What’s In Your Blog Box?

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This post was guest blogged by Justin Consuegra of The Men’s Gift Guide, a shopping blog dedicated to finding and suggesting unique gifts for men.

How do you keep your blogging life organized? I have a blog box. You see, I write a shopping blog, so I am constantly on the look out for products to talk about. However, I don’t have the opportunity to blog everyday; I tend to write a weeks worth of posts at the same time. So I keep everything ready to go in my blog box for whenever that opportunity presents itself.

What is in my blog box? Let me break it down for you. The box itself is a small, very portable plastic box that could be picked up at any office supply store. It’s waterproof and can easily be grabbed and taken with me anytime I need it. Inside I have taped a monthly calendar. I am a lone blogger, so my goal is to have something new on the site every day. The calendar lets me see which days I still need posts and I mark them off with a sharpie when a post is completed. I then keep my blogging material inside. I pull pages out of magazines and catalogs and put them in the box. Sometimes I’ll print off things from the internet and throw them in the box. When the time or mood strikes, I want to make sure I have lots of options of what to write about. I’ll sit down, thumb through what I’ve got, and pull out the things that strike me at the time. I will have to clean it out sometimes. Some things get old, or I think “why did I pull that out?” and it hits the trash. But needless to say, I’m ready to blog at almost any time.

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Also in my blog box is my AlphaSmart 3000. This is probably the best blogging tool out there and I’m sure most people have never heard of it. It’s actually a professional writer’s tool. I came by mind from a deceased family member who was trying to become a novelist. The AlphaSmart 3000 is a portable wordprocessor only slightly bigger than a sheet of paper. It’s powered by three AAA batteries. It’s instant on and instant save. I can flip it on, write a few sentences, and not worry about losing my work if I get distracted. This gives me the flexibility to blog anywhere, not just at my computer. I use it to blog outside, in the car, or while watching cartoons with the kids and not have to lug my laptop around.

When you are done, you simply plug the AlphaSmart 3000 into your computer via USB. I open Word (or another word processor) and the AlphaSmart retypes my writing into the document. It’s almost an instant transfer. Then I can spell check in word, edit a little, and move my posts into word press and actually create the posts. I can tell you that if I had to sit at my computer to blog, there is no way I would have kept it up. I simply don’t have the time, and I would have ended up doing something else on the computer. The AlphaSmart allows me to set aside blogging time, go somewhere (anywhere) I want and bang out posts without distractions.

The AlphaSmart 3000 must be an older model because it no longer is available on the AlphaSmart website. If you are interested, there are some newer models you can try, but I found a few AlphaSmart 3000s on eBay for around $50.

Oh, and the AlphaSmart 3000 just so happens to fit perfectly into my blog box.


48 thoughts on “What’s In Your Blog Box?”

  1. Thanks for this great article. It was really useful. I sometimes find it hard to be organized. It is such a smart thing to do.
    What do you think? 🙂

    1. Neil says:

      I thought it was great too … i never really thought of formalising it. I`ll definately look into this now.

  2. sounds like you need a pen and paper, a lot lighter and more portable i’m sure…

    1. Yes, I do agree with you with the pen and paper. But I really like the idea of having a little box to collect resources and stuff that you might blog about 🙂

    2. Gary R. Hess says:

      Tree killer! 😉
      I honestly haven’t even bothered writing much at all for the past couple of years… as sad as that is. I just type everything up on the laptop and if I need it in paper just print it off. My handwriting has gotten so bad that it’s hard for me to read now, heh. (it was never that great in the first place though)

    3. I like the pen and paper more, i can draw and kinda connect things points of subject with arrows which reminds me easily to what I was thinking when I took notes.

      Anyway this alphasmart thingie looks interesting..

  3. Cigar Jack says:

    Mine is a 32-Count Travel Humidor and a pen and a notepad. I need to really add a small digital camera. If I had the cash one of those AlphaSmarts not be a bad investment.

  4. Evan Tuuk says:

    That’s a really great idea. I should start doing something similar to this. Thanks for the article…

  5. Missy says:

    😈
    “and I would have ended up doing something else on the computer”.
    That line got me and got me good, as right now im suppose to be blogging but instead am on your site……reading. The alphasmart idea sounds useful, im sure by the time i make it to ebay, they will be gone, since you mentioned them. arrggg.

  6. vlsh says:

    just use a LAPTOP if you have one or traditional pen and paper. this thing is pointless

    1. Missy says:

      the reason it is better than a laptop, is because it doest have the internet attached to it, which for some folks (like me) helps with keeping at bay the distractions. i see huge value in it, and am getting one asap.

  7. Travis says:

    Are the clippings/printouts that you carry what you’re writing about? Do you just search later for sites to link to within posts? Meaning if you’re writing about a particular gift idea that you pulled out of a magazine, do you then later find a link to said gift?

    1. Justin says:

      Well, yes and no. The clippings are what I plan to write about. They are pages from magazines, catalogs, etc. But there are also pages printed out from other blogs. I’ll make a note on where it came from so after I make the post, I can remember to go back to the original blog to give credit. Obviously, if it came from a catalog, I’ll link to that catalog page online. And a magazine usually says where it can be bought.

      I consider my blog a little unique, so I don’t feel it necessary to have a link on every single post. This certainly is not a blanket statement, but many blogs that focus on men’s gifts are mostly technology/gadgets, or they include things that are super expensive, and therefore out of the reach of the normal consumer.

      Believe it or not, my blog is written toward women. While there are plenty of men who read and enjoy it, it is intended to be a resource for women to learn about what their man might like and how their man’s mind works. As far as I know, this is unique. So, to answer your question, many blogs do not have any link other than to the product page. Maybe that hurts me a little in the SEO side of things, but it is true to my content and intentions.

  8. Omg, this looks so classic. But I guess most of us will still stick to a proper desktop or laptop.

  9. Karol Krizka says:

    That actually seems like a cool idea, but it seems a bit too bulky still. How about a PDA/BlueBerry with those thumb keyboards? Might be harder to type, but it fits in your pocket.

  10. Calvin says:

    cool stuff…but do I really need this ? 😉

  11. Google Tutor says:

    one of the better posts ive read in a long time

  12. Raymond says:

    I’m not too keen on carrying around that box…looks sort of like one of those lunch boxes I carried around when I was a kid. Having the AlphaSmart’s a good idea though.

  13. dcr says:

    I love those plastic boxes. I have several of them for keeping track of different projects. I do have a tendency to overstuff the primary one I use though…

  14. John says:

    Great post, most of us could use a system like that. Checked out the unit on eBay and looks like you’ve raised the market value over $75. Congrats.

    1. Justin says:

      Oops, well certainly wasn’t my intention.

  15. Vincent Chow says:

    The AlphaSmart 3000 looks cute. Never knew something like this exist.

  16. The Foo says:

    this is a pretty good article. thanks for posting it.

    gotta say that using the alpha writer is a pretty good idea. it goes back to basics of having a tool for doing one thing and one thing only — writing without distractions. i myself tend to get sidetracked and distracted on my laptop with reading emails and multitasking. i don’t think it is a pointless thing at all. John Grisham and Stephen King still use type writers and electronic word processors for this reason — no distractions. And i quote they “won’t trade it for the world”.

    i actually looked at the website to see how much one of these things cost and must say i was put off by the $219 and $350 price. I’ll get one if it was less than $100 but it has gotta be a new one. I won’t trust buying a used one — i can’t afford to spend hours typing in it, to find it is broke and losing all my data.

    1. Justin says:

      I agree about the price of the new ones. I certainly wouldn’t have one if I had to buy it. It was actually a member of my wife’s family who passed away. I was the only one who even knew what it was so I took it, figuring I could maybe use it for blogging. I never expected it to be so invaluable though.

      As for the used one. I’m not sure what could really go wrong. Basically, it’s just a very simple word processor. There is no hard drive, no booting up, nothing. It must just be flash memory because there isn’t even a save button. I’ve had for over a year, and have never changed the batteries. They are still 3/4 full, and they were the batteries that were in it when I got it. I really can’t imagine how you’d lose data because you transfer to your computer anyway.

      Anyway, if you are really interested, I’d go ahead and give it a try.

  17. Israel says:

    cool, maybe once i start making this blogging thing my primary source of income i will go ahead and buy one.

  18. Wahlau.NET says:

    I would prefer having a laptop and window live writer
    This way picture would appear the way you need them to be
    http://www.riceblogger.com/2007/09/18/windows-live-writer-for-wordpress-blogs/

    plus with wifi you can upload them instantly

  19. Interesting… but a wee bit overboard for me!

  20. CatherineL says:

    Great article. The thing I hate about taking my laptop places is the battery running out and not having anywhere to recharge it, so this thing would be really useful.

  21. Blog boxes, man bags, the whole worlds gone crazy!

  22. Thanks but, no thanks. I am too used to my desktop and to start all over again to get used to another habit? Not for me.

  23. nick says:

    I think it’s funny how they charge $300 bucks for one of those things, when you can get laptops these days for that cheap.

    1. I was wondering the same thing, gimick springs to mind. I bought a PDA so that I could write on the move, it gets zero use!

  24. The Foo says:

    BTW I just found a used new on Amazon for $9.99, it’s the same older version that’s used by Justin — Alphasmart 3000.

    http://www.amazon.com/AlphaSmart-3000-ACESSORIES-Comments-Section/dp/B000R6VE7A/ref=pd_bbs_6/103-2015343-0319808?ie=UTF8&s=miscellaneous&qid=1191086686&sr=8-6

    1. Missy says:

      note: the items for $9.99 on amazon referred to here are for accessories, such as an a/c adapter, printer cables, etc. not for the actual alpha 3000 unit.

      1. The Foo says:

        ahh you’re right! sorry about that.

  25. Wow, this is great. Being able to organize and write several weeks of posts at a time is such a huge time saver! I”m going to look into making a blog box for myself, or at least start carrying a blogging calendar!

    BTW, I’m featuring this post in this week’s Sunday Seven. Stop by tomorrow for a peek.

    1. Wahlau.NET says:

      this alphasmart company may just get a johnchow effect

  26. Missy says:

    my only concern now after thinking about it for abit, is the tiny lcd screen, as im used to a full sized monitor, would i adjust well to a tiny lcd screen such as on the alpha. hmmm, probably not. but i really like the idea of a portable word processor. (sans net)

  27. Interesting box, do you have also lunch box?

  28. Ognjen says:

    Useful approach…

  29. Impactdns says:

    Don’t foget about the great tools Google has to offer, try using Google Notebook to:

    Clip useful information like text, images and links from web pages to your Google Notebook.

    Organize your notes.
    Create multiple notebooks, divide them into sections, then drag-and-drop your notes to stay organized.

    Get access from anywhere.
    Your Google Notebooks can be accessed from any computer by using your Google Accounts login.

    Publish your notebook.
    Share your Google Notebook with the world by making it public.

    -Steve

  30. UniqMan says:

    Thank you! Good article! I’ll try to write something like this in my blog 🙂

  31. Very good and informative article 🙂

  32. AlphaSmart 3000 (out dated) Why use it when you can get notebooks so cheap and wireless hubs are everywhere so you can get ideas at the same time as you are writing in Microsoft word.

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