Do you have a queue of blog posts waiting to be written? Do you come across great articles on the web and say "I should write a post about that!"? Do you scan your Twitter feed or Facebook NewsFeed each day and see 10 different links you would like to write about?
Do you wake up each morning with your head exploding with stories to be told?
What do you do with all those story ideas?
- jot them down on a piece of paper? In a Moleskine, maybe?
- save them as bookmarks to a service like del.icio.us?
- save them in a service like Evernote?
- save them in a text file on your local system?
- record them as "to do" items in a task manager?
- leave the links open as tabs in your browser so you can find them? (which works great until your browser crashes)
What do you do to build your queue?
My own way is a bit of many of those. I'm a big user of Things for task tracking on my Mac and so I'll write in there of posts I want to write. I use a keyboard shortcut to copy the URL into the notes of a task. I also will save bookmarks into my del.icio.us account (yes, I still use it) and have a special tag there I use for things I want to write about. And yes, I do leave links open in various tabs in my browsers. I also write almost all my posts offline using MarsEdit and so I will actually have a local queue of partially written posts right there.
BUT... the key question is...
DO YOU EVER CLEAN OUT YOUR QUEUE?
This is honestly something I struggle with myself. Each day I probably have 15 new ideas for posts ... and time to write maybe 3 or 5 (or less). The queue I have stretches on to hundreds of post ideas... some of which are quite frankly no longer really relevant now that so much time has passed since I wrote them down. In talking to some folks about this, some suggestions are:
- SET ASIDE SOME TIME TO REVIEW YOUR QUEUE - AND WRITE - I'm trying to block out a couple of hours each week where I just go back into my queue and try to pound out a couple of posts. I might even reach back to something 6 months old that I still think is worth sharing and commenting on.
- SHARE YOUR QUEUE - Sometimes the question you have to ask yourself is: What is more important? That the story be written? Or that you write about it? If there's something that should be written about and you just don't see realistically how you are going to have the time to write about it... share that idea. Tweet about it... post it on Facebook... send an email out... pass it along to others who you know write on the topic. Get it out there. And then... remove the idea from your mental queue. Let it go.
- PURGE YOUR QUEUE - Sometimes there are stories that just lose their value with time. Writing about how excited you are about the latest iPod Nano may no longer be relevant in 6 months because Apple will already have come out with a new one. So carve out some time to just go through your queue (in whatever form you keep track) and discard ideas you just won't have time to deal with.
The important thing is that you take the action of starting to do something about all those queued ideas. Otherwise, as admittedly happens to me sometimes, you can start to get overwhelmed with all the stories you want to write - and the lack of time you have to write them.
What do you do? What strategies have you found that work for you in dealing with all the ideas you have?
Image courtesy of pedrosimoes7 on Flickr.
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