I am oftentimes asked (by lawyers and non-lawyers) how I “come up with” ideas for blog posts. These people either have their own blog or are considering starting one. I am by no means an expert blogger, but for those that are interested, this is my own methodology:
1. I have a blog fodder file on my desk. Anytime I read an interesting article in an agriculture or legal publication, I rip it out or put a post-it by the article and stick it in my blog fodder file. When I have time, I go through the blog fodder file to get my creative juices flowing. Perhaps I will cite the article in my post or maybe the article will give me an idea for a completely separate post.
2. I pull in blog posts via RSS Feeds and have a virtual blog fodder file. There are several news aggregators to choose from but I use Google Reader for my subscriptions to RSS Feeds. I then enjoy viewing my RSS Feeds via Net News Wire on my iMac, iPad, and iPhone. I can easily tweet a link, post it on Facebook, or save it for a rainy day. I highlight interesting blog posts that might be used myself (i.e., using the “star” feature in Google Reader) or forward the post to my Evernote account. There is an Evernote add-on for Safari on my iMac and applications for both my iPad and iPhone. In other words, I create a “virtual blog fodder file” for rainy day blogging.
3. I write down blog posts ideas. I use Things to manage my ever-growing “To Do” list and jot down ideas for various “Projects.” I love Things because it synchs with my iPad and iPhone so I always have my To Do list with me and can make changes wherever I am. When I think of an idea for a blog post, I write it down in my “Blog Project” on Things. Things is my program of choice but there are thousands of other programs. I also really love using “Notes” in iMail and my iPhone. Before I became a “Mac Lawyer,” I used to carry a steno pad with me at all times. I used the steno pad to write down ideas when they came to me (not recommended while driving!). I still love steno pads and have used them since college. So whether you are an “old school” notepad user or a “new school” technology user, I suggest simply writing ideas down when they come to you. Ideas sometimes come at peculiar times.
4. I work on draft blogs with my blog fodder. I hate to admit this but I have about 20 half-written blogs saved as drafts in WordPress. Sometimes I have an idea for a blog post and start writing but I know that it is not finished. Perhaps I want to do more research on a topic before publishing or perhaps I need more time to finish the thought process. I try to go back to these draft blogs from time-to-time to prepare them for publication.
There’s no one “right method” but this is my method. My biggest suggestion is simply to create your own blog fodder file and write down ideas as they come to you. It’s difficult to find time to blog but when you do it is helpful to have this blog fodder file to help get the creative juices flowing. Writers block can be difficult a thing to overcome.
If you are a new blogger, I suggest reading this guide that I edited for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (“NCBA”) Young Producer’s Council (“YPC”). YPC is also looking for more cattle bloggers.
I wish I had that many drafts started. I usually am working on one or two in my head then the night before type it up or do the screencast. Not something I would suggest. I haven’t had much luck writing them ahead of time. Wish I did.
William’s dad turned 86 this year.