How Idea Gardens Changed the Way I Write

I have a confession to make.

I don’t write everyday and I am horribly unorganized.  

That’s two confessions isn’t it?

For a long time I thought that made me a bad writer…or at the least a bad blogger…because blogging is about consistency right?  What I found is that lots of writers and bloggers struggle with this.

So back in November, I spoke at a conference called the State of Now conference. While I was there I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow writer/blogger/speaker, Simon Salt.  Simon challenged these two confessions and wagered that if I would commit to writing everyday and organizing my posts into series that I would be able to increase the consistency of my posts.  I listened skeptically, but came home and put some of his suggestions in play.  I also began to do research into how to better plan out my posts and found a marvelous site called productiveflourishing.com that has changed the way I organize and structure my writing.

So how does a writer who works three days a week, has two pre-teen children, is a very active speaker and worship leader and has only a few hours a week to manage two blogs find time to post three times a week on one blog and once a week on another?

Well, first I must admit, I am no expert at this practice, but I want to share with you what has worked for me.

As a writer who does not prolifically churn out words, it is sometimes difficult to “be inspired” to write on the days that I have time.  I find most often that my inspiration to write comes in my daily life as I stumble across truths that break over me like a dawning sunrise or something profound and otherworldly stumbles out my friends’ or my own mouth by accident. These are the times that I want to sit and write, but unfortunately, my life didn’t come with a remote control with a pause button.  Did yours? I wonder if amazon.com carries those?

However, I am blessed to live in an age of technology where I have the ability to jot down simple ideas and take them wherever I go. I call this my “idea garden.”
planting seeds
I keep my idea garden on Google Drive because I can create documents and eventually turn those into blog posts that I then move to a folder called “Posts written”…it’s like my online back-up of my writing.

The backbone of my idea garden comes from this post from Productive Flourishing (I am a big fan of their blog planner sheets- I’ll write more about those later).

So the logistics look like this:

I have created a folder called “Idea Garden” in my google drive account.  Whenever I have a thought about a good blog post- even if it’s just a title- I will create a new document in that folder under that title.  If I have thoughts or quotes that sparked the idea, I will jot those down as notes.  Each week, I spend an hour “watering the seeds” of my idea garden.

Sometimes, a post just flows out of the initial idea immediately.  Sometimes the seed germinates in the garden for a while. Either way, this is a way for me to capture and save inspiration even when it comes at a time when I can’t immediately stop and write.  I just take a couple of seconds to jot it down in my idea garden and I don’t have to worry about losing the thought.

This practice alone has really transformed my blogging from inconsistent to mostly consistent. I think if you give it a try, it will help you too!

What about you? Do you use an idea garden?

6 thoughts on “How Idea Gardens Changed the Way I Write

  1. Hi Cari! I’m glad to hear that the Idea Garden concept has helped and I like the way you’ve updated it. Funny, when I wrote that, Google Docs was still either new or didn’t exist. I’ve since switched to drafting on my iPad in Plaintext, which saves to Dropbox.

    Technology changes, but principles remain the same. Keep at it!

  2. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing! I am right there right now…finding inspiration is not always there when I have time to write and on the flip side TONS of ideas when I have no time!
    I might just give this a try.

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