When creativity is mentioned, one of the first things that people associate with it is the spark of inspiration. This is the moment when a solution crystallizes in the mind of the creator, where the strings of the divine puppeteer are hinged and the creator becomes an automaton focused solely on giving life to his vision. But this depiction, more often than not, undermines the path the creator had to tread to create the fertile environment that channels his creativity and allow ideas to blossom.
While blogging is sometimes looked down upon as being an elaborate form of “copy and paste”, it doesn’t have to be. The best bloggers offer original and engaging content for their readers that keeps them coming back for more. They approach blogging as a creative process, making it a necessity for them to adopt a routine which inspires them.
Here, I’ll be sharing with you my routine hoping that it will inspire you to create your own routine, or amend the one you currently follow.
Sources are the river that feeds a blogger’s inspiration, and that river should be a deep one. Even if you are a single issue blogger, you will still need to adopt a “big picture” view on things and drop the tunnel vision. And that’s were aggregators come in to play.
Newser is by far my favorite news aggregator and I check it at least once a day. The variety of topics and view points help to always keep me attuned to what’s going on around the world. It covers the entire spectrum of news from the absurd to the morbidly serious and from the technological to the inspirational. It’s grid view makes it very easy to skim through dozens of news items and posts in a matter of seconds.
As an added bonus, you can customize your grid view based on sections, topics or sources. Also, be sure to check their Newser by Users section which offers mostly posts and news items submitted by users of the site.
It goes without saying that time management is essential for getting anything done, and I always tend to put on my plate more than I can chew so the next set of tools help me with managing my time, formatting my reading material, and organizing it.
Minimalist design seems to be out of favor nowadays. Everywhere I go, the pages are filled with ads, distractions, links and pot holes that make open up 12 other tabs even before I finished reading the first paragraph. The solution to that is Readability. It is a no fuss script that you can drag to your bookmarks and click on it whenever you want to read something. What it will do is that it will strip the page from everything that is unrelated to your reading material, reformat the font and its size making the reading experience a pleasurable one regardless of the website and cutting the distractions to a minimum.
Speaking of bookmarks, Firefox’s sync is a life saver if you’re bookmarks and tabs happy and you work across several different computer. After installing the add-on and creating a profile, you will be able to store all your browsing history, emails, and saves accounts and passwords on Firefox’s servers and be able to share them seamlessly across as many computers as you will like. That means no longer looking for material you came across in the past on another computer and no longer wasting time and picking up where you have left regardless of which computer you are using.
Another helpful tool that goes hand in hand with the previous two is Instapaper. Unlike other bookmarking servers that offer a dizzying number of bells and whistles, this only tries to satisfy a simple need. Coming across several hundred posts and news items on weekly bases there is no way you will have the time to read them all, and usually the first tabs to be closed are the longer news items. Ironically, those are usually the meatiest materials for inspiration and you will be better off saving them for later reading and that’s what Read It Later does.
After setting up an account, you will be given a link to drag to your bookmarks, which upon clicking on a page will save it for you for later reading. As a bonus, it works on your iPad, iPhone and even Kindle.
Using those tools helps me streamline my creative process and reduce the number of detours and distractions I’ll have to deal with to formulate an idea is kept to a minimum and I hope it helps you in the same way it has helped me.
Did you find this article useful? Do you a different creative process to come up with blogging topics? Share with us your thoughts and experience in the comment section below.