Pin it!

pinterestI’ve finally found a use for Pinterest. I’d heard several authors mention that they use the site for collecting images that inspire their writing or for organizing their ideas. Neither worked for me, so I wrote Pinterest off as a place to browse recipes.

Then I began research for a new YA historical fiction manuscript, Ella Wood.

ella wood kindle insertSuddenly my “Downloads” folder was being swamped with photos of historic people, old inventions, locations in antebellum Charleston, cover images to old books, artwork, Civil War battlefields, flags, charts, maps, and all sorts of other investigative debris. I finally smacked my palm against my forehead and uploaded them all to Pinterest.

Then I realized I could deposit facts along with my pictures. I began summarizing events, posting dates, and adding how a particular person or place was relevant to my plot. This cut down on a lot of checking back through digital note files, as so much of my important groundwork information was now easily accessible. I also linked images to the websites from which they were gleaned or to related ones, creating a quick file to further information, should I need it. The system worked fabulously!

Once my novel was finished, I publicized my board and posted the link at the front of the book. Now readers have a whole database of images and trivia to browse through to compliment the story. For someone like me, that adds real depth and richness to the plot and grounds it in actual history. As a reader, I’d be thrilled to be provided such a source!

Ella WoodI only wish I had started sooner. It took some time to really figure out how to make the best use of Pinterest’s format—and to remember to do so as I researched. I know plenty of great images got away from me early on simply because I didn’t want to download everything I found to my computer. As memory kicks in, I’ve been searching for a few of those escapees and adding them in.

The second book in my trilogy, Blood Moon, is currently underway. I’m only 15,000 words in and already my new board has nearly as many images as the first one. I will never write another historical fiction novel without Pinterest!


me3Michelle Isenhoff is currently biking to the moon and back. Between rides, she spends a good deal of time nosing stories out of dusty old tomes.



About Michelle Isenhoff

MICHELLE ISENHOFF has been reader-nominated for a Cybils Award, the Great Michigan Read, and the Maine Student Book Award. She's also placed as a semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Review Book Awards and been named a finalist in the kid-judged Wishing Shelf Book Awards. A former teacher and current homeschooler, Michelle has been lauded by the education community for the literary quality of her work, which is regularly purchased for classroom use.

11 thoughts on “Pin it!

  1. That’s awesome, Michelle! I’d never even thought about using Pinterest that way. Like you, I’d given it over to recipe ideas, but never had any other use for it. I love the idea of sharing the folder when you release the book! Well done!

    1. I think a lot of users ‘advertised’ it as the go-to place to find recipes and DIYs & that made people think that that was the site’s sole purpose.It happened to me with tumblr.I thought it was a site for fans to post .gifs of their favorite couples,so when I posted links to articles on writing,I was surprised by how many people showed interest.What I’ve learned is that we should use social media the way we want and works for us (not the way others tell us,this site is for this,that site is for that) and those who want,will follow 🙂

  2. Pinterest, like many social media sites, never really struck a chord with me (probably having to do with my anti-social nature, being an only child and all 😉 ). I made an account and threw up some images, but never did much else with it. Maybe I’ll have to revisit it sometime soon. Great post!

  3. Yes, I know another author who does this, Michelle! Great idea! I haven’t tackled Pinterest yet, what with so many social media outlets and so little time! LOL! Cheers for a great post!

  4. Thanks, you everyone. I only tackle media when I find a use for it. Otherwise it just seems like a waste of time. But this one worked for me, very specifically and very well.

  5. So,you’re using Pinterest to give bonus features of your books!That’s a great idea!I use Pinterest to gather images that inspire me,too (on private boards for now),but sometimes I feel like I’m addicted to the pin it button.Still,it’s a lot better than downloading the images to my computer.

    1. Yeah, it’s great free storage area. And as you mentioned under Linda’s comment, it’s the tool. Make IT work for YOU, and give up whatever has YOU working for IT. 🙂

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