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 Spring and Summer Bucket List for Writers (Free Printable!)

The Writing Days / The Spring and Summer Bucket List for Writers (Free Printable!)Hi guys and my sincerest apologies for the long absence! I’ve been so busy with everything else that I had to drop something for a while. I’m feeling more energetic now, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back to posting several times a week. The lovely spring weather here in Finland is definitely helping.

Today I thought I’d do something different, so I made a printable you can download. It’s a spring and summer bucket list for writers with several writing prompts and activities you can do to inspire your writing during the warm months. Here it is!

summerbucketlist-thewritingdays

If you use any of the prompts, let me know! It’d be lovely to read what different kinds of texts the same prompts can inspire. Also, share your summer activities on your blog and let me know how you keep yourself writing during the summer – always up for new ideas, I am. I’m also thinking about starting a summer writing competition on my Instagram, so if you have an account, follow @thewritingdays_blog on IG for more updates on that later.

Get writing!

Love,
Aino.

Friday Favourites: Playlists for Writing

The Writing Days / Friday Favourites: Playlists for Writing

This week on Friday Favourites, I want to share some of the playlists that I use when I write. I find that music is great for my concentration, and listening to music can help my writing flow better. So here are some suggestions! Let me know what you think of them.

I’m cooler on the internet

This playlist is great for tasks like blogging, answering e-mails and posting on social media. The upbeat music makes me feel like I’m accomplishing things, and really just fits the aesthetic I like.

Post sunrise inspiration

I return to this playlist when I’m looking for flow. The music is both relaxing and energising at the same time, and it works great for writing emotionally big scenes.

Endless nights of studying playlist

I know it says studying and by all means, use it for studying as well. I’ve had dozens of wonderful daydreams while listening to this playlist, dozing off under a blanket… This playlist is perfect for thinking up new ideas, brainstorming and exploring the world of your story.

I dream on two wheels

This playlist sounds like spring! Take yourself (and your notebook) on a picnic, enjoy the sun and feel inspired. The music is great for writing upbeat, happy scenes and bright moments.

Do you use music when you write? Do you find it helpful or distracting? What are your favourite playlists or artists to listen to when writing? Leave a comment!

Love,
Aino

That First Paragraph

I’m pretty sure I’m crawling up to a checkpoint with my thesis. It’s not massive, but all the more important:

Writing the first sentences of the first draft.

To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve delayed it too much, but here I go. I’ve done a lot of reading and finally have enough ideas to start writing. I’m not advancing chronologically either. Instead, I decided to write whatever seems most relevant at the time. Right now it’s a short description of the content of my material.

I’m still struggling with my theory. Somehow I feel like I don’t have enough to start writing my theoretical background, because I’m hesitant on what actually is relevant for my study.

Progress, however, feels wonderful.

Do you have any tips or thoughts? How do you know when you know enough – or do you write and then see what you need to research?

Love,
Aino.

5 Things I’ve Learned About Feedback

Earlier this  year, I was accepted into a project that gives six playwrights the opportunity to get feedback on a play. We meet once a month to learn from professional writers and talk about our texts, all the while writing new drafts to make them better. Here’s what I’ve learned about feedback:

1. Others will see what you have missed.
Everyone’s experiences and lives are different, so getting feedback in a group will show you different interpretations of your text. You’ll get access to worlds and opinions you couldn’t otherwise reach, which is extremely valuable. I’ve learned most of my strengths and weaknesses as a writer from feedback.

2. First, accept all feedback.
Writing is a sensitive art, I know. When you first get feedback, try to listen to every opinion. They’re all possible interpretations. If someone points out that they didn’t understand your text, don’t get too defensive. See if there’s something you can do about it. Also, sometimes it’s better to take feedback quietly. Don’t start defending your work out loud.

3. Next, choose what feedback you want to accept.
If you’re in a group, there’s always someone who doesn’t like all the things that are crucial to your text. When you’ve got your feedback, really go through what advice you want to use to make your text better and what’s just trying to write a different text. Someone told you they didn’t like first person narrators in your story – fine, but why should you change them? Remember that feedback is the subjective point of view of one person.

I was once in a group where one person said he didn’t believe my story and that my characters were cold and didn’t care about each other. I had a blast watching the other group members defend my work, saying they read it in an exactly opposite way. Stick to what you think is important! Most readers will respond to that.

4. Defend your text on paper.
You don’t have to explain yourself out loud when getting feedback. Instead, rewrite your text to show what advice you want to take on and what you want to discard. If you like the first person narrator, keep it. If you think yes, my story should have more conflict, write more conflict. Your work will reflect your decisions and make it better – and that’s why we give and get feedback.

5. Give respectful feedback.
This will make an entire post later, but in short: give your feedback well. Point out the positive things; give general comments on issues that could be developed; point out some small details you both like and wish the writer to improve; return to summarise the good in the text. Ask questions and give broad suggestions instead of saying do this, not that. Remember that you’re giving critique on a text that’s important to the writer – treat them both with respect.

Give and get feedback well, and your text will become so much better.

Love,
Aino.

A Love Letter to NaNoWriMo

I’ve known you for seven years now. We meet at least once a year, sometimes twice, but you need to know I never stop thinking about you. I miss you – Septembers and Februaries are the worst, and the months leading up to meeting you fill me with joy. The thought of not getting to meet you fills me with dread.

image

Editing my Camp NaNo.

You’ve taught me so much about myself.
I feel complete when I’m with you. You make me a better writer with every meeting. You’ve inspired me to be brave and accept myself and my mind. You make sure I stick to schedule, because you know my procrastinating ways. You encourage me every step of the way because you believe in me.

You’ve changed my life.
Without you, I would’ve never succeeded like I have now. You’ve given me the courage to pursue my goals and take myself seriously. You’ve taught me about making mistakes and learning from them.

You make me laugh.
I just have the best time with you. You help me laugh at myself, and I get to laugh with you. Life is more fun when you’re around. All your amazing participants are the best at conversation and support.

You’ve changed my life and I can never thank you enough. I love you. Thank you for these amazing years, and I hope there are many more for us.

I love you, NaNoWriMo.

Love,
Aino.

Psst! NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a lover I want to share. November is almost here – go check out their website.