How To Use Pinterest To Improve Your Writing


When I write I have the scenes playing in my mind like a film scene and I need images for inspiration. Whether imagined or actual images, I need to ‘see’ the characters and the setting and buildings. I hit gold when I started to use pinterest as I am a highly visual person. I love art and photography, so this sight has an almost magnetic quality about it for a mind which soaks up the visual world.

I began using pinterest to ‘pin’ my ideas and create the atmosphere that I needed in order to write some of my scenes. I have added a clip of the board for Take Me the Castle to the beginning of this post but you can see the whole board here if you are interested.

You can also use scrivener, but I find pinterest quick and easy to use. There is a plethora of images already posted by others which you can search for, or you can pin your own images from any website by pasting the url, or add your own file.


Why and how does this help?

Some writers use prompts or music to help them to write. Jane Friedman has written a good article on prompts and Roz Morris has a blog about how writers use music to build their stories. If you are a visual person a collection of images can spark new ideas or link a character’s responses to his or her environment. It can help to put you in the scene and to think about how the characters will respond to a cliff edge, or a towering building, or a dark room.

According to neurolearning, ‘brainstorming activities of visual thinkers may be more productive if right hemispheric strategies of brainstorming and organization (mindmapping, doodling, free association, analogies) are undertaken. In fiction writing, often the most powerful writers are good at plumbing the strengths of both the right and left hemispheres.’ As a qualified teacher I can attest to the fact that children who are visual thinkers and learners engage more readily when the right side of their brain is stimulated with images and free drawing and mapping. You might be interested to know that most writers are in fact right brained, they use the right side of their brain to engage creativity more than the left side.

I would encourage you to have a look at pinterest and try pinning some images. I also have a board with writing quotes and information and boards with portraits and travel, which help to get the ideas flowing. Let me know if you have any other ideas for visual inspiration.


  1. miss_rosie says:

    ‘Magnetic quality’ is the right phrase indeed – a month, maybe two since I started to use Pinterest and it’s got me completely hooked! I too am a visual person (while music for the most part hinders my concentration/focus when writing) so creating my own board for my WIP has been gleefully helpful – and lots of fun! The danger, of course, is in kidding myself that pinning images counts as actual novel progress! There comes a point where I have to be firm with myself and resist the urge to keep on scrolling through endless pretty pictures …

    Your thoughts about the science of it all are interesting too – I always assumed I must be a left-brainer, being a writer; now I’m not so sure.


    1. fcmalby says:

      You’re right, Miss Rosie, you have to be disciplined enough not to get side tracked but it really can help with inspiration. I think many creative types are more right brained. Thanks for your comments. What are you writing?


  2. kirkykoo79 says:

    I haven’t explored Pinterest yet, as I wasn’t sure what to use it for. I’m a teacher too and I’d label myself as more auditory than visual, but your boards are really inspiring. I love the quotations.


    1. fcmalby says:

      Pinterest has some really good teaching resource boards. I’ll send you some links. It really is an untapped resource. I love it and the quotes are really inspiring. There are also some good recipe and craft boards for toddlers. I find it really useful for writing, in particular, and I use a lot of the portrait photos and landscapes for inspiration. Happy New Year!


      1. kirkykoo79 says:

        Thank you – I’d like to take a proper look even though I’m not teaching at the moment. (I left Alleyn’s – seem to remember reading you once worked not a million miles away – last summer to spend more time with my son. The recipe and craft ones would certainly be useful now! Happy New Year to you too!


      2. fcmalby says:

        It’s a small world. I taught at Dulwich College Prep. so I was just down the road from you! Enjoy the time with your son and have fun with the craft pages.


  3. I love Pinterest too – it’s such a visual treat and I’m not even a very visual person! 🙂 It’s a great idea to think of it as a place to mine for ideas and inspiration. Very helpful. Thanks! :o)


    1. fcmalby says:

      It’s has a wealth of ideas for writers, and the images of bookshops and libraries are beautiful. There are also many good writing quotes to keep you going. Your boards are all really interesting. Thanks for the comment.


  4. Cátia Silva says:

    I guess I’ll try you advise. Let see what I can achieve with that. Thanks.


    1. fcmalby says:

      Good luck, Cátia. Let me know if you need any help.


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