In my last series post I discussed various techniques for curing writer’s block (or “blogger’s block,” as some call it). Each of those methods will generate some interesting ideas, but what happens when inspiration comes out of nowhere? Unfortunately, inspiration usually hits at a most inconvenient time. When an idea for a new post strikes I am usually away from a computer and I never seem to have a pad and pen handy to record the idea. When I get back to a computer I usually struggle to recall the idea, or the key points I planned to discuss. I have discovered a quick way to utilize modern technology to help in this regard, without spending a few hundred dollars on a PDA or Blackberry.
Your Cell Phone is Your Friend
One of the best, and most underutilized, features of today’s cell phones is the voice recorder. A quick search of the “Tools” menu on my phone reveals a “Recorder” option where I can speak a quick message into the phone’s microphone. Other models have a shortcut button on the outside of the phone similar to a camera phone’s camera-enabling button. If I am out and about and inspiration for an article pops into my head I’ll open my camera’s voice recording feature and give a quick summary of the idea.
Last week my mind was on the Nintendo Wii after reading an article about the new Wii Fit application coming out soon. “I want a Nintendo Wii. Delayed gratification, sleep on it, start a targeted savings account.” In less than 20 seconds I now had a topic idea recorded and three major discussion points. The next time I am around the computer I’ll add the article idea to my article bank in a fashion similar to the blog posting workflow Darren describes at ProBlogger.
There are obviously some low-tech options to consider. Some bloggers carry an idea notebook which could be as simple as a pad and pen tucked away in a back pocket. Others simply keep a folded sheet of paper with them at all times to record ideas and then transfer over to an electronic medium in the evenings. I personally find the cell phone voice recorder works best for me for the following reasons:
- I am less likely to lose my cell phone than a sheet of paper
- I can talk faster than I can write (and the faster I write, the sloppier my handwriting)
- It is not always convenient to write down a note, but talking on the phone is pretty well accepted as a socially acceptable activity