How I Use Shareist, Part I: Capturing Ideas

As promised, here's how I use Shareist every day to be more productive as a writer.
It's basically four things.

  1. Capturing ideas and scheduling posts
  2. Building posts and publishing them
  3. Building Email Newsletters, ready to send
  4. Sharing any of the above on social media

This is probably going to be a lot, so I'll cover these in a series of 4 emails over the next few days.

Capturing ideas, thoughts, bookmarks, and freeform writing

Ideas come to me at some pretty random times. Sometimes I'm at my computer. Sometimes I'm in the shower or driving my kids to school. I learned long ago that if I don't capture my ideas when I have them, or shortly thereafter, I'll lose them.

As soon as I possibly can, I need to capture those ideas. Many apps and websites exist for the purpose of capturing bookmarks, notes, ideas, and pictures.

I feel like I've tried them all. Evernote, Kippt, Pinboard.in, Delicious, Ma.gnolia (RIP), Readability, Pocket, Instapaper, etc.

And for capturing notes, there are endless apps. Byword, Textmate, IAWriter, Notation

These are all great tools, but they're very scattered. All the notes, bookmarks, and pictures I capture are still all over the place -- not somewhere that I have them easily at my fingertips when I need them, or want them.

I know I'm not alone in this. Just recently, I've seen at least two people comment about how many browser tabs they had open of all the stuff they need to read. Really? This is how we manage our content? There are better ways.

How I solve this

1. Shareist's a Content Inbox - The content inbox is a bookmarking service and note-taking app all in one. I capture content into it all day long that I'm not yet ready to put into a page for publishing.

I can capture bookmarks with the browser bookmarklet, and I can add content directly into the Inbox.

All that content is readily available to me in the Inbox as well as in the Page Builder to drag and drop right into a page I'm working on.

2. Shareist connects with many bookmarking and image services. I continue to use some of those great bookmark and image tools. Readability enjoys wide support in many apps, plus a Chrome extension. Pocket, formerly ReadItLater, does as well.

For example, FlipBoard has an option to save any page you're reading to Pocket. The screenshot below, I grabbed on my iPhone and saved it to Flickr.

As soon as I capture something into Pocket, Readability, or Flickr, it is also available in the Content Inbox to include in a page I'm working on. (See the icons for those services in the screenshot above).

The screenshot I took on my iPhone and saved on Flickr was then available for me to pull right into this page that I'm working on.

The idea is to be able to leverage all these tools, not replace them. But to make them more effective by connecting them to the place where you do your writing.

So now, while I'm writing in Shareist, I have immediate access to any of those third party apps that I use. Even if I use several of them (which I do, I can't make up my mind), that's ok because they're all consolidates right here in Shareist.

Scheduling on an Editorial Calendar

Once you've got ideas captured to the content inbox, next step is to turn them into pages. If you're not ready to write them right away, just get them on the calendar.

Create a page and put it on a specific date. Say it out loud and it becomes a real commitment, more likely to get done.

Here's the Shareist Blog calendar for the beginning of January.

Set Writing Goals

I have a daily writing goal that I hold myself to: 500 words. Every day, I'm committed to writing 500 words of content as a way to keep my self creating content. Sometimes it's a post like this one, sometimes it's brainstorming a work problem, sometimes it's just recording a stream of consciousness, dumping ideas out of my head.

Many of these things I enter into the Inbox knowing that they'll never be used in a public post, but they're there for me to access later.

I'm currently working on a writing streak. I've written at least 500 words 4 days in a row now.

That's how I use Shareist to keep writing, to improve my skills and to produce content, plus keep my content and idea funnel full by capturing ideas, bookmarks, and images whenever I find them.

Next time I'll talk about the Page Builder and how I use it to create content for publishing. BTW, this email was created as a Shareist page and exported as HTML.

Does this sound interesting to you? Would you like to set writing goals?
If you have any feedback or questions, please reply to this message.

Best,
Scott

Posted on Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 04:58:13 PM in How I Use Shareist

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