New Ideas on Old Content
Creating an Idea Management Strategy
One of the most important factors when you’re dealing with coming up with ideas is to havesomething to do with those ideas afterwards. The fact of the matter is that many of us are actually pretty good at coming up with ideas.
The real problem is that we can’t remember those good
. Having a system in place to get those ideas written down and usable for when we actually need them is crucial to having a good supply of ideas in place at any given time, to the point that itshould come before any brainstorming.
More often than not, writers tend to make notes of ideas in notebooks — written down somewhere
safe. While ipping through old notebooks can be fun, this approach is not particularly user-friendly,
especially for a writer who needs to come up with new ideas very regularly (such as a blogger). Being able to go in and search your ideas in such a way that you can quickly come up with something youcan use is crucial in such situations. That essentially means that
no matter how you choose to store your ideas, you have to do so onthe computer
. The search capabilities inherent in something even as basic as a word processor le
will speed up your ability to go through your ideas.Choosing an approach that also lets you organize your ideas easily can also help. If you write
regularly for specic publications or on specic topics, grouping those ideas together can allow you
to easily browse through just what’s related to the publication that you need to work on today.Of course, you won’t have your computer along with you everywhere you go, so thinking about how you’re going to take notes while you’re out and about is also important. Anne Lamott, in her book about writing,
Bird by Bird
, mentions that
she just keeps a note card and a pen in her pocket atall time
. It’s a simple approach, but certainly one that works. A small notebook will work just as well. The real question is making sure that you have something to take notes with at all times and that youget in the habit of doing so.
Choosing Your Technology
There are a variety of tools these days that will let you manage as many ideas as you come up with.Some you may already have — creating a spreadsheet is an option that will likely let you use software
you’re already familiar with. There are also custom-built applications that are meant specically for
Tagging Your Ideas to Make Finding Them Later Easier
No matter what kind of computer program you useto keep track of your ideas, you’ll be able to search
for specic keywords when you need an idea within a
given topic. The danger here is that you may not have
included the keyword you rst think of for that topic
when you originally wrote down your idea. Gettingin the habit of noting down the keywords you mightsearch for later when writing out your idea can helpwith this problem.The practice is called ‘tagging’ and you maybe familiar with it from blogging or using socialbookmarking sites. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when thinking about what keywords to includewith your ideas.
1. What broad categories would this idea t into?
2. Is there a particular publication I expect this idea
to go to?
3. Is there a particular time of the year you would
want to run this?
4. Are there any experts who are particularly suited
to this piece?
5. What keywords do you think you’ll be searching
for in the future?