My Simple Workflow To Capture & Publish My Best Writing Ideas
To sustain a meaningful and excellent blog over time requires a solid system for capturing, organizing and creating great posts of value. Also, a good system allows for a higher level of performance and quality, especially when moving to a daily blogging cadence.
I like to think of my collection of writing as a garden. I'm planting seeds, watering them, nurturing them, and enjoying their beauty and fruit when they've matured. For my writing garden system, I tap into the IDEMA framework and the handy writing tool, Evernote. In my Evernote, I've got a folder (notebook) for each IDEMA stage, listed below.
- 1 - Ideate - Capture Idea
- 2 - Discover - Outline Idea
- 3 - Execute - Draft Idea
- 4 - Maintain - Publish Idea
- 5 - Audit - Review Idea
This folder structure creates a writing workflow to help me move ideas from start to finish. I use tags to help me organize my writing categories across different stages in the process.
Here are the highlights of each writing stage.
1 - Ideate - Capture Ideas
This is the folder where I add all new writing ideas. As you'd expect, this folder contains the largest amount of notes. When I first started blogging, I was publishing one custom piece per week. This eventually changed to monthly. With new ideas flowing in and very few going out, this bucket grew significantly. In fact, I've got over twelve hundred items in there. Now that I'm blogging daily, I'll have the benefit of tapping into my backlog to sustain me over time. It will prevent me from running out of ideas or losing my passion when a topic wanes.
2 - Discover - Outline Idea
This is where I expand on the idea by outlining the core elements of each post. What is at stake if they don't act on what I'm sharing with them? What is the benefit if they do? I move ideas from the first stage to this one when I'm ready to work out the high-level details and begin shaping this future post.
I've currently got thirty-eight items growing in this stage.
3 - Execute - Draft Idea
It's in this stage where I get to turn the outline and random notes into a harmonious symphony of words. Like wine, cheese, and hot sauce, time does wonders for improving writing. The more items I have in this bucket, the more time I can allow each to age with grace.
There is a point when a written piece requires a publish date to get to the next level. There's something about it going live that opens my eyes to see things I wouldn't otherwise see.
I've currently got twelve ideas I'm drafting now.
4 - Maintain. Publish Idea
Under the fourth stage, maintain, is where my finished writing rests. Unlike the other four folders, the maintain folder is a group of folders (an Evernote stack). Under this grouping, I've got the different homes where finished writing can live. Here is a list of these sub-folders.
- Clients - This is where I house writings and information on behalf of my clients.
- JasonScottMontoya.com - Any write-ups that are published on my personal blog go here.
- Noodlehead Marketing - Anything related to Noodlehead Marketing lives here.
- Other - The catch all folder for all writing that doesn't have a place to go.
- Path Of The Freelancer - Any blogs for Path Of The Freelancer rest here.
- Private - These are letters journals and other items that are not for publishing, but that I want to keep.
- The Island Story - Items relating to the Island Story live in this notebook.
In the process of ramping up my blogging this month, I realized my writing garden in Evernote needed some work. There were weeds and overgrowth that needed trimming. I narrowed down my subfolders and updated tags to help me better organize my portfolio of writings. More of this will happen over time. The goal for this group of folders is to house all of my finished work, and it acts as a backup of all my writing.
I've currently got 199 items in this notebook.
5 - Audit - Review Idea
The last and final stage is the audit. This is where I move items I've maintained into a review. The goal of the review is to determine if I keep the post published or if I get rid of it. If I do decide to keep it, I also decide if I keep it as is, or if I make changes to improve it.
My most popular blog post is a great one, but when I recently read it, I see how much better it could be. When I feel this tension, it's time to add it into the audit stage so I can review and revise it accordingly.
I've currently got eighteen items in this folder.
Here is a visual diagram to demonstrate my writing process.
My Writing Journey Over Time
I first started writing in 2010. It was mostly journaling for myself, but there were many times I shared my writings directly with other people. It was four years later in 2014 when I started blogging regularly. It was three years later in 2017 when I published my first book. In addition to establishing the systems and discipline to write, I've also recognized just how much my writing ability has improved over the years, and it is exciting.
The key point of me sharing this progression is to illuminate that I didn't always have this system. I started writing when and how I could, and I became more organized and intentional with my efforts over time. Since I also intend to create a financially sustainable writing career, it matters that I create a sustainable system to empower me to do this. Leveraging IDEMA and Evernote help me make it happen.