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19 Comments

How do you keep an idea log for your posts?

I am doing some research for a SaaS idea. It would be extremely helpful to hear some insights from you about:

– Last time you wrote down an idea, what were you doing right before you got started? Once you finished, what did you do afterward?
– Where do you write/store your ideas?
– How often do you write/store your ideas?

Thanks in advance!! :)

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    Solid question!

    I typically come up with a lot of my ideas for blog posts when I am out on a run, in the middle of writing another blog post, or right before bed.

    As far as tracking the ideas, I have a "personal blog engine" (have something similar for product ideas too. It is a collection of Notion docs where I can easily jot down ideas and turn the ideas into actual blog posts/writing. I put together a simplified Notion template for it. Feel free to use it!

    https://www.notion.so/Blog-Engine-Template-a9558fbda337477f971f78a5200638b2

    As far as frequency, I probably add to my blog post ideas list around 5 times per week.

    1. 1

      Thanks so much for your answers and the template Ben!

      How do you deal with the ideas you have while out on a run?

      How do you elaborate on the ideas in your Notion to turn them into actual blog posts? What do you do with them afterward?

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        Of course!

        Honestly, I usually just hope I don't forget the idea while I am out running and add it to the list when I get home. Otherwise, if I have my phone with me while I am running I will add it to the list then and there.

        Once I have the idea added to the log in Notion and am ready to start writing the post, I will just convert the list item into a page in Notion and start writing the post in Notion. Once I have the post written, I will copy the markdown and create a new mdx file for my blog (I use Gatsby + MDX) and publish it. I typically publish the post on dev.to and hashnode as well.

        Let me know if you have other questions!

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          Thanks so much Ben, this is very helpful!!

          How often do you forget ideas? And how do you feel about it?

          So, if I understood correctly, each idea/list item is turned into a separate blog post. Is it correct? How do you gather additional information to write the post?

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            I'd say around 95% of the ideas end up making it to the idea tracker. Doesn't bother me too much if I forget one. Figure if I forgot it, it probably wasn't worth writing about.

            Yep, that is a correct understanding. Not every item gets turned into a post though (just not enough time to write every post).

            Gathering additional information depends on what I am posting about. A lot of the writing I do are guides for topics I already know well and want to teach others about so I generally already have a good idea of the related resources available.

            For instance, I write a lot of guides related to Mapbox (https://www.lostcreekdesigns.co/writing/how-to-style-map-layers-in-mapbox-gl-js) and already know that the Mapbox docs are a great resource so I pull a lot from those docs.

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              Thanks Ben for your detailed answers!! I know Mapbox and have also been to their office in 2017 and their "Locate" conference in 2018. The team and the product are very cool!! :D

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                Of course! That is awesome! Would love the chance to make it to one of their conferences at some point.

                Do you still use Mapbox? If you do, you might be interested in a current project I have going, the Mapbox Developers Handbook. It is intended to be a comprehensive playbook for anyone building interactive maps and applications using Mapbox. You can sign up for updates at https://gumroad.com/btyler.

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                  I haven't used it for a while, but I'll definitely consider your playbook if I do!! What's its value proposition compared to existing docs/tutorials? :)

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                    The main value proposition is that it walks you through actual use cases you would hit when building a map-driven application and not just the abstract hello world examples in the docs.

                    Things like how to add data from your API or a third party API to a map, how to filter/style map layers based on user interactions/application state changes, how to link a map and other components in you app like tables and graphs (i.e. if a user clicks a point on the map, update the data shown in a table/graph and vice versa)., etc...

                    Just made the Handbook available for preorder at https://gumroad.com/l/mapbox-handbook

  2. 1

    Great question!

    Currently

    • Have idea mostly during showers, walks, free time
    • Immediately enter into Notion board
    • Board organizes the idea by topic, format (video/article), + links to source that prompted idea if available
    • One thing I started doing in the last year is deleting ideas I haven't used in the past 90 days. It's been one of the best mental practices I've implemented.
    • I tend to jot down new ideas 3-5 times a day, so at the end of the month I'm easily deleting 200+ unused ones
    1. 1

      Thanks so much for your answers David!

      How do you deal with the ideas you have during shower?

      How do you elaborate on the ideas in your Notion to turn them into actual blog posts?

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        Shower thoughts - I wish I had a waterproof ipad 😅 but I usually just sneak out for a second and text myself the idea real quick - then input it into Notion later.

        As for elaborating, I do it by hand. I use plain college ruled physical notebooks, put the idea at the top of the page, and just brainstorm until the page is completely full. Then I take the best ideas/structures/notes and move that back into a Word Doc where I'll write the entire article. Then, I move that finished text into notion for editors to review before posting.

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          I LOVE the shower break to jot down ideas!! :D

          Could you please tell me more about how you brainstorm ideas?

          Thanks a lot David, this is very helpful!!

  3. 1

    Here are the answers to your questions:

    • I don't remember. But, when it happens, I'm usually doing something other than blogging, to which I go back after recording the idea.
    • I store ideas in a Google Docs document. Sometimes I quickly record ideas in Google Keep when I can't use Google Docs or want to cut some time.
    • A few times per week.
    1. 1

      Thanks so much for your answers Paolo!

      How do you elaborate on your ideas? What do you do with them afterward?

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        You're welcome.

        My creations are usually written works such as books, a blog, and a newsletter. So in most cases I elaborate on my ideas by creating one or more Google Docs documents and a few additional Google Keep notes per project.

        I use the documents for writing the drafts of my blog posts and book manuscripts. For my curated newsletter I have a different process and tools.

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          I’m sorry, I am a bit confused now 😅 What role do ideas play in Google Docs and Google Keep? Do they serve different purposes or do you use them interchangeably?

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            Google Docs and Google Play aren't directly related to ideas. They're just tools to record ideas and create project deliverbles such as blog post drafts or book manuscripts.

            I use Google Keep to record short notes about ideas when they pop up, Google Docs to further develop the ideas that are typically writing projects.

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              Thanks a lot for clarifying and for your answers Paolo!!

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