How to Blog Part 16: Create an Idea Inventory
We all have ideas, often good ones.
We usually forget more ideas than we get.
Save your ideas in a safe place. Create an idea inventory if you cannot act immediately upon your ideas.
The simplest way is to carry a notebook of some kind. It can be a cheap note pad or an expensive leather-bound note book. Just keep a pen or pencil closer to you than the notebooks. You can always find something to write on, even skin, if the idea merits it.
Create an idea file to stuff in all those newspapers and magazine clippings and scraps of papers with a good idea.
Use Evernote, Pocket (Formerly Read It Later), Catch.com, or another desktop or mobile app to take notes and save web pages and ideas. All of these are desktop, web, and mobile apps, allowing your notes to go on the cloud, so to speak, for retrieval from anywhere.
Make a notebook or whole file set with separators to divide up your ideas into specific topics. If you are blogging about gardening, the topics might be compost, soil, seeds, planting, harvesting, and planning.
Organize your idea topics like your site categories, keeping related ideas together.
I use all of these techniques and two more. I use NoteTab Pro, a text editor, my favorite text editor, to put together my thoughts and ideas.
My approach to using the text editor is simple. My ideas are not just a few words. They are usually a full or half thought. They come with words, with phrases, with concepts. I race to NoteTab Pro and write them down on a single file set aside for developing ideas for a specific site. I have two such files for every site I manage and write for. One is for draft ideas and the other is for completed and published posts. I always refer back to previous content, so having the information stored in a text file makes it easy to search through the content and rediscover what I wrote before without being online.
In the draft file, I write out as much of the idea as I can. I call it a brain dump. A download of the idea. Eventually I run out of steam and it’s time to start editing. I work on it for a bit, if I have time, or come back to it later. When it’s ready, I publish it, remove it from the draft file, and paste the final product in my completed file as a reference.
Ideas take a while to grow and become publishable, so they might sit there for a while. I divide each one up with equal math symbols such as = = = = = = with the date of when the idea came to me. I also date every post I publish in my finished file.
The other tool I use is Scrivener. Scrivener is a writer’s program designed to help you develop a story before you are ready to publish it. I call it the writer’s organizer. I use it to write my books and courses, and for article series. I even use it to organize ideas and thoughts on complex topics. Think of it as your giant sticky note thought organizer and processor. I use it to foster the ideas, tickle them, reorganize them, test drive them, and pull all my thoughts into some form of order before I’m ready for exporting into a word processor or publishing tool. It’s more powerful than most bloggers need, but I highly recommend it for those serious about developing their writing and publishing skills.
Everyone has their own system. Make your own. Experiment with these ideas but find your own path. What works for you to create your own inventory of ideas is up to you.
Once you have an inventory waiting for you, you will have ideas at your finger tips to keep you going, keep you publishing every day.