Planning to get ideas

I’m off on holiday for a couple of weeks, and the whole “going on holiday” thing set me thinking about finding ideas for blog posts.  A bit left-field, you may think, but bear with me…

When I used to sing in my local church choir years ago, the vicar had just two wedding sermons.  We knew them both pretty much by heart.  In one of them he commented that many people spend more time planning their wedding than they do their marriage.

And I think the same’s true for holidays.  We spend hours (days, weeks, months…) dreaming about them and planning them, organising transport, places to stay, money, maybe setting up tee-times or, in my case, diving days.  Most people spend far more time planning their holidays than they do their work.

If we spent as much time planning our blogs we’d never run out of ideas!    Even much less time – say an hour a week – of brainstorming would probably give us enough ideas to cure those sleepless nights for good.

Re-reading “A Technique for Getting Ideas” the other day [have you read it yet?  I do hope you agree with me about its brilliance!], I found the section about ideas being like South Sea atolls.  Atolls seem just to appear, almost overnight, but they’re actually the work of thousands of tiny creatures that have been building the coral upwards for thousands of years.

Now we haven’t got thousands of years to build our blogs (thank God!), but it’s the regular work of thinking about them – even if it’s only sub-consciously – that sets us up to have ideas pop into our heads. It may seem random, but it’s actually the result of good preparation.  As whoever it was said, “the more I prepare, the luckier I get”.

Rudbeckia hirta

Gardening would be another analogy: you dig the soil, manure it, and generally make everything nice for the plants you want to thrive, then sow your seeds and – with no further effort on your part – up pop your runner beans or rudbeckias.

Then, of course, you have to keep the soil nice so they can continue to thrive: weed it, tidy it up at the end of the year and start the cycle again.  The work doesn’t finish.  With a blog, of course, there’s less seasonality – or maybe your business is very seasonal.  If it is, you can plan accordingly (I’m already writing about Christmas and Hogmanay parties for one of my clients).

Whether it’s seasonal or not, the work doesn’t finish.  You have to keep at it, keep finding new ideas or recycling old ones, keep your audience interested.

So get planning for ideas – and enjoy your holiday, whenever you take it!


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