How I come up with blog post ideas

The screen is still blank. The clock is ticking fast. Fifteen, 30 minutes, and counting. It’s still a blank screen. You’ve been trying your best. But nothing really comes out. Now you want to give up. You say it’s writer’s block. It’ll happen again next time.

Now this. What if you have a simple system in place that works every time you need to write? Yes, it’s possible. I’ve been using it for quite a while and it never fails me. You might want to give it a try. This is how it works.

You need to have a simple system for capturing blog post ideas. In my case, I use Evernote where I save working headlines for future blog posts. So the next time I need to write something, I already have a list of possible topics I could work on. This saves me time from thinking about what topic to write about when prompted with a blank screen.

The goal is to skip the blank screen, run through your list of topics you’ve captured beforehand, choose what fancies you, and you can start writing immediately.

Since I write blog posts, I optimize my headlines for intent when users search for info online. My secret weapon for doing this is by using the app Question Samurai. Question Samurai gives me an idea of what keywords users are looking for when googling, and finding YouTube videos. You can purchase Question Samurai once you avail of Vidnami—an app for creating videos.

By having this simple system in place for capturing blog post ideas, I can write fast. Topics to write about are readily available since I have captured them beforehand using Evernote. There’s no longer a need for spending long hours staring at a blank screen wondering what topic to write about. And with Question Samurai, I could optimize my headlines for search engines and YouTube.

You can try Vidnami for free. It’s the first step to getting the most out of Question Samurai.

Do you have a different method for coming up with blog post ideas? Leave your reply in the comments.

On remote work arrangement

It was when I reached four years of working at a publishing company that I negotiated for a remote work arrangement. It was the book The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (@tferriss) that greatly influenced how I view work. By applying the principles in his book, I was granted a remote work arrangement by my former employer.

The cubicle isn’t the only place where productivity happens. I’ve tried working in coffee shops, coworking spaces, in my home office, and I could say that productivity isn’t location-dependent. What matters is how you keep your creative juices flowing.

For those who dream of working remotely, I have some tips for you.

  • Protect your daily routine as if your life depended on it. Working from home or working remotely will expose you to different distractions on a daily basis. It sounds draconian, but you need to stick to your daily schedule by using a reliable app. In my case, I use Nozbe for managing my to-do list.
  • Put the Pomodoro Technique into practice. This technique works best for me when I use my wristwatch with a countdown timer set at 25 minutes which is the equivalent of one pomodoro cycle. When the timer sets off the alarm, I take a 5-minute break or I continue working on the task until I complete 4 pomodoro cycles then take a 30-minute break.
  • Set aside time for deep work. Cal Newport defines deep work as “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.” Writing involves deep work. So does brainstorming. As well as accounting, among others. Ideally, schedule a day of the week when you’re going to do deep work (e.g. every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.). For me I have adapted a much more flexible approach to deep work. Like the classic Pavlovian stimulus-response strategy, I associate deep work with a thing or place such as coffee shops for writing, coffee for solo brainstorming, etc.
  • Eat on time and make time for exercise. It’s easy to neglect your health when you’re all deep work at the expense of eating on time and doing exercise. Of course, meal-time should be a basic part of your daily routine. It’s a habit that should not be listed in your productivity app, because without nutrition, there’s no energy to manage at all. And how can you exercise without energy? And how can you boost your energy without exercise? You already know the answers.
  • Wage war against perfectionism. How many times do you proofread your email before hitting the send button? How many times do you rehearse before pitching your idea to your employer? How many times do you analyze your report before submitting them to your immediate superior? If you’re that type of person who’s got used to overdoing tasks than necessary then you might be a perfectionist.
  • Get obsessed with systems and processes. Your daily routine involves systems and processes. You can achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself by following certain systems or processes of doing tasks. Let’s take the goal of writing a book as an example. By saying that you’ll publish your book by the end of the year seems like an overwhelming goal to accomplish. By having a book writing system or process in order, the goal of writing a book by the end of the year becomes more manageable. Breaking down topics to write based on your outline lets you focus on one task at a time. Do this on schedule and you’ll find writing a book a lot easier than just stating your need to publish a book at the end of the year without a dependable writing strategy.

If you have the proper tools and techniques, systems, and processes of doing tasks you have on your plate, working remotely becomes more enjoyable by avoiding distractions as many as you can. There’s a risk to everything either your work remotely or spend your work hours in a cubicle. But what’s important is to follow your intuition. If you think you’ll be more productive working in a cubicle then so be it. If you think you can accomplish your tasks by working remotely then by all means do it. The corporate world has been quick to adapt when it comes to remote work. It’s just up to you to prove that you’ll be at your most productive state if granted to work remotely.

Leave your reply in the comments.