Be a Blogger: When Inspiration Hits

want to be a bloggerIn 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.

Low-tech Options

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

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  1. Nice idea with the cell phone! You do always have it with you, and it doesn’t seem unusual at all to talk on a phone. I keep an e-mail thread to myself, saved as a draft in my inbox. I cut and paste links there for my weekly round-up and also jot down ideas for posts.

  2. Well, now you post this! 😀 Fortunately this weekend broke my writer’s block – I can’t wait for Monday’s post to go live with some BIG news. Now I just to make sure I find the time to write now that my block is broken.

  3. I’m in the notebook camp as well, but as a part of my system I use a notebook, Yahoo Notepad, and Yahoo Calendar. And that still probably only catches 80% of the ideas I come across.

  4. These tips can be ported into other areas of life too. I find that if I offload these thoughts into a “holding tank,” you can remain focused on tasks at hand. This could mean blog post ideas, things I need at the grocery store, someone I hadn’t thought of in a while and want to call, etc.

    I carry a little notebook with me. I haven’t gotten into the groove yet with the voice recorder though. My phone has one, but it requires too many button presses.

    If I have already gone upstairs to bed when inspiration strikes, I send a text message to my email address.

  5. I use an iPod Touch to record those thoughts on the Notes application. Once saved, I email the note application to myself. Once on the ‘puter, the text from the email can be cut and pasted to the WYSIWYG editor.

  6. This is the next step I need to take. I have the notebook and pen. Only one problem, my little one keeps taking it to write her own little notes 🙂

  7. I have a pocket voice recorder that’s really tiny and flips open to expose a USB port. I can record new files just by hitting one button, too. It’s sweet.

    I also keep a pocket notebook.