Capture Your Writing Ideas: How to Never Lose Track of Blog and Book Ideas | Rebecca Livermore | Skillshare

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Capture Your Writing Ideas: How to Never Lose Track of Blog and Book Ideas

teacher avatar Rebecca Livermore, Microsoft Office for Creatives

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Writer Idea Capture System Intro


    • 2.

      Analog vs Digital


    • 3.

      Analog Tools Part 1


    • 4.

      Analog Tools Part 2


    • 5.

      Analog Tools Part 3


    • 6.

      Digital Tools Part 1


    • 7.

      Digital Tools Part 2


    • 8.

      Digital Tools Part 3


    • 9.

      Choose 1 or 2 Tools


    • 10.

      Your Project


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About This Class

Many writers, whether authors or bloggers have an abundance of ideas. For some of you, the problem isn't coming up with ideas, but rather keeping track of all of your great ideas. 

In this class I get into how to set up your writing idea capture system. In it I cover the following:

Analog vs. Digital Tools – I cover the pros and cons of both analog and digital tools for your idea capture system.

Top Analog and Digital Tools – I share with you some of my favorite analog and digital tools for capturing writing ideas.

How to Create Your Own System – I also get into how to set up your own personalized system that works for you.

If you want a great way to keep track of all of your amazing ideas, this class is for you!

5 Secrets to Developing the Blogging Habit

All of the ideas in the world do you no good if you don't sit down and write. But many bloggers find it difficult to blog consistently. That's why I create the course, 5 Secrets to Developing the Blogging Habit. If you haven't already taken the course, I recommend it as good supplemental information for this course. Be sure to check it out here:

Meet Your Teacher

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Rebecca Livermore

Microsoft Office for Creatives


Hi, I'm Rebecca Livermore, also known as The Office Creative. I'm a bestselling author, blogger, and the owner of Professional Content Creation. I've been a freelance writer since 1993 and have served as a content manager for top bloggers such as Michael Hyatt, Amy Porterfield, and Marcus Sheridan.

I've always loved PowerPoint, but it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I began to discover the many ways to use PowerPoint to create content. I use it for everything from blog and social media images, lead magnets, low content books, printables, videos, digital planners, and more. The more I use PowerPoint, the more amazed I am by the many types of content you can create with this one powerful tool.

I'm constantly learning new ways to use PowerPoint and other Micro... See full profile

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1. Writer Idea Capture System Intro: hello and welcome to how to capture your writing ideas. Most authors and bloggers don't have a problem coming up with ideas, but the problem that they have is remembering their ideas. My name's Rebecca Livermore, and I am a full time author and blogger. One of my books is the bloggers. Quick Guide to Blood Post Idea. The first part of this book is about how to set up systems to keep track of all of your ideas. The idea capture system that I teach is applicable not just a bloggers but to all writers, really, to anybody that needs a way to capture all of their ideas. Here's what you'll learn in this class will explore the pros and cons of analog and digital tools for your idea. Capture system. Cover various analog and digital tools that you can use to capture your ideas. And we'll also get into how to set up your own writing idea. Capture systems that works for you. So let's go ahead and dive in 2. Analog vs Digital: One of the first things that you need to do is to set up a blogged, post idea capture system. And there's a couple of ways that you can go with this. You can do analog or digital. Some people swear by the value of doing things the old fashioned way and writing everything out by hand. Others prefer to do everything digitally using their computer phone tablet and so on. And I happen to fit in to this category while I prefer digital. To be honest with you, there some significant disadvantages to doing everything digitally. For instance, while I was working on the book that this course is based on my electricity went out at the same time. So did my Internet. And since I rely completely on electricity and Internet, I was stuck. This was an incredibly frustrating experience for me because I had a tough time working because my entire process is digital. Now I have the use of Microsoft Surface Book, and I love it because in addition to being a regular computer, I can use it like a tablet and handwrite things. That is, unless the pin breaks. So I was in the middle of this project. I was sketch noting some things, and the battery went out on my surface book pen. Well, at least that's what I thought was wrong. So I ordered a new battery. But when I got it and put it in the pen, still didn't work. Come to find out the pen itself was broken. So then I had to buy a new pen. These two recent events served as a reminder to me that while I love all things digital, there are some advantages to doing things the analog way, as is always the case. The main thing is to do whatever works best for you. If, like me, you prefer digital. Don't let people who talk about how analog is so much better make you feel guilty or intimidated or like maybe you should switch to analog. On the other hand, if you actually prefer to do things the old fashioned pen and paper way, don't feel like you're out of it or wrong for being old school. The primary thing is to find a tool, are at the most as I'll explain a bit later to tools that work well for you. 3. Analog Tools Part 1: in this video, I'm gonna get into analog options for capturing your block post ideas. The first option is paper and pen. It's the most basic, but it's the one that I recommend the least. And here's why. Okay, let's say that you're out to lunch with a friend or you're out to coffee on your own, and you jot down an idea on a napkin. Or let's say that when you get an idea, you're in your office in your near your computer printer. So you just grab a piece of printer paper to jot your idea down. Unless you're a lot more organized than I am. Those pieces of paper will end ups gathered hither and yon. Some of them might be on your desk stuffed in your purse with a whole bunch of other items and to knows where else. The bottom line is. When it's time to find those ideas, you won't have any clue where to look. Now, if you like to write on paper instead of just using random pieces of paper, consider investing in a journal or a notebook. If you decide to go the notebook or journal route, consider using one that is small enough to fit into your purse pocket or computer case. The idea is that you want to take your idea collection bucket with you everywhere you go, because you never know when an idea will strike. If you decide to use a journal or a notebook, also consider putting a table of contents or an index at the front or the back, which will help you know where to find your ideas. 4. Analog Tools Part 2: the next analog tool I want to share with you is three by five cards. One of the great things about three by five cards is that they're small enough to fit into a pocket or anything else that you like to carry, such as a purse. Three by five Cards are small, but they're also mighty in that they're sturdier than most paper there. Also a uniform size and shape, which makes them less likely to end up accidentally tossed. Another great thing about three by five cards is that they have two sides, and you can use one side to jot down the title or the main idea and the other side to jot down notes about the idea. For example, on the back of the card, you may drive down general thoughts about the idea where to get more information, someone to call to interview and so on. Now let's talk a bit about how to organize three by five cards. The first way is binder. Rings and a blundering are like the rings that are in a notebook, but they're just a loose ring that you can use to hold all of your cards together. Now you can actually buy three by five cards that air held together with a binder ring. I happen to find the ones in this image on the Staples website, but probably any large office supply store has them. You can also just use an old fashioned hole punch and punch a hole in the upper left corner of your cards and then use the ring. Joke them together. You can also use a old fashioned recipe box or a file box to store your three by five cards . Now file boxes often come with dividers, which can help you organize your cards. For example, you can put tabs in your recipe, box or file box for different months of the year or for your block post categories. Photo albums are another option for organizing your three by five cards because they have sleeve where you can slip photos or three by five cards into them. Photo albums are different sizes, so I recommend getting one that's small enough that can fit easily into your purse or backpack or briefcase or whatever it is that you carry around. They do, however, tend to be a little bit on the bulky side and so if you find them cumbersome to carry around, just carry some three by five cards in your wallet. Jothee ideas down and then later put them in the photo album Billing and pinch. You can just use a binder clip or a rubber band toe. Hold your cards together. However, I mentioned this option as a last resort for organizing and three by five cards because you have to take the binder clip or reprimand off to look through your cards, and it's easy to not replace it, and then everything could get lost. However, I believe in striking while the iron is hot. So if you happen to have three by five cards available and all you have to hold them together is a rubber band or binder clip. Start with that and then get a better system later. 5. Analog Tools Part 3: in this video, I'm going to get into three additional analog tools, the first to all our whiteboards. Now I know people who have entire walls that air whiteboards. And if you don't want to go to that extreme, their white boards available in many different sizes. One white board option that you might want to consider is one with the calendar on it. One great option about having a whiteboard with a calendar on it is that you can actually jot down when you want to publish your various ideas. The white board that I have actually has a court board that runs along the bottom, and it's also magnetic so I can attach papers with pushpins and magnets. Ah, lot of people love sticky notes, and there's a lot to love about them. For example, nowadays you can buy them in multiple shapes, sizes and color. And naturally, as the name implies, you can stick them on things. The wonderful thing about sticky notes is that you can use them in conjunction with a white board or poster board or a notebook, for that matter. The great thing about sticky notes is that you can rearrange them in many different ways. For example, he may start off with a board that is just full of sticky notes that air in random order and later rearranged them by block, post category or, in some other way, the final analog option that I want to share with you. Our paper mind maps. You don't need any special tools for paper. Mind if you can use a piece of notebook paper or a piece of printer paper and pen or pencil with my maps, you start off by putting the main idea in the center of the piece of paper. From there, you link out to your sub ideas and hasn't shown in this example. You have your main idea in the centre sub ideas and then even subs up ideas. For instance, you could have the name of your block in the center of your mind map and link out two categories of your blood. You could have a separate page for each category of your blogged, put the name of the category in the center and link out to block post ideas for that category from their. My maps are great for brainstorming ideas for your blawg, much more so than regular idea capturing 6. Digital Tools Part 1: is going analog isn't for you. Or if you want to use a combination of analog and digital tools for capturing your block post ideas, the next couple videos are for you. If you happen to use WordPress as your blogging platform, there are a couple of good WordPress plug ins that you can use as editorial calendars. The 1st 1 is co schedule now. Co schedule is not a free plug in, but it has a lot of great features, both for managing your blawg and social media. You can dump a bunch of ideas into co schedule with the date if you want to schedule them or without a date. If you don't yet know when you want to use them, the ones that don't have a date you can look through whenever you want to write a blood post and aren't sure what to write about. There is also a free editorial calendar that I have used a lot and is very popular now. This free editorial calendar doesn't have nearly as many features as co schedule, and you know, but like they say, what can you expect for free? It's still a great plug in. I've included. A link to both of these plug ins on the resource is pdf that you'll find in the project area of this course. Evernote is one of the most popular note taking idea capturing systems out there. There are several ways to use Evernote. For example, you can use it to send block post to from the Web. If you're reading a blonde post and you think this has some great information for me to reference in my blood, then send it to Evernote. If you do some free riding like I recommend in my course the five secrets to developing the blogging cabinet, Evernote is a great tool to do. Your free riding of the great things about Evernote is that it's such a popular program that it integrates with a lot of other programs. One note is what I like to refer to as the Microsoft version of Evernote. One note has many of the same features as ever note, such as being able to clip block posts and send them to one note the ability to free, write or compose entire block post, and so on. One of the things that make me choose one note over Evernote is that one note hasn't awesome doctor to death. Stop option. When you use this option, one note is open on the right side of your screen, and the video or block post or whatever you want to take notes from is open on the left side of the screen. If you've ever had the experience of having word or note pad or some other document open and then clicking on a video or block post that you want to take notes from and your document disappears, you'll appreciate the doctor desktop option in one note. Another great feature in one note, as opposed to Evernote, is that you can drag and drop and rearrange the pages in any order that you want as shown in this image. Now you might need toe. Enlarge the video so you can see the image in detail. If he happened to be a Windows user and your computer has a touch screen, you can also use the draw option and one note to handwrite your notes if desired. There is one drawback to one note, and that is that it's not as popular as ever note, and because of that, it doesn't integrate with as many other programs. Evernote and one note are both available for Mac and Windows and for iPhone, Android and Windows devices. The bottom line is that both one note and Evernote are great programs, and you really can't go wrong with either one of them. So I recommend choosing one of them as a part of your block post capture system. 7. Digital Tools Part 2: Now let's get into digital tools. Part two. We haven't tried mind mapping before. I recommend that you give it a try as a way to collect blood post ideas, and the tool that I recommend for that is called free Mind, which, as the name implies, is free and it's available for both Mac and PC. The essential way that it works is that you put your central idea in the middle of the mind map and then link out to related ideas from there. The best thing about mind maps is that it's very, very easy to rearrange the ideas simply by dragging and dropping so you could do an initial brain dump of ideas in no particular order and then organize them, for example, by blood post category. However, there is a significant limitation to my MEPs, and that is that you can't write much in each node. There are a couple of workarounds for this, and one of them is to add notes which are like sub points to your main points. This image is of the mind map that I actually used to plan out the book that this course is based on and in that you can see that there are bigger categories, and then from those are notes that are smaller sub categories. You could use a similar structure for your blood post ideas. Also, from the insert menu, you can hyper leg to things such as a text file where you have put a ton of information. I've also used Power Point as an editorial calendar, and I've actually written an article on that which I will wait to in the resource is PdF in the project section of this course. Pinterest is also a great site for organizing and keeping track of all kinds of ideas. And by the way, in case you don't know, you can create private boards so everybody else doesn't see what it is that your collecting spreadsheets are also a popular editorial calendar option where you can put all kinds of ideas as they come to you. In my opinion, I saved the best for last, and that is one drive and Google drive in many respects Google Drive and one driver very similar, but there are some differences as well. One of the ways that they're similar is that they're like huge finally cabinets where you can store all types of documents and other types of files. They're also both cloud based, which means that you can access your files from any computer or device with an Internet connection. They both also have sharing options where you can share your files with other people. And this is a great thing if you have team members who help you with your blawg. There are some pros of Google Drive over one drive, and one is that it integrates with more programs than one drive does. And also it has a voice to text option, which at this time one drive doesn't have. There are also some pros of one drive with a big one being that it uses actual Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel, Power Point and someone rather than the knockoff versions in Google Drive. Also, if you happen to have an office 3 65 subscription, you may have one terabyte of storage and one drive for free, so be sure to check that out. One drive also includes one note. So if you like using digital notebooks such as one note or Evernote, one Dr is a great option. Since Google drive does not have any notebook option. The bottom line is that both one drive and Google drive are great options, and I highly recommend that you consider using one of them as part of your blood post idea capture system. 8. Digital Tools Part 3: Now let's get into digital tools, Part three. In this video, I'll get into some tools that I don't personally use, but that people that I know and respect use and find them helpful. Now I haven't actually used Wunder list or Wonder list, however you pronounce it myself. But it is a popular option for tracking block post ideas, and I asked a good friend of mine merrily payment for her input on how she uses it. Merrily happens to blogged on two different domains, and she has set up a separate Wonder Lis folder for each of those two domains. Within each of those folders, she's created individual list for the following categories. The 1st 1 is her own block ideas. The 2nd 1 is Blawg Ideas from other sources. Her third list is Draft Block, which is the block that she's currently working on. The fourth list is blondes ready to be published, and on this one she includes the title and the location of the blood post. Her final list are Blocks published, which also includes the title, and the location merrily goes on to say that wonder. Lis also has a place for notes and Each task can be divided into sub task, and you could add links, pictures or anything else you want within the task. This system and Wonder List works well for her because it's easy for her to move a task that originated in her My Block ideas and turn it into a draft blood task and subsequently ready to be published and published. The next tool is Scrivener and Scrivener is a popular program for writing books, but some top bloggers, such as Michael Hyatt, have used it for blogging as well. Now, to be honest, while many bloggers and author swear by Scrivener and I'm sure it's a great program, it's complex enough that I never really got the hang of it, however, since it's so popular and so many people love it, I wanted to include it here at the tool to consider. If you do this idea scrivener, there are a couple of ways you can go about it. For instance, instead of starting a project for a book, you can start one project that is for a particular block post category one to keep lakes, two different articles and so on. Since Wonder List and Scrivener both have some really great features for capturing an organizing block. Post ideas. I wanted to include them in this section of the course, even though I myself haven't personally used them. I hope you find those helpful. 9. Choose 1 or 2 Tools: In this video, I get into the importance of choosing one or at the most two tools for capturing your block post ideas when it comes to sending up a system for tracking ideas. Ultimately, you want to have one place where all of your ideas reside. For example, you'll want to put all of your ideas in a paper notebook. Or put all of your ideas in a digital notebooks such as Evernote or my favorite one note. The alternative to this is that you can have one method for quickly jotting down your ideas and then another tool where you keep all of your ideas. For example, let's say that you like to write your ideas on three by five cards, and you always have some in your pocket or purse on your night stand. But let's say that you also like to use an online notebook such as one note where you say things like blonde posts that you'll use US inspiration or for reference. In this case, I recommend that you use one note as your primary location and that at specified times such as weekly transfer written notes from note cards into one note, the reason this is important is that you want to reduce the amount of time that you spent trying to find where you put your ideas and if you have your ideas written on the back of napkins in a notebook and word documents on three by five cards and in one note. When it comes time to find your ideas or to locate a specific idea, you'll waste a lot of time searching for your ideas in the various places you have them. Ideally, if you go the digital route, your primary system for storing your idea should be accessible on all your devices and on any computer with an Internet connection. The key things to look for in this regard, our Web maps for the program and phone and tablet acts for the same program. For example, I can access all of my documents that I stored on one drive from any computer with an Internet connection, and I can also access those same documents from my phone since there's a one drive app for my phone. So be sure to keep this in mind when you're deciding which tools to use for your block post idea capture system 10. Your Project: Your project for this course is to select one or the most two tools for your idea capture system and to share what you're going to use and how you're going to use it in the project area of this course. To start your project, simply click on the your Project Link that is located beneath the video, as shown in the image above. Once you click on that link over to the right, you'll see some PDS related to this project, and you will also see a button that says Create a project. Click on that budget To start your project, you'll simply type what you're going to share. And if you'd like, you could take screen grabs as well, and you'll put them into the project workspace as shown in the image above. If you need an example, be sure to check out my project in the project area. If you enjoy this course, I'd really appreciate it. If you would quick on the yes button for recommending it to others. You'll find that above the course. Thank you so much for joining me on this course. I appreciate it, and I wish you the best in your blogging and writing efforts