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These articles wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for two things. Without one or the other, this page would be ________ (blank). See what I did there? Tee hee, I crack myself up!
Thing number one is writing every day. I don’t write these articles in batches (unless I’m on an airplane). I write one each day by placing my butt in a chair.
I sit down, open up a nearly (more on “nearly” in a moment) blank document, and go. I’ve been doing it for five years. After about
four years a month, it became a habit.
I’ve been told by experts that most of us can form a habit if we stick to most anything for a month. (I’m considering taking up smoking; I wonder whether it works for that? Kidding!) I’ve found the conventional wisdom on habits to be accurate: 30 days works. It took some effort to get started, but once I got going, it actually took effort to slow myself down. The urge to write really heats up.
Thing number two is ideas. I can’t write if I don’t have a topic to write about. Coming up with ideas is harder to schedule. I usually have the ideas at times other than during the writing. For instance, the idea for this article came up while standing at a urinal and looking out a window in Bangkok. Odd, I know.
Anyway, the ideas come at all sorts of random times. They pop into my head and then quickly disappear. I forget them almost as fast as I think of them. Easy come, easy go.
4 Ways to Keep Your Ideas From Going to Waste
I’ve trained myself to grab the ideas immediately, before they disappear.
- If I happen to be near my computer, I open a new document in my text editor and stick the idea right in a blank document (see why I said “nearly” earlier?). That way, the idea is ready to go when I sit down to write.
- Sometimes the ideas happen when I’m screwing around on the web looking at
pornwebsites for lawyers. When that happens, I either open a blank text document and record the idea or I grab the webpage with Evernote Web Clipper and save it in Evernote for later.
- Often I get ideas in the form of an email. Someone will write to me with a question or I’ll be copied on something interesting. I just forward those emails right into Evernote for later reference.
- Many times—probably most of the time—the ideas come while I’m walking somewhere (the urinal thing was an exception). Walking is where I’ve lost most of my exceptionally brilliant and valuable ideas (the ones you don’t get to see because they’ve been lost). To prevent the further loss of these exceptionally brilliant and valuable ideas, I’ve installed the Evernote Widget on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (an Android phone). For you iPhone people, the iPhone has a quick note feature built right into Evernote. I click on the widget, and it instantly opens a blank Evernote document and starts recording. I speak my idea into the phone, and with one click, the recording is saved and uploaded to Evernote. Later, when I’m reviewing the items I’ve saved in Evernote, I stick the item in an “ideas” folder and save it until I need something to write about. If I sit down to write and draw a blank, then I just pop over into the folder on Evernote and pick something interesting.
That’s it: it takes (1) writing every day plus (2) an idea. It’s mostly about getting the habit started. Once you’re moving forward, it’s easy to keep the momentum going.
Start your idea-capturing system. Throw in some regularly scheduled chair time. Shake, stir, and pour. The next thing you know, you’ll be publishing an article every single day.