There are a few things I find myself leaning on more than others when blogging. I’m going to go through and detail some of them for you in this post.
Pen and paper:
Writing on paper is a good way to really let your ideas flow. Because writing with a pen is so much slower than typing, it allows you to focus your mind on what you’re intending to write about, and let the immediately available ideas in your mind pop out. When I’m typing, I find that there’s many ideas trying to burst out at once, and by writing them down the old fashioned way first, I’m able to determine what the key points are, before I go into a keyboard bashing frenzy. An alternative to this is whiteboard writing, where you can plot the big ideas out on a whiteboard, giving you an idea of the ‘big picture’ before you launch your word processor.
I’ve never been one to carry around a moleskin notebook or anything like that, I’m happy to just use a 60 cent exercise book and a fountain pen to get the job done.
So, if you’re on a bus, waiting in line or wherever an idea may come to you, a phone can come in handy. I used my old iPhone for about 4 years before I replaced it, using the notes app that comes pre-loaded into it. Whenever I had an idea about something to write, I would plan it out on the phone. Some ideas became articles, while some looked not as worthy upon a second glance, but the point is I was able to capture the ideas as they came.
Another way to take advantage of your phone is to record your voice on it. You can listen to these voice memos to yourself later as you’re preparing to write. Right now, I’m using a Samsung Galaxy Note II, which I think is pretty cool, but any smartphone should be able to let you capture your ideas on the fly.
I travel a lot, so I decided to go with an ‘ultrabook’. I picked up the MacBook Air, because it was the most fairly priced of the ultrabooks at the time. It weighs very little, the hard drive is solid state (so there’s not much chance of hard drive failure), and it’s small enough to fit into my backpack (i travel light). As far as software goes, I use very little, all of my documents, spreadsheets, etc. are in Google Docs, so I can access them in the unlikely case I’m separated from my computer.
If you don’t travel so much, I guess I’d tell you to get a desktop or laptop that is within your price range, but for me it has to be the MacBook Air.
For doing research, there’s nothing much better than Google. If you need to write a topical blog, a Google News search will help you determine something that is ‘hot’ right now in your niche. Google images, too, is invaluable for providing you with a time-efficient way of finding images to go along with your article, if required.
My Blog Guest:
This community is great for exchanging valuable content, and getting backlinks to your site. Using MBG allows you to find blogs in need of content, where you can provide a guest blog, and earn a link back to your site in return. And if your own blog is short on content, you can do the same thing in reverse, get some great content from other bloggers, post it on your site, and give them a backlink in return for their hard work. It’s win-win for both sides. You might want to use a service like Majestic SEO to determine if the blog you’re going to guest blog on is worth it, there’s no point putting out 10 articles a month, if you’re just putting them on low quality sites, you’re not going to see much of an increase in traffic.
Well, that’s certainly not everything I use, but it’s the ones I use on a daily basis. If you want to be a successful blogger, you have to work on your own writing, of course, so read other peoples blogs, and push yourself to squeeze out a few words of writing yourself, everyday.