Organizing topics for blog posts

I post here, I create a daily writing prompt at First 50 Words, I post twice a week at BlogHer I write a number of how-to articles each month for eHow, I come up with a weekly writing prompt for a group at Elderwoman Space and I just agreed to do a twice monthly stint as the “Elder Geek” for Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By. Good grief, no wonder I’m always in search of a topic.

I scour the news, blogs, newspapers, magazines and everything else that passes before my eyes for ideas. Once I see the germ of an idea, I need a way to save the idea for future use, and to start building resources around the idea that will help me elaborate on it when I’m ready to write a full post.

Several tools are available that can help you organize your ideas as a blogger. I have a favorite.

Many people may prefer delicious or digg for organizing links to posts of interest that you want to blog about, but I like Tumblr. With any of these, you can save a link to a post of interest and have an easy way to go back later to find the information when you are ready to write. Here’s my Tumblr page, if you want to see how I’m using it.

I used to keep a text file of ideas for various blog sites I write for, but now I keep it all on Tumblr.

The reason I like Tumblr is that I can add so much information when saving the link that will help me remember why I saved it and what I was thinking about. I leave notes for myself to document how I’m hoping to use the link and how I want to connect it to something else I’ve saved. It’s a little like commenting your code.

saving a link on Tumblr

The dialog that opens when you Share on Tumblr has all sorts of helpful options that help organize ideas and save quotes or other information about the idea.

Tumblr pages are searchable. The one feature I’d like to see at Tumblr is the addition of a tab in the Share on Tumblr dialog window for tags. I put a semblance of tags in the description because I know what I’ll want to search for later. But tags would be an improvement.

One other tool I’m beginning to explore is StumbleUpon. So far, I’m using it to save pages I think are really cool for one reason or another and I’d like to spread the link around for other people to enjoy, too. I’m not using it to collect information I might want to refer to later.

I’d like to hear about the idea saving tools you think are helpful, and why they are especially useful to you. For example, is anyone finding StumbleUpon useful forĀ  idea collecting, or are you using it to spread the word about good sites the way I am?

8 thoughts on “Organizing topics for blog posts

  1. Back in the day I used Opera’s “notes” sidebar. These days I use Firefox’s Scrapbook add-on. It allows me to save pages in categorized folders, to edit the pages to only show relevant content, to highlight passages, and to annotate each page with a comment.

    Works for me, but not as socially considerate as your solution. :)

  2. Hi Virginia,
    Thanks for the tip about Tumblr, I just signed up! For many years I used INCONTROL for organizing nearly everything. Unfortunately, with Mac OSX Leopard, the 15 year old OS 9 app finally became extinct. :-(

    I’ve been looking for a replacement for a few years but still haven’t found anything as good. That said, Deep Notes by Amar Sagoo is surprisingly good as well as Circus Ponies Notebook by Jayson Adams. However, both of these are desktop based.

    Most of the time, I just wind up emailing myself links and memos I want to keep – that way I have the info available from any machine and I know it’s somewhere in my Inbox! :-)

    Thanks again,
    -Bob

    Bob Afifis last blog post.. My new netbook! – HP 1033CL

  3. Thanks, Bob.

    As an aside, I was looking at Tumblr just now to see how it was made and discovered that you CAN add tags to your posts. That very tiny and almost invisible light gray “Advanced” text link near the bottom takes you to a window where you can add tags. Until I saw something about tags in the Tumblr Help files, I don’t think I even noticed that light gray link sitting there. Why do web designers persist in making text link colors so unfriendly and useless?

  4. I used to be able to get the content of my blogs onto tumblr and was thinking of using tumblr to post everything I put on my blogs onto Twitter, the only problem being that either the RSS thingie has changed or else, something is not working. It doesn’t post anything any more. I seem to be bugging you every now and then but I thought that could be a topic for either WebHer or Time Goes By :-P
    My Tumblr is http://claudecf.tumblr.com

Leave a Reply