On Accidentally Starting a Hashtag: Welcome to #ThursdayAesthetic

I’ve been revising for the past month or so. With this revision, I feel like I’m constantly in a place where I love where the story is going, but feel overwhelmed at the amount of words to write. I love this book, but sometimes I kind of hate it.

I rewrote an entire manuscript in a month while working full time. I had a vision, and I couldn’t pace myself. I may have been on the edge of burnout…just don’t follow my example, friends.

I craved a distraction that felt sort of productive. (Not that my rewatch of Parks & Rec was unproductive, but still. There’s only so much Ben Wyatt and April Ludgate can do to improve your mood.)

I turned to Pinterest, as one does, and started bombarding my writer’s group with aesthetics. For the project I was working on, for the project I’ll be revising soon, and even for two projects I haven’t started yet. Clearly I needed an outlet, and the #GuillotineQueens were supportive, as usual.

Then I wrote this fateful tweet:

I wasn’t really thinking anything of it. On April 5th, I posted an aesthetic:

And then something weird happened. My notifications exploded. Hundreds of people were posting aesthetics – and sharing mine. This was my reaction to what was happening on my Twitter feed:

I went back to the aforementioned writer’s group, and they encouraged me to roll with it. I love aesthetics, so I figured it was worth turning this into a thing. I decided we would come back the next week with a theme:

There was even more traffic. And more the following week. I’m just in awe of the reaction to this, and so happy I helped make everyone’s Thursdays a little lovelier (because holy crap, the aesthetics are gorgeous).

So, some frequently asked questions:

How do I participate in #ThursdayAesthetic? Do I have to sign up?

Post a novel/WIP aesthetic on Thursdays. No sign up needed!

Is there a theme? Do I have to follow it?

Yes! And no! I’m not big on rules. I feel like the community owns the hashtag as much as I do. I will be tweeting out themes earlier in the week (so follow me @literarilyjess if you’d like a head’s up) but I don’t want inability to follow a theme to be a deterrent to anyone. The more the merrier!

How do I even make an aesthetic?

Everyone does this a little differently, and I might do a more intensive how-to post in the future, but here’s my process:

1) Go to Pinterest

2) Search for photos using [keyword] + “aes”, ie “Royal aes” or “space aes”

3) Save the photos I like to my phone. (I try to pic photos with a similar theme or color scheme, but it’s not completely necessary if you use an app with filters.)

4) Open a photo collage app (my favorite is Pixlr because it has great filters, but I have friends who use Canva, Picstitch, Instagram Layout, among others)

5) Toss photos into one of the pre-made layouts. Play with size and position until it looks good. Throw a filter on any individual photo that doesn’t quite fit the scheme until the colors are right.

6) Save layout to my phone! And maybe throw another filter on the whole thing if I think it’s needed.

7) Tweet on Thursdays using #ThursdayAesthetic!

Are there any other rules?

Have fun! I love how positive this event has become. You are all amazing and I desperately want to read all of these novels someday.

(Also, if you read all the way to the bottom of this, here’s a secret: the theme for 4.26 is “Setting”, so be ready to show us where your story takes place 😉)