First up, if you haven’t already checked out Part One (The Writer's Best Friend) and Part Two (Do it once, do it right) of this series, click the links! There are some fantastic tips there for new or existing Pinterest users.
I am also not being paid by anyone to write this post, I’m doing it purely because I value Pinterest as a tool for writers – they have not approached me for endorsement.
I make no secret of my love for Pinterest, and before I say anything more, I need to be clear that I have not been approached by anyone from Pinterest, and I’m not being paid for writing about it; I’m doing my bit to help other writers (or creatives), it’s as simple as that.
As an author or business person on Pinterest, the one thing you want above all else is to be recognisable – to STAND OUT. In my last Quick Tip post I discussed setting up your profile, specifically your bio, username, and image, and I briefly mentioned board cover images and descriptions. This post relates directly to them.
What learning is how to inject the ‘flavour’ of you and your writing (or business) into your account and become immediately recognisable as YOU. If you haven’t considered it yet, I strongly urge you to create a brand for your business (you can see mine all over this website AND my Pinterest account). I suggest you do this early, as this is one of the most striking ways to make yourself visible and identifiable – think colour, font, a logo, or consistent imaging. DO YOUR RESEARCH – there’s more to branding than simply popping your name on something – it’s a chance to create a striking, instantly appealing signature that is yours alone (for more on this, try my Promotion Board on Pinterest).
The basic anatomy of your Pinterest account is: your bio, your boards (very much like a folder), sections (like dividers in your folder), and pins (the items you place under each divided section). You can also make an image from each board the ‘board cover image,’ this is the highlighted image that stays at the front no matter how many pins you add to the board. You give each board a title, and you’re given a limited number of characters to describe each board.
So, how in this limited space, can you show your brand and personality? The key is to be consistent, concise, and clever.
As I discussed last Quick Tip, I group my boards by type: About me, Business boards, Reading boards, and Writing boards. My first strategy here is alphabetisation (Pinterest organises boards and sections alphabetically by default, and I’ve tried to safeguard my organisation by running with that (so it won’t matter too much if Pinterest, for whatever reason, lists differently on different devices). My second strategy is COVER IMAGE. This is potentially the bigger attention grabber because this is where you can showcase your brand on each image and employ colour to clearly define the group your boards belong to. You can add text to these images to further explain what they’re about without having to click to get board description.
When you’re entering the description for these boards, write a concise essence of what the board is about, then add hashtags that will lead potential viewers right to your boards (viewers can search hashtags and all the boards with those hashtags included will come up – you want your board to be on that list!). I always include my specific hashtags #emilylarkins and #emilylarkinsauthor, as well as #amwriting on writing boards #amreading on reading boards and #businesstools on my business boards. Do some research, and try to anticipate what your potential viewers might search for, like #shortstorytools on a board for short story writing. I aim for a 50:50 balance of description and hashtags in the allowed character limit.
Once your board is cleverly named and described, use your cover images to your advantage. Sticking with the default is fine, but risks your account looking generic. Board covers are a massive opportunity to make your account stand out. It’s where you can get clever: using Canva (this is the site I use) or a similar image creation site, design your own cover images that include: the name of the board, a one sentence description of what it’s about, always include your website address, and/or your name, AND use your brand colours and logo if you have one. I also include my profile image. Cover images can be a real asset to your Pinterest account, and you can set the pin address to redirect straight to that board so when a viewer clicks on the image, it takes them to that board. Viewers can then save your board cover image right to their own boards, and when they click on that image it takes them straight to your board! Alternately, whatever pin you create can link directly to any web address you like, so it can link to your website, book purchase pages, and so on, so lead your viewers to YOU.
Do you have more ideas on how to inject your brand into your Pinterest boards? If so, please share them in the comments!
Help, I can’t find my insert list name here!
I’m a note-jotter, list writer, and an idea scrawler by nature. Without a quick tidy now and then, I’ll end up with a desk covered in squares of memo cube, and notebooks with warped covers from my tucking odd scraps of lists inside. Since I’ve had children, my previously exceptional memory for diary dates and lists has faded to almost nothing. I’ve become reliant on writing things down; if I don’t, I can kiss that idea goodbye. One of my biggest annoyances is remembering routines, and beyond that, where I’ve jotted them down.
But there is an easier way!
My magic Quick Tip to help you keep those high-use essentials at hand: PLANNER FOLDOUTS! They’re a quick, simple tool to create and use, and you can make them for almost anything you like. I’m not talking divider sections, or bookmarks, but sections that fold right out from the front or back cover of your planner.
Because of Planner Foldouts, I no longer need to try and recall from memory, or search through multiple notebooks and sheets of paper for items I use regularly. I know exactly where they are and they take just seconds to locate. I can fold a list out when I need it, refer to it for as long as required, and fold it back in when I’m done.
I think you’ll love them as much as I do, so I’ll walk you through, step by step.
Planner Foldouts are a timesaving lifeline I use almost every day. With Foldouts I can free up more thought space for writing. It’s a win-win.” – Emily Larkins.
Create your own awesome planner foldouts!
Planner Foldouts are actually really easy to make, and you can make them to suit you and any journal or planner you’re working from.
For this set of steps, all you need is your journal, a list/set of steps/quick reference table of your choice (I’m using my Start and End of Week Check-In lists. Read more about Self-reflective Journaling here... https://emilylarkins.nz/one-writers-life-blog/self-reflective-journaling-improve-your-focus-in-just-ten-minutes-per-week), paper (heavier paper is more durable), ruler, scissors (or craft knife), pens/pencils/markers, tape (and/or glue). You can choose to measure and rule if you like. If you’re a crafter with a good eye, you can wing it.
Here’s what you do:
1. Decide on a list or reference table you frequently use.
2. Rough out the steps or elements you need to have at your fingertips.
3. Decide whether you wish to have this list pop out like a tab when folded, or if you’d like it to tuck right inside the cover. For today’s example you’re getting the bonus of one that does both: It protrudes as a tab when in use on my desk, or, if I’m taking my book somewhere, I can fold the sheet over again and it tucks right in for protection.
4. My journal is 29.5cm high by 20cm wide. I suggest working to slightly smaller measurements to ensure all foldouts will fold in neatly. When fully folded out, my paper will measure 26.5cm high by 22cm wide (remembering that it folds in). This is the MAXIMUM I can allow to have a tab AND fold it to tuck away.
5. I’ve marked the fold lines on my paper to fold with a 2cm securing margin (which I’ll glue to the cover of my journal. A top tip is to fold this section slightly narrower than 2cm, you’ll see why shortly), and a 10 cm flap. That leaves just over 10cm between the two folds. You’ll want the middle section to be just a bit bigger than the flap so it folds in without buckling (that’s why we fold slightly shy of 2cm). You can trim the excess along the flap to fit if it buckles.
6. Now, fold along your marked lines. Tip: place your ruler on the fold line and run your fingertips along the back side of the paper. This will give you a nice, straight, sharp fold.
7. It’s time to mark your attachment line on your book cover. If you’d like to be able to tuck your foldout right away and have a tab, you’ll need to make sure you can fold along the attachment line and have the whole foldout tuck flat. I took my time with this step to ensure I had enough of a tab edge, and to ensure I could tuck the whole thing in. Once you’re happy with placement, fold your foldout completely closed and mark along the back side of the fold line against the cover. This will help when you stick it in. For permanently tucked in foldouts, move your foldout over so the folded flap doesn’t protrude at all (no tab).
8. Now, glue along the back of just the thin attachment strip fold. Line it up with the placement line you marked in your cover earlier and stick it down. Check that all folds hinge neatly (I suggest a small piece of tape top and bottom to reinforce the hinge area). Also, try opening your foldout all the way out, close the planner. See how it neatly wraps around your front cover? At times, I use my foldouts tucked around the current working page. This is the secret to why they work so well for me.
9. Last of all, transfer your list neatly (and beautifully if this suits you) onto your foldout! If you’d rather complete this step before permanently binding it to your book (just in case you make a mistake), just shuffle this step up to before you get gluing.
And just like that, you’ve created your very own Planner Foldout!
It’s perfectly possible to include more than one foldout. You can tuck them in the front and/or back covers, and if you’re really clever and patient, you can create multiple layers of foldouts. I haven’t gone that far yet, but plan to.
I recommend having your goals on a Foldout for quick reference, your journaling prompts, high-use hashtags and more. If you’d like to learn about Routine Lists (a throwback from my teaching days), join me for my next quick tip, due next month.
Until then, happy planning everyone!
Have you had a go at making your own Planner Foldouts? I’d also love to know what lists you like to keep at hand. Let me know how Planner Foldouts could or do work for you! Tell me about it in the comments section.
February release: One Last Cuppa
George, an elderly farmer, lives alone on Victory Island. Except for dwindling visits from his granddaughter, Charlotte, and weekly ones from Department of Conservation officer, Ben, he's used to fending for himself and prefers it that way.
Tonight though, worries weigh on George's mind: he's concerned for Charlotte who is in a relationship with a man George doesn't trust, and a recent reminder of his own mortality frustrates him.
With much to think through, George makes a cuppa and sits down to consider how Ben might help to solve his mounting problems, for Charlotte's sake more than his own.
FREE Flash Fiction Friday Story 7 Feb 2020:
One Last Cuppa
Due to publication date, this story will be offered FREE for 24 hours on Saturday 8th of February (US Pacific Time). Future Free Fridays will actually happen on Fridays (US Pacific Time)!
All Flash Fiction Friday stories will be locked down to the
lowest price at all other times!
I’ll start by saying that I LOVE writing prompts. They’re great little nuggets that get you thinking creatively. I use them in several different ways and that’s their other brilliance: they serve multiple purposes and you can use them in whatever way suits you!
I've created three short examples of how I get started with different kinds of prompts down the right side of this post - read, enjoy, or have a try at one yourself.
Read on to find out all about writing prompts and how I use them to enrich my writing experience, and to find links to free prompts and an exclusive printable I've put together just for you!
Please note, images I have used that are not my own are linked to their original source by clicking on them. The creator deserves credit for their own work.
Hi, I'm Emily,