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5 top tips for tracking your writing ideas

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Doesn’t it seem like all your blog post ideas come at the most inopportune times? You’re usually out doing something when they idea strikes, and now you need to find a way of tracking your writing ideas.

Chances are there are a few great ideas that haven’t been written. You didn’t write them down when you got them, and by the time you got to your computer, you forgot all about them.

How is it possible for everyone to track ideas?

Having some sort of tracking system is important. It doesn’t matter if you have one blog or multiple, you need to keep track of the ideas, where those ideas will go, and the timing of those posts.

Here are my top five tips for tracking your writing ideas.

Always have something to write your idea down in or on

Before the invention of the smart phone, I would carry a notebook and pen everywhere. I had to have a big handbag for my A5 notebook and even took it to work with me so I could make notes as and when they came to me.

I still use a notebook a lot of the time for quick notes, but I’ve also moved onto technology.

At one time I used Evernote, but I’ve scrapped that for Trello more recently.

With Trello, I can sync between computer and phone. No internet connection? No problem with the phone. The ideas will sync later, but I can still create and store when I think of something.

Other tools I’ve used are Asana and, most recently, Milanote. I’m currently testing out Milanote more, and it’s great for those who are more visually focused. You can set out something similar to Trello boards, but you can also have it set as a mindmap.

When I want to create a full post while I’m out, I’ll use Google Docs. That is accessed without the internet and I can write and store. Once I get an internet connection I can sync and access through the computer.

The Backlog: Idea-Tracking Guided Journal For The Entrepreneurial Spirit ($)

Start draft posts on your blog

I have a lot of draft posts on my blog. They’re usually just the title and a few notes in the body. Sometimes, I’ll include the headings that I’ve thought of.

This is great if I have an internet connection and I want to track posts in more detail. I can go straight to the site, and not have to think about copying and pasting from Google Docs afterward.

It’s not my favorite way for tracking your writing ideas, but it’s one if you just like to keep things in one place.

Tracking your writing ideas as soon as you get them

Don’t delay in when you track your ideas. My biggest tip is to track them as soon as you get them. It doesn’t matter what software you us!

When you get the idea, you’ll often get some of the details you want to include in your post. Make a note of those details, even if it’s just one word that connects to the overall idea.

If you wait to write, you’ll forget the idea. Don’t give it the five minutes it takes to walk somewhere. Find a wall or a bench to wait on and quickly make a note on your phone.

The only time this doesn’t work is if you get an idea while you’re in the middle of a meeting or you’re at a convention. If in a meeting, I scribble things down quickly just as a starter. When at conventions, I find a quiet corner quickly to make a note of everything.

MORE: How I got into Entertainment blogging

Store article links somewhere

There are times that your ideas will come from someone else’s blog post. You may have read something that you want to expand on because they haven’t. Or maybe you have your own tips to share.

An idea can’t be plagiarized, so there’s no worry of that. What you want to avoid is copying the entire article. That is wrong.

But you’ll want to grab the link and paste it somewhere in your notes. I have a Trello board that says “Entertainment news dump” when I have something for that part of my work.

This is something I’m testing out Milanote for more. Since it’s more visual, it works a little better for seeing links easily.

A simple spreadsheet can also be good for this. I don’t find spreadsheets as visually appealing, though.

Tracking Your Writing Ideas When On the Go

Don’t worry if you’ve already written it

You may get stuck when tracking your writing ideas by looking into whether you’ve already written something like it before. By the time you’ve checked things out, you’ve forgotten the idea!

Don’t worry about checking up on past content just yet. This isn’t about actually writing the idea, but about tracking it. You want to dump it somewhere so you don’t forget it.

When it comes to writing, that is when you want to do the checking. You don’t want to write something you’ve written in the past, especially if you’re not going to do anything new. You could look at updating your old post instead, though.

Once you’ve written a post, have a method of tracking your content. Trello has been good for me, but it’s something else I’m using Milanote for right now to test out.

MORE: Where to find prompts for writing your blog posts

How are you tracking your writing ideas? What tips do you have for fellow writers? Share in the comments below.