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The site design is done, as is the build. I have been trying to write content for this site, but am having real problems trying to organise the hundreds of ideas flying round my head.
Does anyone have any good suggestions on how to start putting the ideas down on paper?
Any help would be really appreciated
Or, for a totally different approach, if you find one particular topic particularly interesting, just fire up your word processor and start writing it. I find that I can really churn out copy when I'm enthused about something. I like to sit down and write while the ideas are still buzzing around in my head.
You'll probably want to think of your content in terms of articles, i.e., modest-sized topics that fit on 1 - 3 web pages.
Nevertheless, it's not a hard and fast rule. There are successful sites that have just a few pages. I've seen a few sites that survive with a single page. More pages and content, though, mean more opportunities for search engine traffic.
Not necessary. Start with 2 or 3 and then build up from there.
Also, here is a tip I've used when getting writer's block:
Start writing about your topic and make it funny. Write ridiculous lies about it, exaggerate, make thing up, try to be funny. Before you know it, you're writing and it isn't funny at all and you actually have some content you can edit. The downside of this is that you might actually BE a good comedy writer...
<<The downside of this is that you might actually BE a good comedy writer>>
The chances are pretty slim. I have a terrible habit of laughing at my own jokes while others just stand and stare at me.
I don't know if this will help you any, but I'd have a tough time sitting down to write on a word processor. I need to start with pen and paper. Of course, I developed most of my writing skills long before personal computers became available. ;^)
I'd say rogerd has the right idea when he says "just ... start writing." I think a lot of people sort of freeze up when they try to write. My guess is they may think they need to "get it right" the first time. I consider myself a decent writer and my notes typically look pretty ugly from all the rewriting I do by the time I get to where I'm ready to produce anything electronically. I always say "if you can think, you can write." Just like a web site, anything you come up with can always be revised.
Writing can be, for me at least, an arduous task. It may be that your mind is simply (and understandably) seeking to avoid the blood, sweat, and tears of formalizing your thoughts. As is the case with most accomplishments, there's no substitute for getting started. And if you're still not satisfied with your efforts, there are a lot of editors looking for work in this economy. :^D
You may eventually end up with a rough outline of your article(s), although that isn't necessarily the purpose of this. The real purpose is just to help you pin down your ideas and give you something concrete to build on. It's hard to explain, but it works and it can be a big help against writer's block.
'just start writing' is key.
So is making a list.
I start with a list of just notes.. ideas that often end up being topic headings.
If no topic grabs me enough to actually write an article or page, I just start writing paragraphs. Grab a topic at random.. 1 paragraph. Doesn't matter how bad it is - just write it. Grab another topic.. 1 paragraph.
All this is in a run-on word file... can't do it in the html files or I get distracted with coding.
By about the third or fourth '1 paragraph', something grabs my attention and I can get stuck into writing that page.
I keep the topic heading list open while I'm writing, and any unrelated thought that comes while I'm writing goes on that list, and then I don't look at it again. Don't let a new idea distract you.
The other thing that helps - changing location. I code at my PC. For writing, I drag out the doddery old laptop and sit on the couch with the lappy on a piano stool in front of me. It's all of ten feet away from the PC, but it makes the world of difference. Of course.. it helps that the lappy isn't net enabled. :)
This is where it helps to obtain an actual writing program, not just a word processor. For the Mac there are many nice programs (Ulysses for example) that help you organize and combine your thoughts and bits of writing, I assume there are even more for the PC world.
For me, visually being able to organize ideas and move them around and combine them is the key, the word processor is just a last step to put everything in one place for publishing.
That makes a page.
Then I can go back to that page and find something that needs to be expanded on. So, I write another short article, and voila', there's another page.
The site ends up designed like a pyramid, and I can go ever and ever deeper.
I would suggest that you begin with a half dozen or so broad categories and write a page for each. Then you can begin the expansion process. If you follow Brett's formula (a page a day) the site will expand quickly, and it probably won't take more than an hour a day to accomplish this.
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