“Are you on Pinterest?” When teacher after teacher asked me this last school year, I figured it was time for me to finally see what it was all about. After all, I’m supposed to be the tech person in my school building! I was more than a little reluctant, though, because I already am a neglectful blogger, sporadic tweeter, and half-hearted Facebooker. I really didn’t need the guilt of another social media account I couldn’t keep up with.
In Pinterest, if there are any of you not “on it” yet, you create pinboards of topics that interest you, then you “pin” pictures and links that you come across on the Internet. It’s social because people can follow you and you can follow others—whole accounts or just the “boards” of theirs that interest you. If you see something of theirs that interests you, you can repin it to your boards.
So…I joined. Back then you had to get an invitation to join. Now you can request an account. As I signed up, I read Pinterest’s tag line: “Pinterest is an online pinboard. Organize and share things you love.” Hmm, organize. I liked that. Sharing’s good. And visual is always a plus in my book.
Then I started creating boards--and I realized that Pinterest was really quite different than Twitter or Facebook or blogging. Rather than yet another stream that I felt obligated to contribute to and check, my Pinterest account had the capability of being something useful to me all by itself. As the months have gone by, as expected, I haven’t done a lot with the social aspect of Pinterest, but I have come to love it for the organizing and inspiring my reading and writing life.
I’m still definitely a fledgling pinner. But, if you’re a reluctant pinner like I was, here are some board ideas that might get you started pinning.
- This one is less for me than for my readers, but I created a board for each of my books. For example, my upcoming middle grade mystery, MALCOLM AT MIDNIGHT’s board has pins of photos of old schools, sketches I drew as I wrote, articles about the amazingness of rats, my book trailer, interviews I’ve done, reviews, anything for anyone who’s looking for more about the book…it’s all there. Pinning a link or photo to Pinterest is SO much easier than uploading a photo or a link to my website. It looks better, too. And I can link from my website directly to this board.
- A board of writing ideas. I’m constantly coming across things on the internet that fascinate me. I used to keep a private blog where I jotted down these story “seeds,” as I call them. Now, I pin them. It’s so fun to see an article on Ghengis Khan pinned next to one on the discovery of a new planet that might have water. It’s my favorite board to browse because the ideas can't help but percolate.
- A board of writing tips. I’ve gotten a whole writing education off of the generosity of blogging writers. Many of these invaluable posts I’ve bookmarked through the years, but I didn’t often go back to them, because sometimes the titles are a little obscure and I’d forget what they were about. Now that I’ve pinned them, not only do I have the visual, but I can write a line or two about what I found valuable in that article.
- A board of my favorite blog/articles I’ve written. I’ve blogged on and off for…eight years (?! ). While most of my posts are pretty forgettable, there are a few I’m kind of proud of. Pinterest allows me to highlight these, instead of having them lost in a jungle of posts complaining about my children and how they won’t allow me to write.
- Boards of favorite books. I also blog at Sleuth, Spies, and Alibis, and recently, I used Pinterest to create a board of new young adult and middle grade mysteries coming out this fall. So much easier than typing them all out! And there’s nothing prettier than a page full of great book covers!
- A board of research links for my work-in-progress. As I work on my new manuscript, I’ll be creating a board for that book even before it gets published. Kind of like my own scrapbook of inspiration—pictures of settings, characters, and links to research that I might need to refer back to.
Want to know more about Pinterest for writers? I found these articles and posts especially helpful:
- Writers, Why It's Time to Renew Your Love Affair with Pinterest (Kirsten Lamb's Blog)
- Pinterest for Readers and Writers
- Pinterest Things Writers Should Know (Rachelle Gardner)
- Very Pinteresting!: The Hot Social Network is Taking Educators by Storm (Kate Messner, School Library Journal)
*Not to be confused with PINING for middle grade (of which I am also guilty).
W.H. Beck (www.whbeck.com) is an elementary school librarian and the author of MALCOLM AT MIDNIGHT, a middle grade mystery starring classroom pets at midnight. It comes out on the first day of school (Sept. 4--next week)! Her Pinterest boards can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/whbeck.