The Pre-Writing Workflow
Grooming a backlog
The idea of grooming a backlog is key to productive writing. For the past few months, I have been accumulating a backlog of ideas that could be interesting topics to write about. As of right now, it stands at around 50 to 70 topics.
Cross-platform note-taking tool
First, make sure you have a cross-platform note-taking tool. I evaluated Evernote, Notion, Roam Research, and SimpleNote, but I currently use OneNote because it is free forever with the backing of Microsoft and has good offline support. I might move to Joplin in the future or write my own. It’s not really about the tool - at my scale, it’s trivial to switch tools - but the feature set needs to support the workflow.
The workflow is this: anytime you have any content idea anywhere-- reading something, watching a talk, listening to a podcast, having a conversation with a friend, thinking to yourself in a shower-- you need to note it down in a searchable place. If it attaches to some other relevant piece of thought, collect these together in a growing list of ideas, quotes, soundbites, links, talking points, and so on.