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Considering Ideas

A photograph of an open notebook with a couple of pens on it and a big question mark drawn on the page

I have 23 pages of blog post ideas. Many have bullet points added to them but when you consider it’s 23 pages of tabled information in a smallish font… And I often say I have no ideas. The problem is that many of these ideas are rough, in-the-moment, ideas that would make poor and/or very short posts. Others I’ve simply grown out of.

But I never get rid of them, just in case: I’m following concepts from a number of blogging blogs. Namely two concepts – one: note down all your ideas because you never know; two (which links to the previous): even bad or tiny ideas can be combined to make better ones. That second concept is great but I’m yet to use it. Perhaps it’s the fact I do like to make rough plans as soon as ideas hit but the thought of combing through those pages each time I start writing is enough to make me stop altogether. And I’d always fear that in combining I’d made one post instead of a possible two, even though the object is to combine ideas that would never stand on their own.

Should we purge our lists of ideas every now and then? Perhaps. Like the culling of books, if the idea of the idea makes you want to run to the hills then it’s surely a good plan.

When you’re starting to wonder if you should buy shares in the company that makes the word processor you use perhaps it’s time to purge. Or reorganise, move old ideas to a place they can’t taunt you and make an effort to write up new ideas or get out your guitar as they come. I get out of bed at 1am, though tired, to write – I do it almost every time I’ve not yet fallen asleep and an idea hits – so I should be able to get out the notebook instead of checking whether my favourite vlogger has a new video. (This is where the idea of having a dedicated blog post writing day is good. I drafted a post about that but it was a while ago…)

With all the talk of editorial calendars I’ve finally come up with a decent plan for each day’s blogging time. If my posting schedule is Monday-Wednesday-Friday that leaves me with Tuesday-Thursday, and Saturday and Sunday if desired, to write posts. I got mathematical, worked out that writing 4 posts a week, beginning the initial count on a Tuesday, would mean within two weeks I’d be ahead – by 1 post that week, 2 the next, then 3, and so on. I could create an editorial calendar that I could stick to and not go through phases of writing posts the day before. I could take short breaks. Of course I would still need to be finding ideas but I reckon that would happen by working on others and being present.

Those ideas need to be realised or ditched. There’s no point looking at a list of possibilities that aren’t.

How do you handle ideas be they writing or otherwise? Do you think certain hobbies are easier than others in this respect?


Laurie C

March 11, 2016, 3:09 pm

I have a bunch of draft posts and I do occasionally go through them to see if anything is useable. Usually there’s nothing more than a title or a sentence or two to build on, so they may not be worth even keeping, but I’ve used a few of them recently. I think writing down your ideas is good; I’ve thought of a lot of blog post ideas and then forgotten them because I never wrote them down. But 23 pages does seem like a lot and is probably hard to manage!

April Munday

March 11, 2016, 7:44 pm

I have loads of ideas for posts and they’re recorded on paper. I tick them off when I write them, but I hardly ever refer to the lists, as I get another idea when I’m reading something else.
I dashed off one of my favourite posts in a lunch break at work.
I would say don’t delete them. Every time I look at my list it sparks more ideas. Even if you end up not using the original ideas, they could inspire a better thought.
I would say, though, that it might not be worthwhile doing the bullet points until you’re ready to write the post.
Like you, I’ve never managed to merge two ideas to form one post, but I’m sure that day will come.

Tracy Terry

March 13, 2016, 1:56 pm

I’m a great one for making lists, in fact to use that old jokes I make lists about my lists.

I also have a bunch of posts on draft … just in case. Something I look at and deal with either by completing and posting or deleting periodically or else I’d feel like I was getting bogged down by ideas whilst not accomplishing very much – if that makes sense.


March 16, 2016, 4:03 pm

Laurie: I have to agree; when you’ve just a title it can be hard to use it, especially as it’s easier to forget your intentions with them. It is a lot – inevitably I end up looking at the last one or two which just defeats the point.

April: Ticking them off must be satisfying! Though it’s good you’ve other ideas and the list is just in the background if you need it. Good point about them sparking off better thoughts.

I’m not sure I’d be ‘able’ to keep away from writing the bullet points immediately (it’s like the can’t sleep until you’ve written it down thing for me) but in a way it isn’t worthwhile – I find the ideas I’ve bullet-pointed tend to be those I take ages to get back to because there’s so much more to do. (I don’t find this if I plan just before writing which fits in with what you’ve said.)

Tracy: I don’t make lists about my list but I do use different parts of data together. The organisation of it can be quite fun. Yes, that does make sense. Lots of sort-of plans and sort-of drafts can make you feel unproductive.


March 17, 2016, 11:15 am

I also read a lot about blogging, and I undestand keeping your ideas handy in one place is necessary, but I just can’t do it. I keep them in my mind (they are not so many, for a start!), and I’m sure I rarely put them in the blog unless I just write the post when the idea comes, which doesn’t happen often.
I also fantasize about having several posts ready for publishing on the blog, but, again, that doesn’t happen in real life hahaha ;)



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