Why do we do this? It’s not “writing”, right? It’s not putting our valuable time and effort into getting more words on paper, right?
Well when you put it like that…
But I have two counter points. 1) I have the attention span of a squirrel and 2) Yes, this still counts are writing.
For me, making mood boards and aesthetics helps ramp up the side of my brain that can see a story coming to life, and knows what it should feel like, but is also struggling to think of a plot. It keeps me inspired and motivated. I even use aesthetics as my desktop background so when I open my computer, I feel an immediate urge to write. It helps me remember why I love a story, even when I’m halfway through and have NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENS NEXT (not that this is happening right now…of course not…).
I am a visual creature. Many of us take inspiration from the art we see in the world and on our screens. I can’t draw, and writing takes time. But aesthetics and mood boards feel like a short cut to seeing the world in my head become a reality. So when in doubt, I make another.
Everyone has their own preference for generating mood boards, but my favorites are Pinterest, PowerPoint, and Canva.
Pinterest is by far the easiest route to “no thoughts, just vibes”. I see pictures that I think fit my story, and I pin them. Simple as that. If I’m feeling a bit more motivated, sometimes I’ll separate my pins into sections by character or location, the way I did with my Witch on Fire board.
PowerPoint is also really approachable for making aesthetics. You can manually adjust the slide design to fit the dimensions you want and just slide things around until you’re content. I like to do those aesthetics as a grid because it’s fairly easy and looks nice. For example, here’s a grid I created for Water in the Blood.