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Keys to an Effective Idea Journal

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: If you want to make money with your blog you must treat it like a business, not a hobby. That means, even on those days when you can’t come up with something to blog about you still have to blog about something. To hedge against those days, I keep an “Idea Journal so I always have something to write about.

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You don’t need an expensive, leather-bound journal. In fact, I prefer a small, pocket-size notebook so I can carry it with me everywhere I go. You never know when you’re going to see something or hear some snippet of conversation that makes for a good blog post idea and if you don’t jot it down you’ll never remember it.

What do I write in my Idea Journal?

Blog Post Ideas

Since I’m a blogger, most of the ideas in my journal focus on blog posts. Most of these ideas come to me while I’m researching other blog posts or while I’m reading the other blogs I visit on a regular basis. For this reason, I always keep my journal right next to my computer while I’m working.

Book Ideas

I’ve also been working on a publishing project so I have a few pages of my journal dedicated to book ideas. These might incorporate some of my blog post ideas but they’ll require more research to expand them to book-length.

Guest Blogging Ideas

I also like to write guest blog posts for blogs that aren’t necessarily in the “Make Money Online” niche so I have a section of my journal set aside for these ideas.

Where do my Ideas Come From?

Everywhere! Other blogs, news websites, books that I’m reading, conversations with other bloggers, conversations with my readers – I even get ideas while I’m standing in line at the coffee shop.

Unless you’re keeping an Idea Journal you really don’t realize how many times each day you think of good ideas for blog posts or ebooks. But once you start it quickly becomes a habit.

What do I do with these Ideas?

As I jot ideas into my journal I use a star-system to give them a ranking. Two start means they’re ideas that I want to incorporate as soon as possible because they’re timely information. One star means they’re ideas that I definitely want to include in the very near future.

Ideas that have no stars are just that – they’re abstract ideas, something I want to think about and maybe expand upon.

Since I keep my journal close at hand at all times it’s easy enough to just flip through it and look for those one- and two-star ideas and get busy writing them up. And the funny thing is, usually when I’m writing those blog posts or ebooks, it leads to even more ideas which, of course, I quickly add to my Idea Journal!

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4 Comments (Add one)

  1. Joseph
    Joseph

    I love the idea of journaling and keep a small journal in my pocket. But it’s just so hard to remember to take it out. :)

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Joseph, it’s only difficult in the beginning. Once you make it a habit, it becomes a lot easier.

  2. Meg

    I never go anywhere without a notebook + pencil … ideas have a tendancy to sneak up anytime and it never pays to be unprepared. No matter how much I tell myself “I’ll remember that one later” … I never do! And there is nothing more disappointing than that feeling of a good idea lost …

    1. Sté Kerwer

      I completely understand Meg. I never go out without my Moleskine in my pocket :)