One of the things I used to love about Michael Crichton – aside from the exciting content of his books – was the back matter where he spoke of his research and the inspiration for each novel. The back matter for Jurassic Park alone looks like the reading list for a Master’s degree in paleontology!
It was a geek dream to read his bibliographic list.
As a writer, there are three exciting highpoints in the process: 1. conceiving of a killer story idea, 2. doing research, and 3. the creative surge that comes with writing. (Alternatively, designing the cover and making your first sale are serious highs of note.)
The Internet makes research so much easier than the Dark Ages prior to the late 20th century. Pinterest adds a whole new dimension to not only the writing experience (in terms of inspiration and research), but in terms of maintaining a virtual relationship with your readers.
You can create boards of research for yourself as you write and then release it for the dedicated fans that may wish to use the resources for book clubs or forums/discussion groups or for the geeks that want to learn more about the subjects that inspired the book.
Would writers be brave enough to open their process to complete transparency? Would they create boards that illustrated their journey with a book (from conception to development and finally to print)? That I cannot answer.
I'm not sure even I am that brave! But that fear tells me I probably should do it.
I wasn’t very impressed with Pinterest when a friend suggested it in 2011. In fact, I signed up after much prodding to look at something and I left the account untouched for a couple of years. I surrendered to it eventually, though I only have a very small presence in the medium (comparatively).
Despite not being the girliest of girls (I never was), I do maintain two other boards on jewelry and the iconic little black dress. Maybe it’s not girly; it may just be an FIT thing.
I spent time on Pinterest looking at collections of things I like or find interesting: costume prints, hats, Victorian furniture, Edwardian jewelry, wedding cakes, lighthouses, porcelain, maps, illuminated manuscripts, art deco design… This is relaxing inasmuch as it allows me to look at pretty things and empty my head of worries.
This led to my curating a board on fountain pens.
Finally, the last handful of boards was created as companion pieces to my writing efforts:
Amapola Press – links to books and special offers
Food Goddess blog – links to articles written, the cookbooks, and recipes
Bacon! – created in response to a joke and as a love letter to my International Bacon Posse
Coffee – from recipes, to coffee-inspired art to art made directly from coffee
Gastronomy – the most ambitious of my boards, it curates food-related infographics (a visual virtual resource guide that covers anything from recipes, to equipment, to ingredients and cuisines).
I also keep a secret board called CLARITY that serves as a sort of anti-inspirational resource to remind me to trust my instincts even if it’s a slightly nagging thing that registers as a single tiny mosquito doing fly-bys within earshot.
I am not done creating boards, though I suspect that because I want to limit the amount of time I spend online (or rather I wish to optimize it because I recognize that I do spend a lot of time online), I will never have a hundred boards.
The quality of the boards will probably be higher grade if I keep it at a relative low number, but also I want to curate these collections with care.
Pinterest offers another way to communicate and should not be taken for granted because it is mostly a visual tool. It's what's at the heart of the pins that offers true heft and depth.