How Successful Writers Curate Ideas

Successful writers have found ways to overcome the trepidation of the blank page, and most don’t even consider “writer’s block” to be a real thing.

So what is it that separates these writers from you and me? Well, that will be the topic of tomorrow's Lede. 

+Jerod Morris and +Demian Farnworth answer such questions like: 

 - What is Demian’s two-part framework for idea curation?
 - What are the three elements of a persuasive argument you should be actively looking for when you research?
 - What are the features of Evernote that it make it such a useful tool for idea curation?
 - What is a commonplace book? And how does it work?

And don't forget, we'll also answer these burning questions, too: 

 - Whose mustache does Jerod want to rip off?
 - Who is Demian’s favorite rapper?

Stay tuned. 

Update: post is live:
http://www.copyblogger.com/lede-idea-curation/

In the meantime, get Copyblogger delivered directly to your inbox so you don't miss a post:
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24 comments
 
Wow, those are pretty cool. Talk about a good gift idea ... :-)
 
Loved the podcast, and everything you guys are doing.  I've created The CommonPlace Book in Evernote for myself, and I'm going to use the voice memo features to capture my ideas.  I'm always shuttling from one place to another, so audio recording works best for me.  And I'm training for a marathon, so I'm looking forward to a lot of creative ideas :)
 
Thanks for the comment +Stephen Borgman. I want to get into using the voice memo feature too. Next up on my idea curation list. :-)
 
I can relate to the passive ideas.  I'll be out for a run or walk and a great blog idea will pop in my head.  I'll make a note of it in my phone. Often, reading the newspaper or magazines will trigger a great idea too and I always give credit to the articles that triggered my idea.  Some of my ideas fall flat though, but I don't throw them out they go in a file.  Maybe in the future they'll work for something else.  Great podcast and thanks for the inspiration +Copyblogger +Jerod Morris +Demian Farnworth I have not heard of ever note so I'll check it out!
 
Great episode, guys. I had to listen twice to absorb it all.

I find that I'm often torn between my Moleskin and Evernote for keeping notes. In my experience, Evernote is more efficient and much easier to search through and organize thanks to tags. But I always feel like I retain more when I write by hand in a notebook -- probably because I write a lot slower than I type.

What seems to work best for me is to use my Moleskin for free writing and brainstorming and Evernote for gathering notes for a specific assignment.

Thanks for another entertaining and informative podcast!
 
+Lisa Thomson You gotta get on Evernote. It's greatness. (And, in a weird way, I'm excited to see you say that you didn't know about it. I feared we were preaching too much to the choir. Glad the constant Evernote evangelism helped someone out!)

+Jackson Armstrong Love your breakdown of moleskin v Evernote. That actually makes the most sense based on the science of learning AND wanting to be efficient with specific tasks. 
 
Another great podcast! Sadly Evernote does not like my Australian accent so the voice recognition function doesn't work for me. The voice memo is a good substitute though.
 
+Priya Chandra I have to use this voice recognition function. This is why I like doing these podcasts, because I always learn something.
 
+Demian Farnworth +Jerod Morris  I'm almost ashamed to say how fascinated I am by this series. Thanks for putting it together and pouring so much awesome sauce all over it!

+Joel Zaslofsky Really interested in hearing more of how you organize via a spreadsheet.

I think Excel stands out particularly well when you are curating evergreen stuff you want to share repeatedly over time on Twitter. 

Any service works pretty well if you just want to store links in a spot to later click on to read or copy and paste elsewhere.

I've used Trello for storing links to blog posts and Evernote (which I'm a huge fan of). 

For curating good stuff I randomly read as I have time from "Read Later." I like Buffer, but I see real value in loading the best stuff I want to share over and over from my blog and others (cornerstone pages and evergreen content from me or others in my niche) into a spreadsheet uploaded every month, instead of those really good pieces being shared once or twice and that's it because I have no repository to store and upload them from en masse. 

On the subject of finding ideas:
Looking forward to trying out  http://vellum.nytlabs.com/ as mentioned by Joel as well. Thanks for the mentions about the FAOCAS process as well. 

Thanks +Vinay Koshy for the analysis of  the different kinds of curation.

Although I love hanging out on social media, and I know I can trust it for trending stuff, I feel like it's far too time-consuming to hunt down links, when I can get the best stuff fed to me via feedly etc. from sources I've grown to know pump out good blog posts every week. 
 
+Patrick Garmoe people have been fascinated about curating going back to Ancient Rome. So there's nothing to be ashamed of here. :)

Part of my "put it in a spreadsheet" framework is in this article, Spreadsheets and You: How and Why to Put Your Life in Them  http://valueofsimple.com/spreadsheets-and-you. If you want to see an example of how I curate on the topic of curating, check this spreadsheet out: http://valueofsimple.com/curated-ec-links. Look at the "Instruction Manual" tab first and then go to the other "Experience Curating Links" tab to see how I use Excel for curating.

Obviously, you're missing a ton of context between those two links, but that should start you off. Just don't share the second link: it's normally reserved for people who buy Experience Curating (the book).

+Jerod Morris and +Demian Farnworth, nice work on my last name, fellas. You nailed it (and nailed another great episode). :)



 
 
I just discovered a site called Tagboard. "Tagboard uses hashtags to search for and collect public social media within seconds of being posted to networks like Twitter and Facebook". Easy to scan through info quickly. I can see this being a good curation source. 
 
I'm loving this series!  Here's a little hack for people who go for low-tech:  Rite in the Rain notebooks can go everywhere with you -- the shower, the garden, the construction site.  Write in them with an ordinary pencil, and your precious ideas won't wash off the page before you can transcribe them.  For some of us, writing longhand, at least initially, burns the ideas into our brain.
 
+Jerod Morris & +Demian Farnworth, I use Evernote to capture ideas (using the dictation feature of Siri is really useful for that!) and then for longer posts, post series and reports I use mind mapping software to arrange my research and build upon it. Compared to a whiteboard, it has the advantage of being able to capture documents, links and notes, and then to rearrange them at will until you have a structure that makes sense. I describe that process in a brief video here: http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/a-simple-process-for-writing-with-mind-mapping-software/
 
I've been using a variety of tools to capture ideas for more than 20 years, starting with "back pocket" mini-notebooks, index cards, portable audio recorders and more. But one of the ongoing challenges for me is that I capture TONS of ideas, but rarely take disciplined time to go through what I've curated and decide what to do with my ideas.
 
Interesting discussion. I like the notion of curating ideas..or to put it another way, the care and feeding of ideas. Like +Chuck Frey, I have used a variety of paper-based tools, but now use the Notability app  for writing notes -it's stable on my phone and ipad and exports to a PDF. I like to handwrite using my Jot stylus, and when listening to a podcast or lecture, I can doodle in different colours. Sometimes I type in key words to make it easier to search my inspirations. I also use Pocket, and Pinterest to capture and file. Never "got" Evernote. I just stare at it then close the window.
 
What about setting up a WP curation blog, posting source documents and categorizing them for later recall?
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