for fashion-related dilemmas in my writing as well. Recently, I was writing a scene where my high school-aged characters were attending their prom. Of course, when you write a prom scene you need to know what your characters are wearing. Since I have difficulties picturing things in such detail in my head,  I needed to find visual representations of everything. Hair, makeup, dresses, suits, ties, shoes… See? I’m not lying. Literally everything.

Pinterest made my life so much easier for this as well. I spend hours searching through its contents, pinning anything and everything I thought might possibly work for what I was looking for, and eventually ended up with pages of images to choose from and form my magical evening for my characters. And it helped. When I sat down the next time to work on that prom scene, I had a clear head to write. No barriers or questions arose about the visual and what everything looked like. All I had to worry about were the actual words being written down on the page.

As I’ve mentioned before, I write collaboratively with one of my friends for a series of short stories. Separately, we created a number of characters, each with a set description of the way they look, and since then, have thrown those characters into short stories together. Sometimes I will write a story involving her character, or she’ll write one involving mine. During these moments, descriptions can get rather challenging, since I am not the creator of her character, nor is she of mine. This is where Pinterest takes on yet another form of usefulness for us.

Pinterest has two types of boards: public and secret. Public boards are pretty self-explanatory I think. Secret boards are too – they can only be viewed by the creator of the board. Now Pinterest has a way that you can share a board with others and make them collaborators of it. This is what me and my writing friend do. Boards that involve characters we need for our collaborative project are shared between the both of us, and pins are added of physical representations of all things necessary for us to know. So with a couple of clicks of my mouse, I can have access to a picture of her main character, or the school that she goes to, or the outfit she was wearing for a particular scene of a short story. All of this information which is crucial for the continuity of our stories, I can see without having to bother my co-collaborator every single time I have a question. It makes writing so much easier, I can say that with entire confidence.

So there are just a few reasons why I think Pinterest is extremely useful for writers. Of course, this is only Part 1 of my reasonings – in the next few days I’ll post some more, this time focusing on the more public side of Pinterest and what it can do for writers in a more general fashion.

As always, keep writing everyone!

Until next time.

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Writer’s Block: Rearing Its Ugly Head

I believe (though someone correct me if I’m wrong) that this is the first time since I’ve started this blog that I’ve actually posted more than one entry in the same month. I know, pathetic, right?

Getting to the matters of writing, I have to say that writer’s block is currently my biggest problem right now. My friend and I managed to finish up two short stories in our collaboration that were WAY overdue to be completed – like we started these things back in July of last year, that’s how long it’s taken. Other than those two pieces (which maybe needed 500 words each, tops) I’ve unfortunately been stuck.

The story I mentioned in my last post which I was going to work on as come to a complete standstill and it’s all thanks to lack of interesting plot. See, I’m at the point in this novel(la?) where I need time to pass, though nothing really interesting happens. I know I could do a time-jump and just put a “6 Months Later” heading in the text and just continue writing, but I’m not really sure if I want to do that yet. It also probably doesn’t help that I’m no longer certain the span of time this story is actually supposed to extend over. I thought I knew before, but all that’s changed recently since I’m editing another book that takes place in the same universe, same time frame. So now I’m not sure. Enter writer’s block on this particular manuscript.

And then I’ve got the collaboration which I’m doing with my friend. Again, same universe, but this time a different time frame which is set at least a couple years later. So why the writer’s block, you may ask? Well this one has to do with lack of inspiration instead… although I guess it’s also related to plot as well… But anyway, the semantics of the situation isn’t the point I’m trying to make here. What I’m doing a terrible job of saying is that when my friend and I started working on this collaboration we wrote down a list of all the short stories we wanted to tell with our characters. We agreed that it was the chance for us to see them in a different, more mature and grown up light. Weddings, funerals, career decisions… those were just some of the big things we wanted to touch on. The project started in July of last year and in those first few months we probably wrote 30,000 words – maybe even more.

Now fast forward to today. All of the initial “big” ideas and stories we wanted to tell have pretty much been written now, leaving the straggling, fragmented ones left. Yes, we still have more we want to write, but the amount of time and energy it’s going to take into making those partial ideas whole is a lot to tackle together, let alone when living an hour or so away from each other. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that little wrench in the works? We don’t get to see each other much and have had to resort to Skype dates along with the absolutely amazing editing function of Google Docs. To be perfectly honest, I’m not surprised that writer’s block as reared its ugly head in this scenario.

So here I am, stuck on two projects because I either can’t translate the ideas from my head to the page (or I guess technically it would be the keyboard or word document…), and I’m frustrated as anything. Don’t you find that whenever there’s finally time to write, that’s always when it becomes the hardest to do so? I guess in a way that’s Murphy’s Law for you right there.

Well, beyond my ranting about yet another bout of writer’s block, I don’t really have much to share writing-wise. You’ll have to excuse my lack of usual “wisdom” (Okay, I can’t even write that without cracking up) – let’s go with the moral that usually sums up whatever entry it is I’ve written; my favourite tennis player just lost a semi-final match early (like 3:30am start time early) this morning and I’m still bummed out by it. So there you have it – interesting fact about me: I’m a sports nut, tennis being one of the sports I’m super nutty over.

But without further ado, I shall end this blog post now and stop rambling. Keep writing, everyone.

Until next time.

Collaboration

So I’ve decided to try something new. I’ve written a series of novels in a universe. My friend has written a novel in a universe. A writing date at one of the local coffee shops and now we’ve decided our main characters are going to meet.

Collaboration.

Yeah, I know, this is a new step.

I’ve been editing for the past few months now and it’s driving me completely crazy. I know in my last post I said that I was going to pick back up working on a novella. That didn’t go very well. I think I managed to write two sentences before I got stuck again. Fun stuff, right? Writer’s block – gotta love it. So instead I jumped back on the editing bandwagon… which went well for the first 500 words or so but no more. I got stuck since I have it in the back of my mind that I need to completely rewrite the ending of the second book in the series. What do I do when I get stuck? I go make a coffee writing date with my writing friend and talk stuff out until it makes sense. We got talking and very soon I had a new ending that actually made logical sense.

That was two and a half weeks ago.

Fast forward to the beginning of last week now. I texted her up and asked her to have another writing session. We met up and just for jokes one of us (I can’t remember which one at the moment) mentioned that my main character and her main character would have a very interesting conversation if they were to ever meet up. One thing led to the next, and soon we have a whole timeline planned out with their lives crossing paths.

So now here I am. We started writing the piece (still unnamed) two days ago and already it’s over 3000 words. It’s definitely a challenge – I’m learning to write her character and she’s learning to write mine, but it’s challenging in a way that both of us really have needed. We’ve both been at a standstill in our own individual projects for a couple months now, so to work on something new in quasi-familiar, yet still uncharted territory is good for us.

I bet you’re wondering why I’m writing this entry. Or maybe you’re curious to find out what my amazing words of wisdom are (highly doubt that one but you never know). Or perhaps (and this is probably the most likely reason) you just like to laugh at the posts I write. Anyway, I’m writing this not really for any particular reason. I’m excited to see where this collaboration piece will go. I can’t wait to learn where my character and my friend’s character will lead us and what stories they still have to tell.

That’s all I have to say for now. Hopefully the next time I make a new post I’ll have more to say about this collaboration.

Keep writing everyone and next time you want something fun to write, find a fellow writing friend and try a collaborative piece. Who knows, maybe it’ll be the next best seller 😉