• Tammy Layman-Hall

7 Tools That Help Prolific Creators Bring Home the Bacon

Tips that help hands-on creators organize their flood of ideas into products they can sell

If you're like me, you are a creator.

If you're like me, you create lots and lots of content. Boxes, stacks of boxes, piles of paper, loads of sketches and proofs of concept may scatter your workspace, just like mine do.

Now, you may be a digital creator. Me, I'm a roll-up your sleeves, ink-stained fingers sewing up a book dummy kind of content creator.

So many ideas. So many possibilities. So many markets. When I was a corporate worker, workflow and naming conventions were dictated to me. Left to my own devices, well...

I have it somewhere, just give me a minute.

Because I have lots and lots of ideas, and because not all of my ideas are going to be profitable products, I need to determine which to pursue. I'd very much like to cash in on the ones that will bring in the money.

So, I'm sharing my best tools with you, so you can start organizing your ideas so you can bring the bacon home to your table, too.

Paper-based Tools:

  • Journals: Handwritten journals are great for stream of conscious idea generation. Dedicate the first few pages of your idea journals as a Table of Contents. Then, be sure to include the month, date, and year at the top of your pages. If your super ambitious, number each page before you start.

  • File folders: Old-school manila folders. Use these for scraps of papers with notes on branding, marketing, and future clients. I throw articles, magazine pictures, and inspirational items in these folders, too.

  • Business card file: Use this to collect all those business cards. For me, an old school business card file works best. Then, be sure to follow-up with new contacts on LinkedIn and online forums.

  • Calendar: Be sure to snag an extra paper calendar at the top of the year from a local business. For me, I use the one that lists holidays, local tourist events and local business events, like county wide recycling events. These are great triggers for when to get pitches into editors in time to be considered for publication. Also, I jot my writing deadlines on their due dates.

Tech-based Tools

  • Calendar: Yes, this is a duplicate. You may find you don't need to have a paper and a digital calendar. For me, I find that the digital calendar integrates both my family life and my writing life. For me, I am able to see the writing deadline (which is sometimes a target goal, not a hard goal) and how busy my kids are going to have me that week. Also, the digital calendar lets me schedule task lists, to dos and appointments on top of deadlines.

  • Master Big Idea List: Jot down every idea, good or bad. Put it on a list. For me, I have a spreadsheet called Master Big Idea List. Yes, it helps if you can access the spreadsheet on a smartphone. More about my Master Big Idea List spreadsheet will be posted here at a later date.

  • eNote files: Right now, it's OneNote. You may prefer Evernote. Google Keep is another one. Still, these eNote keepers are amazing for idea generators like us. You and I can drop items by topic into the correct category. Or no category at the moment. Whichever platform you go with, be sure to consistently use it.

In sum, prolific content creators like us will always have more ideas than time. In order for us to earn our living from those ideas, we need to continue to refine them, work them, and bring them to life. Still, we will need to use tools that will help us do achieve our goals.

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