Write When Stuff Come to Your Mind, Not When You Need To


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For many years I had the habit of writing when I needed to. That is, if a certain day I needed to publish a new blog post or to write a new article, I would sit down and battle the keyboard until the piece was ready to go.

On the days I didn’t need to write anything I simply wouldn’t, even if an idea for a really nice article came to me. What I would do was to write the idea down, saving it for a day where an article needed to be written.

The problem with this approach? First of all it was more tedious. I do like to write, but writing simply because I have to will certainly make it more of a burden. Second, the writing itself was not a good as it could have been, and that’s because I left many days pass between the moment I had the idea and the moment I wrote about it (probably forgetting some insights along the way).

I am trying to change this now. Whenever an idea for a post comes to me I sit down to write about it immediately. In fact the idea for this very post came after writing two posts earlier today even though I didn’t need to. I did so because the ideas were fresh on my head, and I didn’t want to lose the details of the inspiration.

Bottom line: strike while the iron is hot. If you have an interesting idea, develop it right way. The process will be much more pleasing and the result of a much higher quality.

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26 Responses to “Write When Stuff Come to Your Mind, Not When You Need To”

  • Bryan

    Great points. Looks like I’ve been writing for all the wrong reasons. Well, no more. I’ll wait til something comes to mind. Now, I just hope something comes! 😉

  • Gary Bowers

    This is so obvious and simple to state, however, most tend to think it’s an inconvenient time to write the idea so we forget it after delaying to a more “convenient” time.

    Problem is your website and business suffer because you choose to wait for a more convenient time to write. I’m guilty of this, but have been getting better. I have a blog page on my website where I have been putting out those thoughts when they “pop in” to my head.

    I’m gonna start recording those ideas in my iPhone next time it is “inconvenient” to write it down.

  • Asher Elran

    “strike while the iron is hot” That is approach that I use. I have a voice recorder on my smart phone and I always would make a recording if I have an idea that I think is worthwhile.

  • dojo

    What I like to do, when I do feel inspired and want to write, is to finish up the articles (as many as I can) and then schedule them for the future days. This way I don’t let my inspiration ‘go’ and am also covered for the days when I can barely get myself to approve a comment, lest write an entire article 😀

  • Joseph Anzai

    I agree, or at least I agree that I should write when I feel as though the topic is at the top of my mind and clear. I could fill books with topics I have jotted down only to never truly write anything more than the the brief description. Worse yet, are all of those great ideas for post that came to mind while driving, that have now vanished due to the simple fact that I would allow my brain to act as a vault instead of jotting down the brief description of the idea, only to lose the combination to the vault. If only someone could write a post on how to open the vault once the combination has been lost.

  • Josh

    You don’t need to write when it comes to your mind, just write anytime! its the best. Else your girlfriend might get annoyed at you constantly writing and blogging all the time… lol ..ive experienced it 😉 lol

  • Hyder

    I experienced it 🙂 ideas hitz my mind when I’m driving, praying or in busyness. But if I want to write down by tacking paper and pen then mind empty 🙁

  • Peter Demel

    Yes, you are absolutely right. I simply write down thought to post in the future but it did never happen. I am sure I will follow your strategy.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Brad

    Exceptional advice. We always keep notes and short post its with ideas as the day grows. But when the moment moves me I want to get to the post itself. The sooner the ideas are laid out in sequence they seem to just fit.

    Strike while the iron is hot means getting to do what I enjoy writing the ideas and forming new and novel concepts. Great post – cheers!

  • Aanand Keerthy

    This is an excellent tip, one should follow. Write or at least make a note, when a point comes to mind, or it is lost forever, sometimes lost for a big time. Making small notes as sticky notes in your mobile will also help.

  • Fabio

    Furthermore, whenever I wrote something in advance and let the article “sit” for one day or two I always came up with nice additions and improvements later that made the post better than when I wrote it.

  • E-Sambas.com

    I have a problem like this. I got idea when im not writing. But when I want to write the Idea into my blog, I always get nothing to write, Just know the title without content

  • Prashant

    Just started blogging, feeling the heat but will follow this tip, thanks. I have personally experienced to blog without an idea, its tough. but when i have one and feel like the post comes through.

  • Siraj Wahid

    I completely agree with you. I write when ideas wander in my mind. If i take writing as a burden and think i have to write at any cost, it’s bit difficult for me.

  • Vishal

    Yes, you are absolutely right. I simply write down thought to post in future but it did never happen. I think I should follow your strategy.

  • Vishakha

    Yes. I agree with that!

    You should write down all your ideas even when you are not in your office or working place.

    Most of the nicest ideas comes in my thoughts (In the way of a millisecond Strike) when I am away from my working area and doing something totally different task like watching a movie or something. 😛

  • Mike Kawula

    Great advice. Recently started doing this vs. writing down for later. When I wrote it down took me sometime to get into what I was thinking vs. writing immediately it just flows.

    Great Advice.

  • Coleen

    The same thing almost always happens to me, if I don’t start writing the idea I get right away, the moment passes…and when i do write it, it just doesn’t have the same drive anymore.

  • Stefan Wittge

    This article is very true. I’m a german writer, writing for multiple blogs and in some weeks I like to procrastinate a litte. The next thing I know, it’s friday and deadline, and all articles must be written at once. This can be rather frustrating, especially when the ideas of the week are lost. So yeah, the headline of your post says ist all, good ideas make better articles than writing under pressure.

  • Melissa

    I absolutely take notes because if I don’t I will forget all about it ! It also makes it more fun for me to blog when I am in the mood, hence when I have an idea and not when i NEED to. 🙂

  • Joseph Lalonde

    This is a great idea. It helps to write it out while the idea is fresh in your mind.

    However, I think we also need to write even when there are no ideas in mind. Creating a healthy writing habit allows us to be able to strike when the iron is hot.

  • Widdershins

    There’s nothing worse than that sinking feeling – some time later – when you slap your forehead and ‘know’ that you should’ve written it down at the time.

  • David @ That Gay Backpacker

    I totally get this, but there is also a case for “showing up”even when you don’t want to. Sometimes with my blog, if I don’t just sit down and write, in spite of not wanting to, nothing will ever get written. I find that there are no real optimal conditions for creativity and sometimes you just have to get on with it.

  • Rick Falls

    This is smart.

    Forcing ourselves to do things rigidly often results in lower quality (I have to do it) versus (I want to do it) material, and it proves that “creative types” are much better at going with the flow when it’s flowing.

    I’m going to put this to work more often as well, because if you run with an idea and build it out when it’s hot, you can always “share” it at a later date when your content schedule tells you to.

    Thanks !

  • Slavko Desik

    “The process will be much more pleasing and the result of a much higher quality.” I can very easily attest to this. Should practice more of it myself though.

  • Underemployed1

    I find that I write my best posts when my brain is on fire. They are also the easiest and quickest to write. They are also the ones I need to go back to in order to add an idea or to edit what I wrote in the throes of passion.

    There’s something to be said, too, for developing an idea over a period of time. The end-product tends to be more “finished” and I’m more likely to include everything I want to say on the subject. Also, blogging-on-a-schedule proves to me that I have the chops and discipline to sit down and write something worth reading on demand. A good talent to have if one is going to write professionally.

    I do both. Come read my blog and see if you can tell which is which.

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