Pin-spiration for Writers

Image by Peter Alfred Hess (CC BY 2.0)

By Corina Koch MacLeod
According to Forbes, Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social media platforms in 2012.

Pinterest allows you to create online pin boards – not unlike the cork boards of yesteryear (minus the push pins and the terror of sticking yourself) – that enable you to collectorganize and store images that interest you. 

Why is it so popular?

In a sea of words, a beautifully crafted image can be an island oasis. Images can convey a great deal of information with impressive economy, and arguably make welcome demands on our word-saturated brains. Where tweets are the shorthand of the blog form, a “pin” is a world of meaning at a glance.

How is it used?

Interior designers collect images of furniture, fabric, wallpaper and accessories that inspire them, authors gather images that elicit time and place of a published or current writing project, publishers create boards that feature book covers and images related to book themes, and artists showcase online “sketch” books.

Pinterest and writing?

As discussed in this post, students (and even professional writers) are sometimes at a loss for what to write. Why not steal a trick from artists and designers and encourage your students to keep an inspiration board? As students collect images that inspire, surpriseand yes, even disturb them, they’ll get a better sense of the inner workings of their writing brain. 

Professional writers know that it’s easiest to write about what you careabout, what excites you, what distresses you, what interestsyou and what you know. Gathering images that reflect these sentiments is one way of breaking past barriers to writing. It’s also a productive form of procrastination.
Try this:
Set a timer for five minutes. Encourage students to pin as many images as they can. At the end of five minutes, have them choose one image and discuss it with a peer. Why did they choose that image? What does it make them think about or feel? Now ask them to write about it.

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