Monday, June 30, 2014

Lessons :: How and Why I Use a Blogging Calendar

Fenn asks,

"I know that you've posted your blogging calendar (and I've seen others do the same). It's all pretty colored post-it notes, but I just don't get it. I mean, are you placing ideas that you need to flesh out? Do you place weekly blog posts? When you plan your calendar, have you already started to write those posts? Is it to keep you updating regularly? Does it change throughout the month?

I'm just looking for more insight into the actual blogging calendar and why it's useful because I'm wondering if it's something I could use!"

As I've mentioned before, I'm a scheduling/planning/listing freak. I highly recommend that everyone use some sort of calendar, whether you're a blogger or not. If only I could be as organized with my clothes and car, but I digress. Keeping an editorial calendar has helped my blogging become better (and easier) than ever. I've been using one consistently for the past year. Here's a little peek into my process.

 photo loudmouth_lifestyle_blog_calendar.png

Last July, I started using a wall calendar so that I could see it loud and clear. The problem with that, though, was that it wasn't mobile. I couldn't bring it with me if I wanted to work at a coffee shop or if I was going on a vacation and wanted to sneak some blogging in at bedtime. I ended up re-writing everything in my regular planner anyway, and that made my life look a lot more cluttered on paper. I prefer to keep my blogging stuff and normal life stuff (like meetings and appointments) in separate spots. I was relieved when I reached the last page of my big calendar recently and headed off to Target for a replacement.

I ended up buying two monthly planners: one for The Loudmouth Lifestyle and the other for my new baby blog (coming soon!). They're almost identical except that one has pink trim and the other has orange so that I can differentiate. I really love that these pages are big enough so that I can see everything clearly in front of me, but small enough to fit in my tote bag. My stickies are a tiny bit too big for the squares but it doesn't bother me to trim them down. Those scissors might look gross, but they've been well-loved. They're a special scrapbooking pair that I've probably had since middle school. My sister bought me the pen on her recent New York trip; she knows I'm always collecting writing utensils.

I use different colored post-its for different categories. Yellow is for advice (either LESSONS, which is a Q&A format or LIFE which is usually a list or essay), pink is for LOVES, orange is for LOOK AGAIN (my #throwbackthursday posts), purple is for LINKS (which I'm moving to Fridays) and blue is for LOUDSTAGRAM (which I'm moving to Saturdays). Within the coming weeks I'm going to stop posting on Sundays, and will continue to cut down as my pregnancy progresses. I plan to take some sort of maternity leave once baby comes, but I'll fill you in once I figure out details. I've heard that motherhood in itself is a full-time job, so I'm preparing my brain for days spent feeding, changing diapers and attempting to sleep.

 photo loudmouth_lifestyle_blog_calendar_inside.png

If you're wondering why it looks so empty, that's because I didn't want to ruin any surprises (there's some extra special stuff coming next week). I usually write post titles on the post-its and I assure you that after snapping these photos, the pages got a lot more messy. I like using sticky notes so that I can shuffle things around if need be, set aside ideas for later or scrap them entirely. It looks a lot better and it's easier than scratching out and re-writing. I don't really have a way to indicate whether or not I've started working on or finished a post, but that's not hard to keep track of in Blogger.

Keeping a calendar this way helps me stay on course. I'm constantly jotting down ideas in my journal or phone and organizing them in a concise way prevents me from getting overwhelmed or confused. I truly believe that proper planning is everything, especially when you're running your own blog or business!

You might also be interested in 5 Blogging Tips from Musicians, 10 Blogging Tips for Busy Women and 8 Inspiration Sources for Bloggers. Any other questions? Send 'em here!
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