How Pinterest Can Help You Write

The Writing Days / How Pinterest Can Help You Write

I have a confession to make: I’m madly in love with Pinterest. I have pin boards for everything from clothes and interior decorating to motivational quotes and – you guessed it – writing. While Pinterest is not always great for someone as prone to procrastination as I am, there are many cool things you can do with Pinterest that might actually increase your productivity and help you feel and stay inspired.

Visualising is key

And I do mean the key for almost anything. Seeing your ideas in visual form can help bring them to life. I have inspiration boards for many of my projects (for example, this one for my 2014 NaNoWriMo project), and whenever I feel like I’m stuck with my writing, I go back to look at the images. For me, pin boards help rekindle that original idea that got me interested in writing the story in the first place.

Explain yourself

As a writer and director, I still sometimes find that words fail me. Words can be interpreted in so many different ways that it’s almost impossible to check whether everyone is on the same page with me. That’s where images come in handy. By sharing a board, I can also share my ideas and get everyone working towards the same goal. This especially works in directing when I’m trying to explain the overall feeling of the work – that’s where words fail me most often. Explaining that vague feeling can be really difficult, so again – visualise.

Understand yourself

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” -Flannery O’Connor
(Yes, I found the quote on Pinterest.)

Often, I don’t even know what I mean until I see it in front of me. Sometimes I accomplish this by writing, and sometimes by Pinterest boards. When images start appealing to me visually, I can get a clearer idea of what I actually mean. When I write, a brand new idea might surface as a clear-as-day mental image, or a set of almost unattainable ideas that I spend many frustrating hours trying to write. When I look at pictures, my thoughts start clicking. Of course that’s what I mean!

Do it yourself

Writing is both an art and a craft, I think. I love handwriting, and it’s always a pleasure to see a physical work that I’ve made. Pinterest is heaven for the eager DIY-type like me. I pin images of zines, journals and writing prompts that I’d like to try, and they give me new ideas. Staying inspired by physically doing something is a great exercise in keeping my brain active and thinking.

Motivate yourself

You know, it does sometimes happen that I’m completely uninspired. No matter what I try, I can’t seem to get my writing flowing. That’s when I want to read advice and motivational quotes from other writers. They help with staying focused, and at least I’m learning about writing, if I’m not writing. (Psst! You can follow my writing. Pinterest board here.)

 

Granted, Pinterest is not always great, but when you learn to search for the right content, it can be very useful. I believe that seeing what I mean is also a way to understand myself. I never really understood my style until I could see unifying things in my Pinterest boards – so these are the things that appeal to me aesthetically! While Pinterest is also just a really fun activity to do, it can also be a method of self-reflection. And getting to know yourself as a writer is really important.

Do you have Pinterest? How do you use it? Do you visualise your writing in some way? Tell me in the comments, and make sure to link your Pinterest if you want. I’d really want to check them out.

Love,
Aino.

The Secret That’ll Get You Writing

I’m in that point in my master’s thesis where I have to hand in the first 20 pages… in two weeks. I’m calling my method a secret, perhaps a little mistakenly, but it’s taken me long enough to discover it. It’s certainly remained a secret from me long enough! While I’ve used this for thesis writing, it’ll work in any situation where you want and need to write effectively. So here’s the thing:

Make writing an event.

For me, that means making tea in my floral-patterned teapot, lighting a scented candle and putting my thinking cap on. Literally. It’s a white knitted turban and it makes me look like a bohemian thinker, or so I think at least. And that’s the only thing that matters. When you have things and rituals that take you away from your daily life, it’s easier to accept the role of a writer; to forget about being a student, a parent, a doctor, a flight attendant, a friend, a dancer, an enthusiastic knitter; to truly let yourself be a writer.

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Design a space where you feel inspired. Photo by me. Also found at instagram.com/ainotuulia

Sometimes making writing an event means breaking the ritual. If you usually sit behind a desk, take your laptop and try writing somewhere else. Your bed, kitchen, or bathroom floor are all creative hotspots. If they aren’t, you can always go somewhere else. I once built a pillow fort in my apartment for Camp NaNoWriMo, you know, because adults are allowed to do things like that. If you want to venture outside your home, try writing in libraries, cafés, parks… Anywhere!

Why is this important?

You know how you’re always told that writing is no-nonsense hard work that’s nothing like those romanticised views ignorant people keep spreading? Yeah, those things are all true. But if you have a persistent image in your head of a writer who types away by candlelight, dressed in an oversized sweater and fingerless gloves, while gloomy jazz plays softly in the background, maybe fulfilling that image will help you accept your writer-self. I mentioned the role of a writer – cast yourself as one! Don’t think about other people’s opinions on how professional and nonchalant you should be about writing. If you imagine a writer whose house is filled with flowers and who only writes in a dressing gown, then try what it’s like to be them. You can always change your mind later.

I think I’m going to try listening to recordings of typewriters the next time I sit in front of my laptop. It’s a sound that makes me so inspired! So why haven’t I thought of this before? I’m also thinking about redecorating my apartment a little, to make it match that bohemian artist and thinker I know is inside me.

Do you have any rituals connected with writing? Is there a writer outfit you wear, or a spot in your home that always does the trick? What’s the first image you see in your mind when you think about a writer? I’d love to know what you think!

Love,
Aino.

A Director’s Wish to a Playwright

I love writing plays. I think my strengths in writing are the visual aspect and dialogue – maybe because I love theatre so much. I often hear my characters talking in my head and simply write down what they say.

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I’ve also directed and acted in several plays, and there is one thing I wish I could tell playwrights.

Do not direct the play on page. 

The written play is used to interpret the story on stage. In prose, the writer has almost complete control over what ends up in the final story. In that sense, playwrights are different, because their story can look drastically different every time it’s performed. Sure, readers will interpret prose as well, but seeing a play on stage is much more concrete.

The images in a writer’s head are strong, I know that. The urge to paint as accurate a picture as possible can become overwhelming. But here’s the thing: A play can be written vividly, but the writer shouldn’t direct it.

Here’s what a play will look like to a writer:

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Work Methods: Your Way Is All Right

I love studying, and I often like to find out how others approach the same questions I’m faced with. The problem is, after I’d read a million texts on why planning your fiction writing was crucially important, I started believing it. I truly believed it was the only way to properly write a serious work of fiction. And things never worked out.

Luckily, I was wrong.

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Last winter, a creative writing teacher said something that made my writing change. It really wasn’t anything complicated, but I really needed someone to tell me:

Recognise your work methods, because everyone is different. Find what works and use that. 

Basically, as long as you’re writing, there are no wrong or right ways to get that text out of your head. I don’t know why I didn’t realise that myself, but I’m glad the realisation didn’t take any longer.

Example: Two Different Types of Work Methods

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The Pros and Cons of Collaborative Writing

I’ve recently taken part in several projects of collaborative writing. This method of writing is commonly used in theatre, and all of my experience comes from writing drama as well. However, I think similar experiences will occur in all forms of collaborative writing, whether it be drama, prose or even non-fiction.

Me and my friends at work on our most recent collaborative writing project. instagram.com/vaasanylioppilasteatteri

Me and my friends at work on our most recent collaborative writing project. instagram.com/vaasanylioppilasteatteri

THE PROS

Everyone can use their strengths.

The most beneficial side to writing in a group is that everyone is different. One is very skilled at writing believable dialogue, one can move the plot forward with ease, one is good at inventing new metaphors, etc. Each participant has their strengths that they bring to the table, and putting it all together will result in a work that carries all of these elements.

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DIY: Small Apartment Office Space with a Budget

I’m the kind of person who needs a separate working space. I need to have a place where I can set up all my notes, books and other material without cluttering the rest of my surroundings. Right now, I live in a studio apartment – so no separate office. Just having a desk in one corner doesn’t really work for me. It’s way too easy to get distracted and do something else every ten minutes, which has had a horrible impact on my productivity and concentration.

When I have all day to write, I often go to the library to work. However, I wanted a place at home where I could really focus on my studies and writing, but without spending a lot of money. So here’s my solution:

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