It’s time to plan your 2016 blogging calendar. My friend, Katherine Scott Jones, is a organizational whiz; she schedules her posts six months in advance.
I’m re-printing a guest post she wrote for my blog a couple of years ago; I know you’ll find it useful as you plan next year’s blogging.
As a devoted wife, dedicated mom, committed volunteer, and writer of fiction, one of my biggest challenges is managing my time well.
Launching my blog added yet another task to find time for. Where to fit it in? I didn’t want social media networking to detract from my “real” work—the stuff I might get paid for. I needed a way to fit it in around the edges.
That’s when I starting viewing my summer months in a whole new light.
You see, my kids attend the local elementary school, which means that during the school year, my days are fairly interruption-free—exactly what I need to write.
But summers? Well, they tell a different story. When my children are home, I can’t count on more than a couple of hours at a time, uninterrupted. Which doesn’t work well for my novel-writing.
But guess what? It works great for my blog.
Blogging requires a much shorter attention span. Whereas writing a few decent novel chapters requires 3-4 hours of focused time, I can easily write a blog post in under an hour.
Thus, a plan was born. In order to give myself more time from September to May to focus on my novel-writing, from June to August I plan my blog’s editorial calendar—for the entire year.
Here’s how you can do it, too:
Determine how often you want to post throughout the year. After trial and error, I settled on twice a week.
Determine your content (post topics). For me, because my blog focuses on *story*, half my content is book reviews; the other half is writing- or story-related.
Install an editorial calendar plug-in on your blog. (For step-by-step instructions, see Blogging Bistro’s excellent how-to here.
Plot your course. Choose your post topics and schedule them for specific days throughout the entire year (September through August). Working 2-3 hours a day, this process usually takes me 3-4 weeks.
My editorial calendar looks like this:
Naturally, I set nothing in stone, expecting to make changes as I go along.
Write rough drafts. Once my calendar is filled out, I go back and sketch a draft for each of my scheduled topics. Working 2-3 hours a day, this takes another 4-6 weeks. And that pretty much rounds out my summer.
Then all that remains is for me is to flesh out those rough drafts as I arrive at their scheduled post-dates throughout the year. I can generally write my revised draft in about 30 minutes. Using this method, I normally spend no more than 45 minutes (in 2 or 3 chunks) on each post.
Two other tricks allow me to make the most of my summer-blogging time:
- I employ the Pomodoro Technique to ensure I don’t overspend my time on any single post or task.
- I constantly seek ideas to transform into my own original content. Whenever something inspires, I email the idea or link to myself, which I then tuck into an e-folder entitled “Post Topics.” When it’s time to create my annual editorial calendar, I have a file bursting with ideas to draw upon.
I’ve discovered an added advantage to using the summer months to work on my blog. The process gives me a big break from my regular projects, so I can then return to them with renewed eyes, fresh inspiration, and renewed vigor.
My kids won’t always be home for summer breaks, but I’m enjoying my routine so much, I could easily see continuing this rhythm for as long as I’m at this writing gig.
How do you juggle life’s priorities alongside social media networking? I’d love to learn from you today.