If people judged me by the number of ideas I generated in single day on the subject of WordPress and blogging, I’d be the Einstein of the blogosphere. If they took a peek into the all the various files, folders, virtual and physical, I have to store all of those ideas, they’d pack me up and send me to the mental institution.
I come up with ideas for things to blog about constantly, rarely running out of ideas. The problem is that few of these see the light of day, or I get so caught up in the ideas, I can’t get past the idea to the Publish button.
As part of this series called Nothing to Blog About, we’re talking about how to stir up your mental pot when the bloggy brain bogs down and content cannot be found. From among the various options suggested already, I’d like to resurrect the traditional idea file.
Ideas Came Drop By at Any Time
Ideas are elusive. When the well runneth over, the ideas come faster than you can jot them down. When the well dries up, you’re left scavaging around the dusty corners of your brain for something – anything to blog about.
Take advantage of when the ideas flow fast to jot down or type up all of your ideas. Whatever system you use, write out the full idea. Don’t be reliant upon a few keywords to trigger the memory when you return to your notes. It could be 5 minutes or 5 years later. What’s the likelihood that “mystery cat Enumclaw 78” is really going to mean much to you after two or three years?
Write the full thought and idea, including all the keywords, phrases, resources, everything that triggered the idea. I call it a “mind dump,” getting it all down on paper so when I come back, the concept I wanted to convey is clear and I can pull a story from it.
You don’t have to publish every idea you come up with. Save them and let them mellow with time. Some actually improve.
Store Your Ideas in a Findable, Searchable Method
I’ve been keeping an Ideas and Drafts collection in various forms for years. I have bits and pieces of paper stuffed into a giant file folder or typed up in long lists in text files on my computer. There are a variety of systems, from sticky notes, scraps of paper, and napkins to word processing or text file documents. Some people use computer note taking or to do list and task programs, others simply pop it into an email and email it to themselves, then applying a filter tag or label to those types of emails and storing them in their email inbox.
When the don’t-wanna-blog anxiety hits me, I hit those ideas and drafts, so it is critical that it is in a form that is quickly accessible and easy to transport.
I plow through them, mentally tossing out this idea and that. I poke and pick at a few, thinking these might be good ideas, then shove them aside when they lose interest. If I lose interest in them, they aren’t ready for prime time.
Often I will stumble over a great unfinished article or idea that revs up my writing motor. Maybe it’s a combination of two ideas noted a year or two apart that come together to create a fresh new concept that lights my writing fire.
Aging also changes perspective, shedding new light and energy on an old subject and concept that now makes a lot more sense than when it did when it wasn’t a fully formed idea.
You never know what will inspire you back to your blog, so keep your idea list easily accessible and dig in on a regular basis.
Checked Your Bookmarks Lately?
In addition to your Ideas file, when when was the last time your really went through ALL of your bookmarks and feeds? I have over 1,000 feeds in my feed reader, accumulating published articles in thousands, though there are only about 300 that I track on a regular basis, 150 that I pour over faithfully on a weekly basis.
What are all those other blogs and websites up to? I subscribed to them for a reason, and usually that reason was quality, inspirational content. They are a living Ideas file, so why not check out what others are doing to find inspiration for what you should be doing on your blog.
Articles in the Nothing to Blog About Series
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.