Missed the first posts in this series? Check them out here.
#4 Capture Thoughts Immediately
If you’re anything like me, if you don’t write down your great ideas right away, you won’t remember them a few hours later. Because of this, I believe one of the biggest keys to never running out of blog post ideas is to capture those ideas immediately.
In order to do this, you need to have some systems in place to make this happen. Here are a few ideas that work well for me:
Keep a Pen & Paper Handy
Where do you typically get the most inspiration? For me, it’s often when I’m washing dishes, cleaning, or getting ready in the morning. Because of this, I try to always have a pen and paper handy to log those ideas as soon as they come.
Often, I’ll use the time blocks when my hands are busy but my brain is free to purposefully think about whatever writing project I’m currently working on or the next post I hope to write. I’ll mull it over and then write down whatever thoughts come, as they.
It’s not uncommon at all for me to stop washing dishes or cleaning (or whatever it is that my hands are busy with!) three or four times in order to “brain dump” whatever came to my mind. I find this to be a really efficient method for blogging, too — even if it’s a little tedious to have to keep drying my hands to write down ideas!
Why? Because when I outline my blog post on paper ahead of time, it saves me so much time when I actually sit down to write. Instead of having to stare at a blank screen, I already have a bunch of ideas scribbled down to springboard from.
If I’m out and about and don’t have a pen & paper handy, I’ll often email myself a few sentences that are swirling around in my head for a potential post. This way, I have captured the essence of the post idea and the next time I’m on the computer, I can either copy and paste the sentences into a post draft to prompt me whenever I’m ready to write the post or I can add the post idea to my blogging Google calendar and put those sentences in the details box.
Use Google Calendar
I use Google calendar to schedule out what posts I plan to write/run (along with just basically organizing and planning my entire life — see this video where I talk about about how I organize my days in more detail). What I love about Google calendar is that it’s so easy to drag and drop things to later dates — something I do very regularly.
When a post idea strikes, I’ll usually add the idea to my calendar on whatever day I think it works best and then I jot down whatever ideas come to my mind right then and there for the post. That way I’ve captured the idea and put it on my calendar — and when the week that it’s scheduled for arrives, I can start working on the post (usually by jotting down additional ideas on a pen and paper as I talked about above).
Many weeks, I end up with more post ideas scheduled than time, so I’ll just move some of the posts planned for that week to another day or week. It’s so simple and it pretty much guarantees that I rarely am at a lack for post ideas or inspiration.
Have an Ongoing Blog Ideas Notebook
One last idea: always keep a list of running ideas. This list can either be on your computer or in an actual notebook.
I keep a list of series ideas, post ideas, challenge ideas, and just anything else that comes to mind that I think I might want to blog about someday. Every once in awhile, I will “brain dump” onto this list. While I often don’t end up using all of these ideas, it serves as an inspiration for upcoming series and challenges — and I consult it every few months as I’m planning my upcoming blog themes.
What are your favorite ways to capture ideas for blog posts? I’d love to hear!