Online writing technique: How to keep a log of your writing ideas
If you are a writer or blogger who writes online to make a living, chances are that your brain is constantly searching for what to write about. What differentiates successful online writers from the people who've given up, is that the former are able convert their creative writing ideas into actual articles. Let me share with you a technique I use for my online writing, which is to keep a log of writing ideas and use it to convert what was once a mere thought into a full blown article.
Things to know
- You don't need to be a computer genius to put this online writing technique into practice
- Setting up this log of writing ideas may take 15 minutes right now, but you will reap long term benefits
- You should have Microsoft Excel installed on your computer
Step 1: Start a new spreadsheet
Open a new Microsoft Excel worksheet and save it.
Step 2: Make tabs for categories
If you take a look at the bottom of your excel spreadsheet, there will be tabs. By default, there are 3 tabs namely Sheet 1, Sheet 2 and Sheet 3. The idea is to make tabs for categories that you are likely to write about.
The categories in my Writing Ideas Log range from Self Help, Product Knowledge, Literature, Trending, Movies, Travel, Business and Employment, Celebrity, Cinema, Misc for miscellaneous and more.
Step 3: Column Headings
In each tab, make 3 columns
- Date – The date when you made the log
- Topic – The topic that you wish to write about
- Status – Completed, In Progress, Not Written
Step 4: Keep a log of writing ideas
The whole idea is to keep a log of any writing idea that comes to your mind. The very instant you think "Oh I should write about this topic", simply jot it down in your log for later reference. Enter the date in the Date column, the topic heading in the Topic column and the status. When you have just entered an idea, the status can be as Not Written.
Use this spreadsheet whenever you think of a topic that can be written about. Forget the keyword analysis, forget whether the topic has been already widely written about or not and forget all the SEO advice. For now, all you need to be worried about is to make this spreadsheet a comprehensive log of all your writing ideas and all the topics that come to your mind.
Make sure that you enter the topic in relevant tabs. For example, a topic on "Kim Kardashian Bikini Styles" would fall under the Celebrity tab in the screenshot given below.
Using the log
- Your spreadsheet may appear blank or useless during the first few days but as time goes by, it will fill up with ideas and thoughts.
- Remember those gloomy days when you can't think of anything to write about? This log will come in handy because it will have a list of great ideas that you have thought of earlier. Simply open the spreadsheet and be lost in the many ideas that you have jotted down in the past.
- You can flip through the different tabs and end up writing about a topic that you may have thought of even 6 months back.
- You can also use filters in Microsoft Excel to filter the data according to their status. So when you are looking for topics that I have not written previously, I simply put the filter on and click "Not Written" Excel will automatically give you a list of the pending topics.
- This log can even be used for analytical purposes because you can put down 'Completed' under the Status column once you have finished writing about a topic from this log. After every month, you can use this spreadsheet to analyze how many topics you have written and how many are pending.
I write online for a living. Besides HubPages, I write for other clients too, which helps pays the bills and a lot more. As you can imagine, it is easy to be lost and confused in the journey of finding topics to write about. This makes the log that we just talked about a vital part of my online writing saga.
If you are like me, there will be many times when you'd have thought of a great topic to write about at a random time and gone "Oh this is a great idea. I must write about it tomorrow" However, you may forget it the next morning. To avoid this, I keep a log of all the ideas that I have and keep referring to this spreadsheet on a daily basis.
Writing online and working full time as a freelance writer is a serious business. This log of writing ideas will help you be on top of your game and help you monetize your creativity. After all, your next random idea may be the next viral blog!