Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weekly writing coach: How do you organize what you want to write or blog?

You've been collecting string on your topic for a while--or at least, you think you have a few leads and resources tucked away somewhere. But how to gather up the right ideas and get them organized into an actual article, memo, blog post or other written piece? Here, some inspiration:
  • Scour your inadvertent content ledgers: Chances are, you're already keeping a ledger of potential content--you just need to audit it to find what you need to blog. Georgy Cohen tells you how to mine those inadvertent posts that contain fodder suitable for posts, which might include "A reply here, a comment there, a shared item over there...added up, there is a lot of value."  All that social-media interaction can yield plenty of ideas.
  • Create, then use, whole conversations:  Here's one blog post written based on questions asked and answered during a chat on Twitter with many users, and some ideas about rethinking how you use Twitter. In this case, social media tools helped generate the ideas and responses, and took notes that were easy to search for and use afterward.  (You can do this with almost any social networking tool, from bookmarking sites to Facebook pages.)
  • Plot it on a grid:  If you have a complex progression of facts and figures to work through, consider plotting a grid like J.K. Rowling did for the Harry Potter books.
  • Use your blogging tool to organize your scraps into a real meal:  Rohit Bhargava just looked back on several years of blogging and suggests you half-write and title your blog posts while the idea is hot, then go back and finish it later. I do this, too. The half-crafted post is both a way of taking notes and, as Bhargava points out, a quick way to get past the blank slate.
What are you using to gather and organize your raw material? Leave word in the comments.

Learn to be a dynamic speaker in my next two-day workshop, Good on Your Feet: A dynamic speaking skills workshop, November 3 and 4 in Washington, DC.

Subscribe to For Communications Directors, my free monthly newsletter, which features content before it appears here on the blog.  Then head over to don't get caught on Facebook, where you'll see new social media trends, technology and communications issues as they crop up during the week--and great conversations with our community of communicators.

1 comment:

stephaniededhar said...

Hi Denise. I always have a notebook in my bag so whenever I have an idea for a blog post I can jot it down. I just recently wrote about my process for crafting a post, which can take a few days or weeks while I move from half-formed thought to well-crafted post ( I also have a folder on my PC with articles, videos or other blogs that I want to draw inspiration from in future, and look back through it regularly to give me ideas.