What’s the Deal with Pinterest?

Are you on Pinterest? Once again a family member—this time my sister-in-law—had talked me into branching out on social media. Which led me to Pinterest.


For almost a year, I had a Pinterest board that I ignored. I didn’t quite get why I should use Pinterest. It seemed too simplistic. It also reminded me too much of scrapbooking—something at which I failed miserably. I still have a drawer full of photos I never placed in photo albums. So as a novice pinner, I didn’t have a plan. I repinned six photos culled from the ones sent by Pinterest because they looked interesting and had a vague connection to my high fantasy novel. I ran out of motivation after that.

Over the months, strangers from around the world repinned the same photo of dyed sheep from my board (see below). Pinterest kept emailing notifications like a persistent wooer. I wanted to say, “Shoo!” and close down my account despite the fact that some of the strangers began to follow that board.

Dyed Sheep

I was content to keep ignoring my board until a blogger I know wrote a post on how she used her Pinterest boards as inspiration for her book. That gave me an idea: perhaps I could do the same. But she had several boards. I didn’t understand why anyone would have more than one.

I had switched to a different WIP by that point and was stuck on how to proceed with it. Usually when I’m stuck on a project, I switch to another creative outlet: drawing, making 3D models out of paper, or crocheting—something visual and tactile. But this time, I turned to Pinterest. I had named my inaugural board Inspiration. Now I needed to be inspired.

When I was a kid, Pinterest was a notebook, some tape or glue, scissors, and a bunch of magazines out of which I cut pictures. In other words, Pinterest didn’t exist except through my physical labor. But as I think about the hours I spent cutting out magazine photos, I remember how inspired I was by the photos I found—inspired enough to hunt them down, display them in a notebook, and then write stories based on those pictures.


After figuring out how to search for photos on my computer, Pinterest, or elsewhere online, I added to the Inspiration board, then started a different one—More Inspiration. (It was either that title, Inspiration 2, or Inspiration the Sequel. Do you see why Hollywood never hired me to title films?) I repinned eye-catching photos that made me feel something: joyful, nostalgic, or just plain awed. But I had added so many different categories of items on one board—animals, plants, etc. I was ready for a third board—Animals in My Books. That board led to a fourth—Plants and Trees in My Books. Are you sensing a pattern here?

So, what’s the deal with Pinterest? I would answer that question this way: it’s fun and easy to do. Adding photos to various boards gave my brain something it needed—visual reminders of possibilities.

Today I have 19 boards. And that novel I wasn’t sure about? I finished a draft that I’m now revising. While I didn’t value Pinterest at first, I’m glad I tried it. Sometimes the simplest tasks can lead to great breakthroughs in other places.

So, are you on Pinterest? What do you like about it?

Dyed sheep from themetapicture. Pinterest logo steadydemand.com. Construction paper, scissors, et al from mysheenvillage.com.

42 thoughts on “What’s the Deal with Pinterest?

  1. I was like you, it took me a while to really figure Pinterest out. I’m one of those who “casts” her novels, so I use it a lot for that now, though I also include things like architecture in my novels’ worlds, things like that. And then I have random boards for pretty things, amusing things, recipes, that sort of thing, too.

    • I do the same thing, except I haven’t put cast pictures up yet. 🙂 I have those on my computer though. I have boards on crochet projects and beautiful nature or animal photos.

  2. I’m on there, but I don’t really do much. I pin my Tuesday Teasers and new books, but I always forget about the dang thing. Part of the reason is because I get lost in there. A lot of clothing people on there too.

  3. I’m not on Pinterest, but I’ve been told many times I should be. But I feel like I can barely keep up with the social media I’m on already. Instagram is another one I should probably join. Sigh.

    • I haven’t yet joined Instagram or Snapchat. I don’t want the notifications on my phone. I’m also barely keeping up with social media. Haven’t been on Facebook in days!

      • Yes, I don’t do much with Facebook. And I don’t allow any notifications on my phone except for Twitter, because it’s easy to miss mentions on that otherwise. But I’d go crazy if I received blog, FB, Google+, etc. notifications all day long. 🙂

      • I’m on Twitter, but didn’t sign up for the notifications. Just the thought of hearing the phone ding every few minutes is stressful.

  4. Oh I so need to talk to you about Pinterest! I opened a Pinterest account to see a kitten or something more than a month ago. I have done NOTHING there but your post has motivated me a bit. I need a happy place to play. I have tried Instagram because I love to take pictures but it involves much of the same ‘liking’ and I get all befuddled keeping up with commenting so my Instagram has lost all forward motion. I love old barns and rural pictures and there is no shortage of those at Pinterest. I want to post my pictures but I don’t want people to feel like they have to come to my blog and tell me how wonderful they are when they aren’t.. 🙂

    • At least with Pinterest I’ve never felt as obligated to like something (though I have liked many photos). I’ve noticed several people who have O likes yet over one thousand followers. Perhaps they made a policy to avoid the pressure of pressing the like button. If so, good for them. So I think you’ll find a happy place on Pinterest, especially since you never have to comment if you don’t want to. I rarely comment.

      I don’t have a lot of followers on Pinterest. But I’m enjoying it. I’ve uploaded many of my own photos and drawings. I’ve seen plenty of old barns. I love nature photos.

  5. I am more tactile…I love to search printed material, fabrics, found objects like ribbons, shells etc and physically cut, paste, arrange etc. I get lost in the process, and also use a variety of paths to create. (ie-hands on manipulation, 3-dimensional representation, etc)

    That’s my ‘play time.’ It also reveals inner secrets that surface as the creations emerge.

    • Good on you, Laura! I have my 3D boxes. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. 🙂 I turned to Pinterest because I ran out of glue and glitter and stuff that I used to have on hand more when I taught second and third graders in Sunday School. 😀

  6. Sounds like you found an amazingly productive way to use Pinterest, Linda. I do have an account but mainly use it for looking at recipes and delicious food that I’ll probably never make. 🙂 But you’ve inspired me to use it for the forces of good, so I’ll have to take another peek!

    • Kudos to you for adding that slice of chocolate cake. 😉 I like your vision board. I appreciate having something you add to and place before you somewhere. That’s the only drawback to Pinterest. It’s online. I’m a tactile person. I love ripping calendar pages off and writing notes by hand.

  7. I am on Pinterest, but, as you once were, I am still in a navigational phase, which is lasting a long time, trying to figure out what to do with it. I have taken inspiration for a table setting or recipe, now that I think about it, but, that’s mostly like what I used to do, which was cutting such things from magazines.

    • I have some house stuff too, but mostly ideas for characters’ houses. But it is a good place to find recipes and craft patterns. I don’t have a recipe board though. If I start one, it will need to have a connection to my fiction books.

  8. I’m still on Pinterest, and I don’t know why! 🙂
    It hasn’t done anything for me and I haven’t really done anything on it, so I’m thinking of closing my account.

    I’m glad to hear that it has fuelled your inspiration. Way to go!

    • Thanks, Timi. I know what you mean. I was tempted to close mine too. The good thing about Pinterest is that it is not a “must do this.” I don’t feel the slightest obligation to it, unlike Facebook.

  9. I love Pinterest. It’s great for inspiration. I use it for inspiration for clothing, for plants, for landscapes… I used it to research book cover designs too, and I even have a board which is just called Art I like. It took me a while to figure out who to make it work for me too, but then I think that’s the case for any new form of social media. I’m not a very early adopter. Then again, I don’t really see Pinterest as social media. I don’t care if no one follows or looks at my pinterest – I do it for me so I can look back through my boards when I need to.

  10. I don’t really see Pinterest as ‘social media’ because there’s less interaction there — at least as far as I’m concerned. I use it like a large, virtual corkboard. I also dragged my feet signing up. Now I’m glad I did. I go back frequently to look at things I’ve posted there — recipes, inspiration, notes, quotes. It’s far easier to keep track of them a bazillion scraps of paper and a hundred images stashed in files I can’t ever find without hours of looking.

    Not that I don’t spend hours of looking on Pinterest, but I consider that research. 😀

    • I’m following you on Pinterest too. I didn’t consider it that way either. But it’s categorized as social media, since you can comment and like things and send messages to people.

  11. I don’t use Pinterest for writing, but I do use it to cleanse my brain. It’s the one social media place I go when I don’t want to think or interact. I scroll, like and pin photos of weird architecture and clothes I cannot afford. My board “Help! I’m Married to an Architect!” is pretty popular on Pinterest. I laugh at how many real architects and architecture and design firms follow it. If I turn my one internet haven into a place for work, I won’t have anywhere to go. Ha.

    • I’m following you on Pinterest. I’ve seen several of your pins. 🙂 I also love Pinterest for that reason. As you mentioned, I don’t have to think or judge. I can just relax and look at pretty pictures.

  12. I’m not on Pinterest, L. Marie. I think I might go insane if I had to manage another form of social media.Being the crafty person that you are, I’m not surprised you’re on it. 🙂

    • It has been very addictive. I don’t blame you though for not succumbing. While the majority of pinners have been lovely, some seem to use Pinterest as an excuse to showcase porn. 😦 I do not appreciate that, especially when a stranger follows my boards and Pinterest suggests that I follow back. But when I click on that person’s profile, I arrive at boards with repugnant images.

  13. I use Pinterest as a form of stress relief. I love fantasy artwork, and every once in a while I spend time finding new artwork to pin to my boards. I enjoy just looking at the pictures. I do have a board for my book with pictures that remind me of what I think my characters look like and such, but I do more with fantasy artwork in general.

  14. I’m on Pinterest. One of my favorite boards is my “art, design, and color” board. I fill it with photos of small details of nature that form a design. I’ve found some beautiful pictures. I also have boards related to my books and also a board with all the photos I’ve used on my blog.

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