My job requires the wearing of many hats. Some days I spend all my time analyzing tracking data, some days I'm writing these Daily Nuggets, other days I've reviewing programming code, and then there are those mundane days when I'm spending time with the bookkeeper and insurance agent.
Although all these different duties seem disconnected, they all drive my business forward and it's surprising to me how each one helps inspire ideas for making the others better.
In honor of my recent achievement of 1000 blog posts, I documented several procedures I use for blogging
. During that entire series of behind-the-scenes blogging tips, I left out what's probably my most important aspect of my writing process.
Well, honestly, it is the most important part of what helps me to drive my business forward... How I manage to capture and control my inspirations.
First of all, I don't fight inspiration. It often hits at the most inopportune times.
I always have to follow through with my inspiring thoughts or I might never get it back again.
Sometimes I don't eat, don't get up, ignore the hunger pains, and sometimes don't even get up to visit the bathroom! When a good idea comes to me, I know I need to write it down, type it out, or record it for fear that I might lose it.
Many times that inspiration hits me when I'm away from my computer. When this happens, I need to stop what I'm doing, pull myself out of whatever situation I'm in and take some notes. I used to carry around a digital voice recorder to take these notes. But now I try to use voice recognition dictation on my iPhone and write myself an email. This saves me a lot of time from having to go back and transcribe my voice recorded notes later.
I've also been hit with inspiration while out with friends, at parties, having burgers in an Irish pub, and even enjoying a glass of Monbazillac at a wine bar.
I've heard stories of someone scribbling great ideas on the back of a cocktail napkin, and one of my close business contacts once told me a story of how he and his friend quit their jobs and started their first business after an evening out with for drinks. Well, neither has happened to me, but only because I've replaced the napkin with an iPhone and, well, I already own my own business!
Anyway, voice dictating doesn't quite work in those noisy situations, so instead I've excused myself, usually by saying "That's a great idea! Let me write that down!" and I've pecked out a reminder note on my smartphone instead of voice dictating.
I hate it when inspiration hits while I'm driving. In those cases I have to fumble for the smartphone voice recorder app and take notes that way. Now, before you think that I'm a hazardous driver fumbling with my phone, this is mostly a hands free action by asking Siri on my iPhone to "Open voice recorder."
Strangely enough, I was just preparing my lunch when I was zapped with the inspiration to write out most of what is written above. I put my lunch aside and sat back down to start typing. Of course my food is getting cold now, but it's only a few minutes so far because my typing speed has increased a lot after 4 years of daily blogging. That said, I'll step away for a few minutes to eat real quick...
... Too quick indeed and now I'm back at the computer again to continue this.
Another thing about inspiration is that you do need to go with the flow and let your thinking guide you when you are in a groove.
In fact, it's May 4, 2014 as I write out the initial rough draft of this Nugget. This is the day when I came up with the inspiration to document my thoughts about blogging
. It took an entire month before I was able to start publishing those thoughts on June 4, 2014.
Although, back on May 4th, I didn't realize they would take 7 days of Nuggets to write out.
In fact, May 4th was a very inspiring day for me because that's also the day I came up with the idea to do a series of posts about Google Places for Business
which I started publishing on May 12, 2014.
The idea for both of these series of Nuggets just popped in my head on a Sunday afternoon when I was just in the middle of writing this website review
. I was trying to force myself to take a break to eat, but nope, inspiration struck.
In fact, this is one of those moments I was talking about in Points 3, 4, and 10 in this Nugget
... I got up to clear my head from scattered writing thoughts and suddenly I'm writing something else! Ack!
So don't worry if you are in the middle of one idea and you start thinking about a tangential topic. Open a new file and start typing.
The human brain is not linear, so don't force yourself to write like that.
So, take it from me, capture that inspiration when it strikes. I believe that my idea to write everything I learned about writing 1000 blogs could have been a fleeting idea if I had forced myself to take a lunch break a few minutes ago.
I'm not usually forgetful, but from idea to fruition took 31 days to publish my blogging thoughts, and it was 51 days that I wrote the rough draft for this Nugget. Do you remember quick ideas that you had 31 or 51 days ago, or are they forgotten like the day before yesterday's breakfast?