Never guess at what to write about

You’re nice and comfy, ready to write your next newsletter issue.

Then you see it.

The dreaded blank page…

What should you write about this time?

By the time you have an idea, you’ve spent a significant amount of time coming up with it. And now you have to push through writing, editing, and publishing because it’s the day before.

This happens to me over and over… and over.

Or at least it did until this week.

Creating a system for new ideas

I’m working this month to built out a better process for publishing my newsletter. So far my process has been:

  1. Wait until the day before my newsletter goes out.
  2. Rush to figure out a good idea.
  3. Stress out a bit because I only have a few hours.
  4. Write, edit, and schedule the newsletter.

I don’t recommend that, so this week I’m taking the first step toward a better process by addressing step 2.

Why step 2 before step 1? Because I want to have a process for doing everything, then figure out timing.

This week I made an effort to document:

  • Replies to my newsletter emails
  • Interesting replies on social
  • Which social posts did best last week
  • Things I saw from others that sparked an idea

While that does add some time to my process, the investment is worth it.

If I am able to pull out 3-4 good ideas per week to take through this step, I’ll have a huge library of ideas to pull from in just a few weeks. Meaning less friction when I’m ready to start writing.

Packaging the ideas

Once I’ve identified some great ideas, there are a few details I need to include to help future me write without guessing:

  • A potential subject line
  • A quick note about what the topic is
  • Relevant screenshots or quotes.

This shouldn’t take more than 5 min.

For example, here’s a post that did well on X this week:

Several people asked about preview text in the replies, so that seems to be a topic worth exploring.

Here’s what I documented in my notes:

In about 30 min a week this process can churn out 3-4 ideas for future issues of your newsletter.

Again, this week I’m not focused on the timing, so a lot of this happened on the same day I’m writing this issue of the newsletter. But I’m already feeling better with a few ideas waiting to be written.

Your next steps

This week, set aside 30 min or so to:

  • Look back at content that did well and things you read that inspired you.
  • Take 3-4 of those things and document what made you think they would be a good idea
  • Give them a temporary subject line.

Don’t worry about when you do this, but I would recommend doing it all in one sitting.

Next week we’ll jump into writing and editing your newsletter.

Written by Kyle Adams

I work at ConvertKit helping top creators every day and bring what I know about growing your email list to Creator Glue every week.