The common wisdom tells us we should focus & work on one thing at a time.
So we dutifully create perfect content calendars for our creative work, and expect our creative spirit to fall in line with what we’ve planned.
Except creativity doesn’t always work to a plan.
And so trying to force your creative self into a rigid content calendar can be a recipe for failure. But the algorithms still need to be fed with consistent content
So, I’ve found the best way to stay consistent and engaged with my creative work is to actually work on multiple ideas simultaneously.
On any one day I can have anywhere from 7–10 content ideas in different stages that I can choose to work on.
And it turns out I’m not the only person who feels this way. In a recent podcast episode I listened to between Steven Pressfield & Tim Ferris, Steven talks about how towards the end of a writing project he’ll start work on his next project.
Because he is already in the flow of writing, it doesn’t feel like a big lift to start a new writing project. And so having ideas at different stages can actually help you move forward faster, rather than just getting stuck on one thing.
It keeps you interested. Rather than get blocked on any one piece of content, I can jump around different ideas and work on whatever takes my fancy for that day. If I’m blocked on one idea, another idea might be flowing.
You can focus on energy. Not every day is created equal. Some days you’ll have more energy than others. If you work on different ideas in various stages you can choose something that matches your energy for that day.
It makes your ideas better. Working on multiple ideas means you can take your time to work on things over time. The space makes your ideas 100% better than if you just pumped it out in one sitting.
It reduces the stress of “I Need To Post This Today”. Rarely do I create something on the same day I publish it. So there isn’t stress with new ideas — I can take my time and that increases my creativity.
It feels easy. Because I’m working on ideas incrementally it never feels like a big lift to get something published (even long articles or courses) because I can simply.
Rather than a content calendar, I use a content pipeline.
This means there are multiple ideas at different stages.
Step 1: Commit to working on ideas every day
This isn’t a process for lazy creatives. If it’s going to work, you need to commit to working a little each day. Austin Kleon says “if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”
So commit to sitting in your sacred place each day and making something happen.
Step 2: Prepare Your Menu
Before the chaos of the week starts, go through your ideas list and choose a few different ideas that spark you. This means you’re not bouncing around 100 different ideas and getting overwhelmed.
It’s like you’re carefully selecting your menu items for the week.
Step 3: Do A Little Prep
Once you’ve got a shortlist of ideas (mine is called my Up Next list) take some time to do a little prep work on each. Brain dump as much as you can for each idea, Organise your thoughts into an outline and gather any research or notes that will help you develop the idea.
This will help you be able to easily jump into any idea during the week.
Step 4: Keep Track Of Your Progress
As you work on different ideas throughout the week you’ll move content forward in different ways. The key to being able to jump back in fast is leaving yourself little breadcrumb notes.
The way I do this is with a traffic light (Red, Orange or Green) & a small note about what I need to do next.
Usually, it looks something like this:
🔴 Needs some significant brain dump
🟠 Outline done, need to fill in points
🟢 Needs one final pass and then it’s ready to publish
By leaving a simple note for myself I can jump back in easy & get going on that content again.
So if you’re struggling to stay consistent in your creative output, try having a few options that you can work on throughout the week to let your creative spirit fly ✈️