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Write Quick & Better: The “Aha” Index Card Method

Here’s a writing tip that helps us create more engaging experiences with our audience in less time.

It’s helpful no matter what you’re making, whether it’s a blog post, a script for video, a book, a sales page, an email or a tweet.

If there’s something you need to communicate, this quick tip will help you do it stronger, with more clarity and less time wasted.

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The creative mind needs limitations. This tip will help you write better + quicker.
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Helpful?

What do you think about this lil’ tip for getting our brains around the thing we’re trying to communicate? Let us know in the comments.


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  • http://contentmarketingup.com Michael Chibuzor

    Thank you so much Chase, I’m definitely going to apply this writing tip and see how far it goes. BTW: the video quality is great and you do have a sense of humor.

  • http://www.smartmoneyrevolution.com Brian Lawler

    I don’t know what’s best, the humor or the tip! Either way keep them coming cos you sure know how to deliver quality content!

  • http://wilsonusman.com Wilson Usman

    This is great chase, I recently been using some six sigma tools like the 5 Why, process maps and bunch of other tools. These are all great tools and the index card is one of them that can be very useful. I guess it comes down to what works for that person.

    • Chase Reeves

      Yea, you’re totally right. And I find that sometimes I use other methods depending on how I feel at the moment or the nature of the project, etc.

    • Stan Kolis

      Connecting the “Aha Moment” with the “5 Whys” is a great idea. Forces you to really focus on why you want folks to know what you’re telling them and build to that climax, and then tell them why their lives will be so much better for knowing this. Great motivation to try this out! Good job, Wilson!

  • http://www.inboundpro.net Hector cuevas

    Great video. Definitely trying this tip on my next blog post. You’re right. Trying to fill up an endless white screen is a bit overwhelming. Knowing that you have a beginning, middle and end makes it just a bit easier. Thanks

  • http://kimberlydhouston.com/ Kimberly

    Love this actionable writing tip. And totally agree that “the creative mind needs limitations,” as you say in the video. Between writing for myself and writing for clients, I produce heaps of content each week, and I’m always looking for ways to get the job done faster. I love the “Aha Index Card Method” because as you mention, on a computer, you can go on and on . . . and on. But if you have to limit yourself to getting the arc of the idea, the before and after, and the main takeaway mapped out on an index card? Brilliant. : )
    I can’t wait to apply this technique to a long-ish (too long) blog post I’ve been struggling to wrestle into a shorter, more concise piece.
    Thanks for the tip!

  • http://www.creative-constructs.com Kevin Tobosa

    Wow – timely and useful tip. I’ve been looking for different methods for using index cards as creative tools and this is one I’m looking forward to adding to my kit. Thanks Chase – fun video!

  • http://vmandco.com Veso Mitev

    Good advice! Limitation really puts the creative juices at work. I, for example, work better in limited environment. Outlining is a must have when writing text that have some meaning. Otherwise it’s just a pointless chatter for the sake of chattering.

    The end cracked me up. And that’s not easy :D

  • http://pentozen.com Faith Watson

    Ooh this was filled with my addictions–sticky notes, Steve Pressfield, being told I’m cute…but I’m mostly stuck on spiral bound notebooks myself. I’m into the rippy noise of removing a page and conversely the quest not to make the rippy noise because you get that big glump of margin paper. Who isn’t obsessed about pulling those spiral strips out, right? Anyway, strong value in keeping the notes to see your brain on paper. But I have this thing where I actually put sticky notes ON the notebook paper for short term “aha” needs. I might require an intervention.

    • Chase Reeves

      Ha! All those little bits from the spiral ripping… the worst! I think we do need an intervention here, Faith :)

  • http://www.bloggerdoc.com Amal Rafeeq

    Aha! Haha!!! :D What can I say?
    You really got a sense of humor in you Chase. The way you talked about going up the mountain was really funny. Actually, you sound like my Chemistry teacher with those expression of yours.
    Well put with the Index card thingy. Loved it. It would’ve been better if you picked up that card once you put it down and hold it till the end. Just saying ;)

    About the idea? That’s super duper mate. It was totally amazing. I just can’t wait to watch another great video done by you. Can I hope for some more?

    Thanks. Chase , Cheers! :D

  • http://cameronchardukian.com Cameron Chardukian

    I also loved the humorous nature of the video. My aha moment was learning how to to tie my shoe without it ever coming undone ;)

    • Chase Reeves

      YES! Amazing, amiright!?

  • Hannah

    Thanks for the great info Chase – it’s really helpful.

    Funny side note, when I was watching one of your other videos my sis wanted to know: “Who’s he, he looks pirate-y.” I couldn’t help cracking up.

    • Chase Reeves

      Wow, literally the highest compliment I’ve ever received… I have *always* wanted to be a pirate, so please tell your sister “thank yarrrrrr” from me!

  • http://www.bootstrappingEcommerce.com Shabbir

    Who knew there was actually a method to tie shoes like that? I gotta start doing that – been saving up for a helicopter…

    Great tip, Chase – limiting yourself actually does force you to think clearly and prevents you from ranting and digressing.

    Going to write my next post using this method and will give you a heads up on how it goes. Cheers!

  • http://nathalielussier.com Nathalie Lussier

    You had me at “climax”. Ahem. :)

    Great tips here, and I love using index cards to get to the core of a topic. I’m also a fan of mind mapping in a notebook, or even on an iPad when the mood strikes.

    • Chase Reeves

      {adjusts collar}

    • http://www.agileenglish.es Joanna

      Lol!! Great humour in the video and so much humour in so few words! Brilliant.
      (and yes, it’s humoUr, darlings from across the sea)
      Have noted the takeaway from this video on an index card.

  • http://www.twitter.com/willreinhardt Will Reinhardt

    One of the key takeaways for me was actually unspoken: if you don’t actually have an “Aha” moment, is that post really worth writing?

    Loved the video!

  • Chase Reeves

    Can I just be honest and say: holy g*d how fluffy is this guy’s hair!? Looks like he’s really going for that “dad” look.

  • James

    “Write Quick and Better” –pretty much not gonna take writing advice from someone who crafts a sentence like that.

    • Chase Reeves

      It’s true. Your smart to say sew. (see what I did there?)

  • http://www.outofcommission.net Joe Kerouac

    Hey Chase,

    I used Post-its to write a book. Just stumbled into doing it that way. Felt right for me and worked well.

    Just getting into blogging and used Post-its to map the blogs for a year out…how they connect to each other, go deeper, CTAs etc. My entire office is wall to wall post-its. I get looks and comments. I shall refer them to this piece to avoid any pending institutionalization.

    Thanks for bringing me back to the basics. One core “peak” per…climb up…ease on down.

    Loving you and your crew. (You the captain(?)…being a pirate and all?) I follow few and only follow who I read and apply. You are one of ‘em.

    • Chase Reeves

      Awesome! I picture you like this. Cheers, Joe!

    • http://www.outofcommission.net Joe Kerouac

      Thanks for taking the time to even picture me.

  • http://www.energymatch.ca/ Ekaterina Ramirez

    Chase, what I like about this method is that it’s about designing an experience for your readers. I hear you = throw away your smarts and get people take action after reading your stuff. As you like to say here, it has to be epic.

  • http://www.launchalegacy.com Michael Knouse

    Thanks for the index card tip.

    Simplicity = application.

    And it’s great hearing this from a fluffy haired pirate! :-)

  • Lisa

    AHA! This tip is the BALLS!! :)

  • Joanne

    Oh I love this-it is SUCH a funny video (I mean, useful too, but mostly funny). You be a comedian. Or actor. Or both. Your delivery is so engaging. Better-er.

  • http://www.padorec.com Paul @ Padorec

    I went out yesterday and bought a pack of index cards. I LOVE this method for gathering thoughts and organizing them. I now have a stack of post ideas already that go with me everywhere. This stack has become my post journal.

    This is solid gold!

    The only change I’ve made is that on the back of each index card, I jot headline ideas. That way when the perfect headline comes along, I can record it and NEVER forget it! Muahahaha.

  • http://www.MEometry.com jason goldberg

    Great tip but even more than that, I LOVE your style! There is something very endearingly, paul rudd-esque about your delivery and I could watch it all day! I feel like you and I both embrace our inner goof ball and “don’t-give-an-eff-if-Iook-silly”-ness and I’m always happy to see it in someone else! Well done man, I’ll definitely be back!

    JG

  • http://www.biddytarot.com Brigit

    I LOVE this vid. Chase, you are so funny, so engaging and so smart with your delivery.

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  • http://www.navidmoazzez.com Navid Moazzez

    Awesome video Chase, I really enjoyed it! You have a great sense of humor and share some really valuable tips in this video, I will try apply this writing tip myself and see how it goes.

    All the best,
    Navid

  • http://www.mymoneydesign.com/ MMD

    Nice lesson and very entertaining video. The idea behind starting from the blog post climax and working backwards is so simple yet it will be so effective. I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve read where I kept asking “what is the point here”. I think my writing will be improved if I can start with the aha moment in mind first and then branch out from there.

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  • http://www.karaparlin.com Kara Parlin

    I love this idea! I’m a writer (and a type A at that), and I tend to over complicate and over plan. It’s a nice take on the three-act story structure.

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