When I feel writers’ block setting in, I like to do a little mental exercise, and time waster, to get the creative juices flowing: a mood board. These aren’t just for wedding planners, interior designers and influencers on Instagram. A mood board is a collage of digital images that can take a mental concept (i.e. your story) into the material world, with colors, textures and a bit of ambiance.
Pinterest can be a great way to collect inspiration from all around the interwebs. Check out my author inspiration board for my novel SONG OF A SOPHOMORE here. But sometimes you need more than a smattering of ideas. You need **pause for dramatic effect** an aesthetic. “Oooh…. yes, I need that!”
Creating a mood board or aesthetic for your story is not only fun, but it’s also a great way to grease the wheels of the imagination when you’re feeling a bit stuck. If a particular scene is falling flat, or a character is in need of some quirks, you can whip up a magic, mini mood board to guide your writing. And, you can share it with your friends on Twitter to be a little extra.
Case in point, here are my mood boards (most recent first) for my coming-of-age novel SONG OF A SOPHOMORE, a shy sophomore’s quest to overcome anxiety and self-doubt, rise up against her bullies, and transform heartache into wisdom for the ultimate victory, self love. I haven’t shared these mood boards on Twitter yet, but there have been several iterations. I tried to invoke a retro vibe, since my novel is set in the mid 1990s. I also attempted to convey an American high school aesthetic, complete with a peek at the main character, her potential love interests, antagonists and hint at the themes of transformation and love.
At first, I searched Pinterest to find images which reflected the ideas and themes of my story. However, not all images on Pinterest are in the public domain, so if you share your mood board across social media you could run into a potential problem. It is safer to visit websites like Pixabay and Pexels, repositories of free, uncopyrighted images you can use for your creative projects. You do not have to give attribution to the photographer, but that would be nice. Can’t find what you’re looking for? You can also pay for stock images on a variety of sites like iStockPhoto, 1234rf and more.
Once you’ve gathered your images, you will need an app to help you put together a collage. PicStitch is a free and easy-to-use app to create a basic collage. If you want to get fancy, and alter your images with filters, effects, graphics or text, I recommend the website Canva. They also have a free app for your smart phone. Canva can do it all: create collages, make social media graphics, flyers, book covers and more. There are so many amazing templates to customize for your own needs. You will also have access to their library of free and paid photos for your projects. Easy peasy and so much fun!
So, what are you waiting for? Take a break from writing or editing and unleash your creativity. Establishing your own customized aesthetic for your novel using a mood board is a great tool to have in your writer’s toolkit, and it looks pretty darn cool.
Have fun setting the mood for your writing journey!
Love and light,