Although I know writing ideas really are everywhere there are days when I need to write and simply don’t seem to have any idea at all what to write. Fortunately I seem to have plenty of ideas, just not always exactly when I want them.
My answer to this dilemma is the idea file.
Actually I maintain several, which creates its own set of problems.
Here’s what I actually do, at least most of the time:
- On my desktop is are a couple of idea documents – one is called blogging ideas and another is the novel. When I’m at the computer, which is where I do most of my work, and an idea pops up I write it down in one of those documents. When I can’t think of something to write for this or my other blogs I open the file and there is a whole list things I can write about. I keep the documents on my desktop so they are super easy to find.
- When I use an idea I only strike through it and date it because most of those ideas can be reworked into multiple blog posts.
- I usually have a 3×5 or two cards in my purse. The main purpose of these is to record expenses I don’t get receipts for, but I also write down writing ideas there. It works because almost every week I take that card out to bring my expenses up to date almost every weekend and that’s when I transcribe the ideas there to the appropriate idea document.
- Recently I’ve broken a couple of big projects into baby steps, each with it’s own list of steps document. It’s dawned on me that at least some of those baby steps would make ideal blog posts. So I put baby step lists on the blog idea list.
- I also have several clients I keep lists on, particularly press release ideas – each list is in the client’s folder. I’ve added client lists to the blog idea document
There’s a problem with multiple lists – they really can cross pollinate, but only if I think of the other list when I’m searching for an idea. On the other hand, to keep everything in one big list just gets too confusing, at least for me.
While I have some ability to remember ideas, it’s risky because life happens; if I don’t write it down it’s apt to be gone, maybe forever. Keeping my lists seems to be part of my writing discipline.
How do you capture ideas?