What Is a Mood Board? Plus Free Resources to Make Your First One

Some of my links are affiliate links for things I love. They help me keep this blog up and running, with no extra cost to anything you decide to purchase. If you find anything you like, thank you for supporting our community!

Visual inspiration is important for creative writers. It might keep story ideas in the forefront of your mind, remind you which themes you want to write about, or celebrate the characters in your WIP.

No matter what you want to tape around your writing space or save online, creating a mood board could help your writing routine. Check out what they are and how you can make one yourself.

What Is a Mood Board?

A mood board is any surface or document where you keep pictures of things that set the mood for your work. Designers and artists use them for jobs and projects. You can also use them to manifest milestones or ideas.

How to Make a Mood Board

1. Pick a Purpose

Mood boards create the right mood for—whatever you’re hoping to do. Pick a purpose for your board, like bringing a world to life for your current novel. You might dedicate a board to fleshing out a character or embodying a dramatic scene that you’re trying to plan.

2. Get Physical Supplies

Many people make physical mood boards. People use cork boards and whiteboards, although you could also make a miniature mood board with a notebook.

Physical surfaces also require tools to keep your mood board images in place. That might be magnets or tacks, but you can also use tape you already have at your house.

Next, you’ll need pictures. Try cutting them out of magazines or printing whatever inspires you from the internet. Ultimately, all of the pictures should contribute to your mood board’s goal in some way. They should reference your story’s setting, theme, characters, or anything else you’re working on.

3. Try Moodboard Websites

If you don’t have the time or budget to make a physical mood board, create one online for free! There are numerous sites out there to try, but these are my favorites:

You can also use Pinterest if you’re already obsessed with the app like I am. Make boards dedicated to whatever you want and find inspiration through other pins. (Plus, you can find Em Dash Press on there for character inspiration and writing tips!)

Keep a tab open on your computer or next to your story’s word document. You can flip back and forth to energize yourself when your story feels stuck or when you forget what certain parts of your world look like.

4. Play With Your Pictures

Don’t forget that you can change whatever pictures you save to your mood board. Use Photoshop (or a free version of it) to change each photo’s lighting for different vibes. You could also sketch pictures based on a mood board photo to add to your notebook.

There’s no wrong way to style pictures for a mood board. As long as they encourage you and contribute to your writing goal, they belong.

5. Include Your Inspiration

It can also help to include the source that inspired your story idea if you’re already working on something. It could be the headline that sparked a character in your mind or a poster of the movie that made you want to try your genre.

Writers also might start a story inspired by a book they recently read or an author they love. Maybe you have a dream publisher picked out for your WIP. Put it all on your mood board. The starting point or the end goal of your process can also be a great motivator.

Try Making a Mood Board

Consider creating a mood board if your writing process could use a change of pace. Even if you don’t get anything out of it, your mind will get a much-needed break. While you’re focusing on different creative pursuits, your story idea and characters will marinate in your brain. You might find it much easier to continue writing even if you discover that mood boards aren’t your thing.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: