Where blog posts really come from

One of the reasons I blog is so that I have a regular, disciplined practice of turning loosely-formed ideas into concrete, cogent, shareable posts.  Over and over again.  Until I get better at it.

Part of the power of repetition is getting to observe a process unfold repeatedly.  So, over the last 5-plus years of blogging (and of life), I’ve learned that most of the time my best ideas come through conversations.  When someone asks me a great, thorny, interesting question, and we engage in real dialogue about how to answer that question, I learn things.  This is a powerful piece of self-knowledge that I otherwise wouldn’t possess.  It informs how I structure my time and how I think about the conversations I need to have, and the people I need to interact with, to learn, to push my own thinking and my own understanding of the world and of my work.

Rare, though, is to have a photograph of that moment.

The most popular post I wrote in November was How do I get a job in impact investing?, and after I wrote the post I saw this tweet from Josh McCann.  It’s a photo taken the moment I was asked by the Warton Social Venture club how to get a job in impact investing. I was stumped, but I winged it, and we talked, and together we figured it out.

How to get a job in impact investing

Where do your best ideas come from?  Alone, or in conversation?  After a lot of reading and study or on the spur of the moment?  With a pad of paper and a pencil, a whiteboard, with a cup of tea or cranking at your desk at work, constantly jumping back to your Facebook feed (probably not)?

We all struggle with managing our time the right way.  Knowing where we get our best ideas can help.  This is one of the big ideas in Peter Drucker’s Managing Oneself, an article that’s worth rereading at least once a year.

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4 Responses to Where blog posts really come from

  1. sukhvirk150 says:

    Thank you Sasha. Perfect timing since I just started podcasting… You reinforced the power of that medium as a way to ‘capture the moment’ in a conversation with interesting people.

    For myself, great ideas happen throughout the day. They rise up when I ask “what does this person/people need to hear?”

    When reading an article, book, or watching a video, great ideas happen when I focus on “how does this fit in with other things I’ve heard?” and “How do these conflicting ideas complement each other and fit together?”

    You may want to start podcasting as a way to ‘capture the magic’!

  2. Thanks also Sasha again perfect timing. I am just doing a method optimiser(c) about how I produce blogs and working with several clients on their blog strategy. The photo comment is particularly appropriate as I am always looking for a way to visualise an idea so sometimes a blog changes so it is easier to capture visually. Your blog and my thoughts is making me think an infographic would be good to capture the different aspects – so I may go off and do one

  3. Excellent thoughts for today. Calls to mind the two pillars of wisdom according to the ancient Oracle at Delphi: “nothing in excess” and “know thyself.” Nothing could be more challenging or more important than these two principles. Thanks for making us stop and think!

  4. Murf says:

    Today’s topic will most certainly spark much conversation.

    First . . . On blogging, I’m a software guy with 37 years in business, but I am learning blogging from my 30-something daughters who blog daily reaching tens if not hundreds of thousands of readers each month on their sites kristimurphy.com and thefoodclique.com I think our young adults who have grown-up with technology second-nature can teach we legacy guys a thing or two on this subject.

    Next . . . On ideas, my best have happened over a cup of coffee or hiking in the wilderness; in either case, completely away from the office. In fact, scientific research suggests that we are our most creative when at our most relaxed state.

    Keep up the good work Sasha, I for one really enjoy reading your blogs.

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