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Don’t let good ideas slip away!

Don’t you hate it when you think to yourself, “That would make a great post topic,” only to find that when you finally sit down to start writing, you can’t remember what your idea was?

The folks at Walking the Pattern recently shared this post about the benefits of keeping track of your writing ideas so that you can spend less time planning and more time writing:

With the notebook always in my pocket, I can quickly scribble down any thoughts I have during the day that I think would make interesting posts.  That way, when I sit down at my laptop, I don’t have to waste time trying to think of something to write about; I just flip through my notebook and pick an idea.  I love working this way because I get to spend more time doing the fun part: writing.

What methods have you tried using to keep track of your writing ideas? What works best for you?

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  1. If I’m home and I have a minute, I write/draw the post ASAP and schedule it to auto-post the next day (or for the next day that doesn’t have a post already scheduled). Or, if I’m away from home, I pull out my phone and send myself an e-mail to remind myself.

    I am *so* loving the Daily Post challenge! So far, so good. =)

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  2. I also carry a notebook, as well as a voice recorder. But if I’m out bicycling and get a flash of inspiration, I stop, call my own cell phone and leave myself a message.

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  3. I’ve got a notebook I keep with me at work for ideas and to write drafts in at lunch.

    I also keep a draft post on my WP dashboard titled post ideas. It is a list of my ideas. I just strike through the ones on the list I write about and go back to the list as I look for something to write about.

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    1. I do that; usually just a heading though on each post before I work on them as they’re usually for reviews. Sometimes I can have up to several working working drafts.
      I like the notebook idea, I have used the voice recorder on my mobile and dictaphone.

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  4. I’m often inspired to post in response to other blog posts or news articles I see online, so I will sometimes create a draft post with the link to that article so I can reflect on it later. That doesn’t always work, but it’s better than forgetting altogether!

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  5. As soon as possible after I have an idea, I create a draft post for the idea with whatever I’ve got, be it disorganized thoughts, some links, or even just a title. That way, it’s no longer just an idea for a post, it’s an actual post. It makes me much more likely to go back and actually write it at some point.

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    1. Yes! I do that too; a fledgling post might read something like “Sara’s comment on Mindy’s post. Impatience; rest / laziness.”
      And, of course, links to whatever.

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  6. I began carrying a pocket notebook in 2003, and to this day, I still carry one everywhere I go.  My blog, Truth Behind Reality is the result of 8 years of those notes.  I get most of my inspiration out in public, and without a pocket notebook to quickly capture my thoughts, I would lose that moment forever.

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  7. I carry a notebook in my purse always. The thing for me, is to have enough self discipline to grab it and jot down whatever I’m thinking … right away, otherwise it will be gone.

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  8. I use quickpress all the time to create draft posts. I also am trying out Evernote, which I heard about from another postaday-er. I have it on my iPhone and it’s working very well for me so far.

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  9. I always keep a mini sketchbook in my handbag for ideas etc! Unfortunately ideas always come when there’s no chance of getting them down!

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  10. My (paper) notebook has a page of ideas for each of my two blogs, textisle.wordpress.com (fibre arts) and onesizefitsnone.com (about homeschooling from an Islamic perspective). Once I’ve posted, I cross it off the list. When the page is full, I start another page.

    In my PC there’s a file called blog fodder where I keep photos I want to use. This is a life saver when it’s late and I want to post and be done, rather than messing around with the camera card and cables, slots, etc!

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  11. I use my cell phone to either type out a quick note or make a fast voice recording. Unfortunately, ideas often come to me while driving or in the shower, so I either pull over to make a note or jump out of the shower as soon as possible to grab the cell phone.

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  12. Most of my ideas come to me during or after my morning reading time. I keep nearby a trusty ol’ AlphaSmart I got used for $30, near my recliner to capture the good stuff. The trivial ideas come to me at all times. There’s always one floating around in some easy-access place in my brain. Don’t have to worry about them.

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  13. I jot down ideas quickly on the Notepad on my iPhone, and that way I can also go quickly from that to wordpress and start a draft. I like having everything in one place:)

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    1. Right! I use my handy smartphone too! While I do love the idea of paper notes and I did use them in the past, since this nice new invention, I ALWAYS have my phone with me. While Quickpress via my Droide is nice too, I just can’t write a lot in that fashion. My notepad is filled with ideas for my 3 different blogs. I used to be the PostIt queen…and I still have them posted around my desktop!

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  14. I use Apple Notes on my iPod and sync to Apple Mail. Thus, I have my ideas on the go or at home. I never let a blog topic slip away, and that’s why so far the daily posting (and blogging 8/09-12/10, though not daily before this challenge) has been pretty cool.

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  15. I do a few different things:
    1) Keep a small pad of paper in the car (where many ideas come), and jot down notes during red lights.
    2) Write down quick snippets on the “Notes” app of my phone.
    3) Use the website/app combo My Writing Nook to take down ideas, but also to develop more thought-out entries (or starts to entries).
    4) Use post-its, napkins, paper towels, whatever will hold ink if an idea hits and I don’t have any paper or my phone on me.
    And as a general rule, if an idea comes, I try to write out as much of it as possible right then and there, in the moment it is fresh. I find if an idea comes, and I don’t snag as much of it as I can when it arrives, later when I try and “recapture” it, the magic is gone. But maybe that’s just me. 🙂

    Stef
    http://smilekiddo.wordpress.com/

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  16. As idéias vem de repente, ou a noite quando vou dormir, felizmente a minha cabeça ainda é boa, consigo guarda-las muito bem. Mas algumas vale a pena anotar.
    Mina!!!

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  17. Great ideas. If I am online when I think of a new idea, I head to my blog – create a post draft with just a title or a title and few words or a link in the body, save it and move on.

    I often think of new ideas when writing posts, and this keeps me on track and saves the new thoughts as well.

    I have about 90 drafts, which I may or may not ever use, but just looking at those, the enclosed notes, or links, usually leads to a new post.

    I also send myself emails or leave phone messages.

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  18. Redundant systems are best! I find that most of my best ideas for writing come when I am moving my body — hiking, walking, riding my bike. I always carry a notebook and a pen with me but I don’t always want to stop to use it or even to use the Notes app on my iPhone. I prefer to use iPhone’s Voice Memos app.

    When inspiration strikes at work, I send myself a quick email. Like textisle, I keep a “blog fodder” folder but mine is in my email.

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  19. On a log flight recently, I did a free write exercise. For 25 minutes, I typed anything that I thought of. Turns out, there was some good stuff in there! So I saved the file on my desktop as “Blog Post Ideas,” and if I don’t have an idea particularly relevant for a given day, I refer to that file.

    And as mentioned here, if I have some thoughts for a good post but haven’t fleshed out all the details yet, I’ll start a post and save it as a draft. I put a date well into the future, to make sure it doesn’t accidentally get posted before it’s ready for prime time! Then, I change the date later.

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  20. I’m a house wife and ideas come to me when my hands are dirty or wet.till I finish my work,usually I forget them. I need a recorder or secretary 🙂
    Anyway,thank you.

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  21. I typically like to write down my ideas on my blog (whether with a Nintendo DSi, or simply on the computer) and save them in a draft. Each idea will be a separate, and when I need a topic and can’t think of any, I go back there!

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  22. I have a file on the computer for blog ideas, that’s handy to make notes in as I read blogs, browse etc. Or I’ll jot them in a draft post. I have to be quick though – the other day I had an idea for a post, but by the time I had opened my file, it had evaporated! Luckily it did come back…
    If I’m not near a computer, I find the backs of envelopes very handy, as long as they don’t wander off.

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  23. If I find inspiration while I am working on a post I will open a new post and use my thought as the title. If more thoughts on the topic come to me I will just add them into the body of the post and save it for another day. I also use my camera-phone to take pics of things that inspire me when I am out and about.

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  24. I keep a page on my blog that I keep private where I store all of my ideas. Whenever I can’t think of a good idea, I go to my Ideas page, delete the ones I’ve done, and look for something that strikes my fancy that day. I add new ideas when they come up, which is usually when I’m writing a post. If I’m away from my computer, I put ideas onto index cards that I carry with me and then add them to the Ideas page when I get home. Between the computerized list and my index cards, I generally get my ideas down as soon as I have them.

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  25. I always keep a notebook handy, or as of late, the digital equivalent: Evernote! Evernote can capture images and sound recordings as well, so nothing gets forgotten. 😀

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  26. I do almost the same. I do not have a diary; but I jot down 2 topics in my mind, not more on a day. So this way I wont forget what they were about.
    But I have slipped a bit with postaday challenge, but hope to keep up with postaweek.

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