Are you finding your blogging productivity waning this month? Depending on where you live, February might be one of those months in which winter really gets you down and affects your work productivity. I can’t promise my tips below will scare away the screaming blue meanies (seasonal depression), but I find they help my general blogging productivity. All the tips are part of a mechanical process, but they do fuel my creative process.
- Collect a list of URLs. Use your feed reader or a browser bookmark folder of “daily visit sites” and scan for stories that pique your interest.
- Double up sources. Hunt down other related articles about each topic/ sub-topic you plan to write about. Find 2-4 articles for each topic, to gain different perspectives.I also like to use Popurls or clones, Techmeme, Megite and the like to find hot/buzz topics. They’re not social media sites, but some of them do build on social media sites. They are a time-saving way to quickly scan for ideas based on what others are writing about.
- Use a power web browser. While I use several different “tabbed” browsers, Firefox is my blogging browser of choice. It’s my base of daily operations. It’ll show a bookmark window pane at left, which lets you quickly drag and save story URLs that interest you. This is an incredible timesaver over other browsers’ bookmarking feature.
- Customize bookmark folders. In addition to using the Firefox bookmarks pane, I create a new folder for each day. For example, today’s folder is labelled “Wed Feb 6”. Tomorrow’s is “Thur Feb 7” and it’s placed above today’s folder. Friday’s folder would be above Thursday’s. I usually only keep a week’s worth of folders (Sun-Sat), and delete each folder as soon as possible after visiting each bookmarked URL. So I’m constantly deleting folders from the bottom and adding at the top. You can also create sub-folders if you want to separate articles from different niches.
- Summarize and expand. If I’m not feeling creative while I’m browsing bookmarks, I’ll try to simply summarize each article in one or two sentences and return later to expand. As mentioned above, using more than one article about the same topic gives you multiple perspectives. It might lead you to take a parallel or peripheral angle on your article.
- Use an in-browser editor. I’ve repeatedly written here and elsewhere how much more productive I am using Scribefire. It suits the way I work. I do not use the “publish” button very often because of the Scribefire link that is auto-inserted into posted content. Rather, I use Scribefire because I can simultaneously view my content in progress and a web page. And since I use multiple tabs at times, I find that this process stimulates ideas and lets me explore the crossroads of topics
This process may not work for everyone, but play around with it, customize it to your liking.