When words bog you down and writer's block looms, it can be helpful to switch creative modes. Spending time looking at images can stimulate different parts of your brain and get your creativity flowing again.
Pinterest is a treasure trove of images, all collected in intriguing, sometimes in evocative ways. Here are some ways to use Pinterest to stimulate your writing, whether you are in need of new ideas or are stumped in the middle of a project:
1. Abandoned. Enter the word "abandoned" into the search box. Scroll down until you find an image of an abandoned house or building that speaks to you.
- Who was the last person to live there? Why did they leave? Write a poem or paragraph from that person's point of view, explaining what happened.
2. Memories. Using either your first or your last name, perform a search by "Pinner." That is, find the Pinterest page of a complete stranger with your name, and spend a few minutes looking through it. Try to imagine his or her life.
- Create five early childhood memories for this person, using the images as touchstones for these made-up memories. You can use all or some of these memories in a poem or short story.
3. Faraway City. Enter the name of a distant city that you have never visited into the search box. Look through the images of this city, including the ones that don't necessarily seem relevant. Then close the browser and quickly describe what you've seen. What images stuck with you? Be as specific and concrete possible.
- Write a poem or paragraph about your imagined version of the city. Or, you can drop your character into the city and have him or her walk around. What happens?
4. What's Left Out? Find the Pinterest page of a random user, perhaps by clicking on an image you find appealing. Be sure to find one with a number of different boards and a great deal of pins -- one that reveals a lot about the person's life. But no one can include every part of their life, and no one would want to. What about their vices, their addictions, their terrible mistakes?
- Imagine what these might be and make a list of the parts of this person's life that he or she has left off of their Pinterest.
5. Colors. Enter the name of a color into the search box. Make sure it's a specific color, like "sea green," "cobalt blue," or "butter yellow."
- Find five objects on the page that appeal to you. Arrange them into a poem or paragraph, using the color you chose as a guiding theme.
6. Found Text. From the home page, click on the button that says "Popular." Scroll down this page and find three or four images that include text -- sayings, quotations or anything else.
- Copy these pieces of text and use them in a poem or paragraph. Feel free to rearrange them as much or as little as you want.
7. Theft. Go to the Pinterest home page and click on the "Categories" button. Choose a category that appeals to you and click it. On that page, count images of objects until you get to the seventh one. Do this two or three times until you find an object that you can use.
- Write a poem or paragraph that explains why someone decides to steal this object. If you're in the middle of a project, you can use this next exercise to develop your character.
8. Room. Enter the words "strange room," "beautiful room," "ideal room," or "ideal room" into the search box.
- Choose a room that interests you, and write a poem or story about waking up in this room. Describe it. How did you get there? Do you know where you are? What do you smell or hear? What happens next?
9. Old Photograph. Type "old photograph" into the search box. Scroll down until you find one that tickles your imagination.
- Write about it: How did it come to be? Who took it? What happened just before the picture was taken? What happened just after?
10. Everything. Go to the home page and click the "Everything" button.
Try to use something from each of the first two rows of images, in order, in a paragraph or poem. Be disciplined, and don't skip something just because it seems impossible to use. If it's a recipe, you can use a word or line from it. If it's a picture of a wedding dress, use the ideas of marriage, a wedding ceremony or just a dress.
I welcome your comments below.
Wishing you great success,