I struggled with content creation for a decade.
Believe me, I know what it’s like to sit down to write and spend an hour staring at a blank screen. Writing a sentence, stopping, rewording it. Thinking about the next one. Waiting for inspiration to strike…
But it doesn’t.
And before you know it, it’s time for your next appointment so you close your laptop and vow to try again tomorrow.
The reason you struggle to create content has nothing to do with inspiration
The problem I suffered from was not caused by a lack of inspiration.
It was caused by a lack of systems. The most prolific creators all have some sort of system or routine they rely on to consistently deliver great material. Upon closer inspection, I noticed this not only happens with creators but with every high performer.
Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us get up and get to work.
– Stephen King
In this essay I’ll share with you the 3-step system I’ve adopted that’s kept me writing -and publishing- a daily essay for 195 days straight:
1. Idea Capture
The hardest part –for me– about content creation had always been coming up with topics to write about.
But content ideas are around us all the time. In fact, the more I paid attention, the more I realized I was already having at least 3-5 ideas per day. So the problem was not coming up with ideas; the problem was recalling those ideas when I sat down to write.
The solution: a simple, easy to use, idea capture system.
For me, it’s the Drafts app in my iPhone and Mac. Being a universal app means it’s with me always within reach. I can quickly dictate or type a note as it happens without distracting me from the task at hand.
2. Define An Angle
Armed with a seemingly unending queue of ideas, sitting down to write an essay is not as daunting anymore.
Now I choose a topic from my idea list. Sometimes I look at previous posts to see what my followers have been responding to. Other times I simply choose a topic I “feel” like writing about.
With a topic in hand, it’s time to define the angle I’m going to approach it from.
Is this going to be a how-to piece? A listicle? A motivational / aspirational piece? Or maybe a story… This step allows me to explore the same topic more than once but from different angles.
3. Prep the page
Taken directly from Nicolas Cole’s playbook, this step has made all the difference in the world for my writing.
Start with a clear and descriptive title. Then outline your main points. Then just expand on each of them. If it sounds too simple, it’s because it is.