AskPat 331 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What is up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 331 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week.
Thanks so much, and here's today's question from Alain.
Alain: Yo Pat, it's Alain from Toronto. Thank you for answering my recent question on Ask Pat. I've come up with another one, hopefully you'll be able to answer. By the way, I just got my AskPat T-shirt in the mail yesterday. I'm thinking of doing an unboxing video for it, or maybe an unwrapping, opening the envelope or whatever. So my question is, I know you're writing a book right now, so I'd like to know, when inspiration strikes and you have this idea or this sentence just comes to your mind that, “Oh, this would be perfect in the book,” how do you capture it? Do you launch Evernote, or do you just write it down, pen and paper in a journal? Or do you use Scrivener and go and start writing directly in Scrivener? I'd be curious to know what tool or what your process is, when you want to capture ideas quickly. I know that in Evernote, you can link that to Scrivener as project references, but I don't know. I don't know how you do it and I'd like to know what's working for you. Thanks, and I hope you get to answer this question too. Bye now.
Pat Flynn: Yo, Alain, what's up? Thank you so much for the question again and your other question too. I'm glad to hear the AskPat t-shirt has been sent successfully your way. If you want to do one of those unwrapping or unboxing videos, that'd be awesome, just make sure I see that, or you can tag me on Twitter, @patflynn, I'd love to check that out. Now going back to your question, I think this is really important, because how many times have we just come up with something, or gotten inspiration from something, we're on the go, and then we wait till we get home to write it down, or we try to think about it later because we didn't write it down, or take note of it, and we forget about it. What do we always say? We always say, “Well, if it was important it will come back to me.” No! That thing that left us could have been the thing that could have been the most important thing in the world. You don't want to ever give yourself a chance to have things escape your mind.
With how busy things are, how many things are trying to capture our attention right now, or are fighting for our attention now a days, it's so important to, when these ideas and this inspiration comes our way, to capture those things immediately, or as soon as you possibly can. A few times I've done this, where I've pulled over, not on the freeway, I exit first. I pull over or I exit the freeway and get into a parking lot somewhere, and I start doing my thing to take note of whatever it was that I was thinking about. That happens more often than you might think because when I'm on a drive. When I'm driving somewhere and I've been driving for awhile, that's when I actually start to think about my business, quite often. If I'm not listening to a podcast, or I'm not singing along to a tune, or something, that's when these ideas come, and I want to make sure I capture them. If possible, I pull over and do my thing.
What does “do my thing” mean? Well, writing on a notepad is great, but you're only as fast as you can write. I don't typically recommend that, if possible. Evernote is great as well, but you're only as fast as you type, and if you're on the go and you're on your little iPhone, you have misspells or you might use your fat fingers. I have fat thumbs and I never type correctly the first time. Autocorrect slows me down a little bit. You can use voice recording on Evernote, and I like the idea of using Evernote because then it just goes into your inbox. In Evernote, you can check it out on other devices that you have, when you get home, on your mobile. You put it on your mobile and then you get home and it's there. Or if you have it hooked up to Scrivener, which I know a lot of people do, that can be very handy as well. You can record you audio on Evernote too, which is really cool. But again, Evernote doesn't always play well with what I want to do.
The tool that I've been using to collect ideas and brainstorm and outline, or actually create the first draft of my book, is called Rev. R-E-V. You can check it out at Rev.com. They have an app that allows you to record audio really quickly. I believe it's a free app, but you can pay to get things transcribed, if you want to. I don't always get things transcribed. If I'm doing outlines, like I mentioned in SPI TV episode 1, with my Post-it notes, and I take a Post-it note and then I describe what that is. I say what's in my head to get whatever is in my brain about that particular topic, that one small thing about my book, that one particular section. I brain dump it into the audio in Rev in my phone, and then I get it transcribed and that becomes my first draft. Then I have to work to turn it into book-mode, because writing is different from what you speak. That takes a little bit of time. That's the phase I'm in right now, but it's great, because the first draft, you want to get all those ideas out as much as possible. That's why I truly believe in the power of recording your voice. With Rev, I record my voice, whenever I have these new ideas. I have Rev as one of my first apps on the home screen of my phone. Even if I'm at home, I do this, because this is what I'm used to.
So Alain, what happens is, when inspiration strikes, or I get this idea, I want to talk it out as much as possible. I almost have a conversation with myself about it, because it allows me to get deeper into whatever this is that's in my head. This idea, or this inspiration is usually surface level, and it's my job to get deeper into my brain. It's as if I'm asking myself questions about it. When you have a conversation with somebody about something, they're always following up, and they're asking, “Why or how come,” and I do that with myself with these things to, to flush out this idea. It's interesting, because it's typically one of two sentence that come to mind, that I potentially want to put into this book or turn into a product, or turn into a blog post. What happens is, I brain dump whatever's in my head into this app. Again, it's called Rev. I'm recording it at this time. I'm asking myself questions about it. I'm trying to dig my way through it. Once I do that, once I get into all the details, what I end up doing is coming back to one or two more sentences. It's one or two more sentences, it becomes this huge thing, I talk about it and I discover new things and these stories come out, and different ideas and revelations. Then, I try to sum it back up into one or two sentences that would allow me to describe what I had just talked about.
What we usually start with, that seed idea, that seed inspiration, isn't always what we end up with. You don't want to have that be what you end up with. You want to have this process, using your voice and talking to yourself about it is the best way to go about it. So you can find out and hone in on that one or two sentence, that main idea, that core foundational thing, where if someone were to ask you, “What do you mean here?” You'd have a really great answer. Sometimes this takes several minutes. I've even been known to try to dissect an idea for 20 minutes sometimes, to get to a point where . . . then again I'm again happy to then have it turn into something I can put into my book. It's different every time. It's not always that structured, Alain, when I go through this process. But that's exactly how I do it.
Sometimes, I take a portion of that audio, or all of it, and I get it transcribed really quickly and easily there, through Rev. Costs a little bit of money, yes, $1 per minute. But it goes a long way, and sometimes I do put those things into the first draft of my book, and that works. Taking that idea, using my voice to dig deeper and get more out of that, dig up stories, case studies, ask myself questions about it as if somebody was having a conversation with myself, and then summarizing it into one or two sentences at the end, so that I can then easily summarize what was going on in my brain.
That's the process, Alain. That's the way I go about it. That's what works for me. That might work for you, I know this is a result of just a number of different ways that I've learned that a number of different people do it. This is the way I've been able to incorporate it into my own life and the way I would like to do things. It may be useful to you, parts of it may be useful to you, or it might sound crazy, and silly, and stupid, and not fit for you at all. You have to find out what works for you, though. That can only happen through trying and experimenting, so take this for what you think it's worth and use it, or use parts of it. I hope those of you out there listening can get some benefit from it too.
Alain, thank you so much for the question, I hope it proves to be somewhat useful to you. As always, let me know what you think. Also, you are a second-time caller, and featured person, here on the show, so I always ask, if you do want a shirt, send me an email, let me know after this goes live. If not, I can save it for somebody else, let me know. For somebody else who'd come on twice, I had sent them a second t-shirt and he and his wife both wear it now, which is really cool. It's up to you, let me know. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, all you have to do is head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page, thanks to the widget from Speakpipe.com.
Thank you so much. To finish off, here's a quote from Andrew Carnegie, one of my favorite people in the world. Totally revolutionized the steel industry, so I highly respect him and what he's done in the past. Check this quote out. He said, “There is little success where there is little laughter.”
You got to love that. Cheers. Take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Thanks.