Reader Gwen submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:
How do you come up with something new to write every day?
Gwen, this is the question I get asked the most often. Unfortunately, the answer is a wee-bit complicated, so please bear with me on this journey.
First thing to know, Unclutterer.com is made up of several people. I’m just the one steering the organized ship, so to speak. We have programmers and project managers and an intern (everyone say “hi” to Tim) and a publisher and me. Everyone except for me spends most of their time on other programming and design projects (building websites for corporate and non-profit clients), but I’m full-time on Unclutterer business.
Several times a year, we have meetings to plan our content. Some of those meetings decide the content for the months and one of those meetings is a strategic planning meeting where we look at the whole of the next year.
We have these meetings during the second week of each month, so we planned for August in mid-July. Our planning isn’t necessarily specific, but it guides my writing. Take for example the plan for this past week as we planned it in mid-June:
Monday: Uncluttered speech, bathroom organizing
Tuesday: Update on photo scanning project, something from the news
Wednesday: Something book related, A Year Ago, Unitasker
Thursday: Closet organizing, something book or news related
Friday: Workspace of the Week, Ask Unclutterer
You’ll notice that not everything went exactly as planned (Thursday’s closet organizing piece became a piece on general uncluttering), but that is fine. The goal of the plan is to give me ideas, not a strict law that must be followed.
Everyone on the team has a different way of capturing their ideas (I use Evernote, some people just use pen and paper), and not everyone on the team participates in all of the planning meetings.
If you are looking for ways to generate ideas for your blog, I highly recommend the team approach. Get a group of friends together or find people who are interested in the same topic and brainstorm ideas. You can do it over the phone or in person, just get talking about your topic. Even if people don’t come to the meeting with prepared suggestions, they can still add ideas and feedback during the meeting. Our meetings are usually 15 minutes long and I wouldn’t be able to come up with so many ideas without them.
Readers e-mail, twitter, and save links to del.icio.us that give me ideas, too. I carry my iPhone with me everywhere I go and take pictures of things I think would make good posts. I’m a member of a couple professional organizations that have newsletters about industry trends. I re-read diary entries from when I was going through my transformation from a clutterbug into an unclutterer and get ideas from my notes. I read a lot of business and science journals. I have news searches saved on JSTOR and through Google news. I’m always on the lookout for ideas — I can’t turn it off.
Thank you, Gwen, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column. Be sure to check the comments for even more ideas from our readers about how they generate post ideas for their blogs.
Do you have a question relating to organizing, cleaning, home and office projects, productivity, or any problems you think the Unclutterer team could help you solve? To submit your questions to Ask Unclutterer, go to our contact page and type your question in the content field. Please list the subject of your e-mail as “Ask Unclutterer.” If you feel comfortable sharing images of the spaces that trouble you, let us know about them. The more information we have about your specific issue, the better.