I have a dozen ideas a day about a topic for a blog that comes as I am interacting with a client or reading an article or just listening to the radio. Something will be said, and that will lead me into thinking about other things that are like that and suddenly, there's a topic to expand into a long form piece of writing to publish that could be useful for me to remember or revisit, and may be helpful or other people too.
So I'd scribble that down on a piece of paper.
But pieces of paper get lost, they get used for other notes, lost at the bottom of pile of paperwork and never make it to the publishing - which is where you could really use it.
So I thought about a new system to try. Here's how it goes.
I have printed some points to apply to each post to remind me what the thought was I want to write about.
In this case:
- Idea (summary of what the blog post would be about)
- Target audience (who it might interest)
- Main Point (The primary take-away idea from the post that distills the whole message)
- Category eg #productivity #business #personaldevelopment #marketing
So a template made with the questions, fits 3 per page, can then be printed off a few pages at a time and then cut into single idea notes to fill out on the run when the idea strikes.
I'll then fill out the details, fold them up and put them into a jar and there you have it. Part of the thinking is already done on the idea note. The topic and the context are clear and defining the main point makes it easier to then work out an image that will fit with the post.
Moving ideas out into their own space
I'm expecting that having the idea notes contained in the jar will help in two ways.
- The thoughts will be captured along with notes to remind me of the context so I understand the context for the idea when I then write the piece
- They are stored together safely in one space where they are easily accessible but can't get mixed up with unrelated notes, and
- They will build up into a bank of quality topics that I intend to write about and kickstart the process when I am about to write a blog but don't have a particular topic burning right there and then that I want to write about.
Other Ways To Use An Idea Jar
I think this idea can work well for creating a bank of ideas for writing blog posts as it allows the sed to germinate before writing and the ideas to percolate and mature before the writing stage. I'll update this post after I've tested it out a while. I like the idea of having a savings bank of ready-to-go starters to use for blogging. It's a little like cooking dinner - often the hardest part is working out what to have.
This would also be a good system to use for planning and before you get to the formal stage of writing a plan for business, or a travel itinerary or even just setting goals for the future. Try some ideas in the jar and see if you still like them later when you revisit. The nice things about goals is that we can try them on and change them if we don't really care for them. Winnowing the ideas down to the goals that really matter to us before setting them fully and mapping them to our life plan means that when we do that we have tested them well and know they are a good fit and fully meet the criterion we have for being ecologically sound. If using this jar idea for goals, maybe check out the cupboards or thrift store and buy a really special jar to use. One you can get your hand into and one that shows off your goal idea within.
Great For The Not-So-Tidy Deskers
The jar idea is also perfect for those of us who don't have a desk that is completely clean and bare at all times. If your clutter tends to accumulate on the desk, this could be perfect for you to try too.
Cheat sheet to use for setting your goals
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