A few weeks ago, I sat down to prepare for the upcoming week’s blog schedule and I became paralyzed.  For the first time in four years, I seemingly had nothing to write about.

I knew if there ever came a time when I had to “force” content onto {grow} it was a sign that I needed to stop blogging so this was a bad sign.  It is quite sickening to reach a point where the ideas stop.

But after I thought about the situation, I realized that in fact I had not run out of ideas.  I simply had screwed up my tried-and-true system to generate ideas and was paying the price for it. Here’s what happened …

The system

Ideas come at us all the time, every day.  It could be an article we read, a speech we attend, or something we hear on the news. Being a good blogger means always being alert to these ideas — and most important — capturing them. For me, that means writing them down wherever I am and then simply writing the headline for the idea in WordPress as soon as I can.

For example, recently  I had a wonderful chat over breakfast at a cafe in Brooklyn with my friend Pavel Konoplenko. Pavel and I really had the ideas flying and many of them would have made a wonderful subject for a blog post.  As our conversation progressed, I literally wrote the ideas down on the back of the receipt for breakfast and tucked it in my wallet. When I got to a computer, I recorded the ideas in WordPress for future development.

During my dry spell, I realized that I had swerved away from my system.  For some reason, I was either too busy, too lazy, or both and ignored my discipline of recording ideas.

Luckily, I had planned for the day when something went wrong and was able to pull from a stable of extra blog posts I had prepared for an emergency. So the quality on {grow} never suffered even though I was temporarily “empty.” Another lesson — have a back-up plan!

Getting back on track

Once I realized what I had done, it was fairly easy to get back on track.  Simply by paying attention to the world around me — and recording my ideas — I was able to quickly re-fill the pipeline.

For example, I read a post about Facebook that I completely disagreed with.  I simply copied the link to the post, pasted it into a new blog post and wrote the headline “Comment on this?” Will it turn into a post? Who knows? But at least it is an option so I won’t be facing a blank slate when it’s time to blog.

Now when I settle into my usual quiet blogging time (you do have a quiet blogging time don’t you?) I don’t have to remember that story and try to find it on the web again. It’s sitting right there for me as a great option for a blog post for the upcoming week.

Another example — I was scanning my Google Analytics and saw an unusual keyword phrase that people had used to find my blog. It seemed like an excellent idea for post, so I immediately recorded in it the queue for future consideration.

Think about it.  Even if you come across just one idea every day, by the time you sit down to blog, you have at least seven potential post concepts to choose from.

This system really works for me and I found out the hard way that when I’m not disciplined about it, I hit a wall!

What works for you?  How do you keep the blog idea pipeline open?

Illustration courtesy BigStock.com

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