Avoiding “Crash and Burn”

Ok, Ok…

I have realized that Superwoman I am not. Hehehe…the Inspired & Independent Book Club is reading a book titled Chasing Superwoman. It is a memoir and details the author’s realization that she had been trying to be Superwoman — lawyer, mother of 3, wife, Sunday School teacher, and the list goes on.

Today, as I realized that I haven’t written a blog post since last week, was the day I decided to stop trying to be Superwoman too. There is a need within myself to get my book written. CampNaNo has been the fire I have needed lit under my feet to get moving on the manuscript and stop procrastinating more than writing. I have been dedicated and diligent in the process and have been enjoying the new found focus on this manuscript.

That said, I am going to have to curb some of my other online activities…at least while I am working on the first draft. Once I get the words out of my head and heart and onto the page, then I can return to a more full online life. So that means instead of posting 5 days a week, I will have to cut down to one post a week. There will still be the monthly Saturday Shorts, but by the next time that is due I hope to have completed my first draft. I am also sure that there will be additional postings some weeks — I can never tell when something hits me that I need to share on the blog.

The Book Club will continue in full force without any changes. As a writer, I am constantly reading anyway. Hosting the Book Club hasn’t significantly impacted my writing, so I will leave that as is.

Now that I have spoken that into the universe, you know I will figure out a way to post more often…

I will be posting a new post each Wednesday. Be prepared — it could be long LOL! I am a writer after all and I love words, but not being able to post but one day a week may leave me with a short story load of information to share…

Off to write more in my manuscript… You may get a second post today. This one is more of an announcement than information, and I can’t have that!

Using Excel to Create an Editorial Calendar

So you’ve noticed I’m really on a kick with this editorial calendar thingy, huh? Two posts about it two days in a row…

I see an EC as an immense tool for bloggers. Although I have just instituted this tool in my writing life yesterday, it has already done innumerable things to assist me:

  • Organized my weeks into cohesive “themes”
  • Ensured that I am not overloading my readers with the same drudgery day after day after day
  • Gives me a clear overview of my weeks and months
  • Has “forced” me to plan ahead — I had to fill out the calendar once created, right?
  • Removed the forced scrambling to 1) come up with something to post, and 2) writing it on the fly once I thought of something so that I can get it posted that same day ;-p
  • The list goes on and on…

I used Microsoft Excel to create my EC. It was the easiest piece of software I could easily use to layout the calendar. Others have used Microsoft Word and the table function in Word. I decided not to deal with adjusting rows and columns in Word when Excel was made to easily do just that. Here’s a screenshot of the beginnings of my calendar, with the layout of it being based on Michele Linn’s screenshot from her article entitled How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing, which I shared with you in yesterday’s post:

EC Screenshot

My Editorial Calendar Screenshot

My goal is to post an article 5 days a week — Monday through Friday. On the first Saturday of each month, I will share a short story writing sample. This sample writing project will be a “first draft”, so don’t look for perfect grammar and sentence structure and the other trappings of finalized prose. It’s a fun exercise for self to keep me writing and for my readers to keep them motivated and writing as well.

Each day of the week has a specific theme. For example, each Monday I will write about the articles and information which I’ve devoured over the weekend as it relates to writing. I read up on the writing industry constantly and I would like to share some of the information I garner through my reading. Fridays are my “break” day where I get to write about whatever is churning up in that brain of mine. It’s the day I let the Muse free to do as she pleases. I may post a poem, or you may get an article about my Shorkie, Ebonie (a Shorkie is a Shitzu/Yorkie “designer” breed dog — a mutt with a price tag LOL! but I love her so…she’s my writing buddy…). You never know…

I hope that yesterday’s article at least got you thinking about ECs and how they can be useful to you in your writer’s life. If not, then today’s should really get you going — especially if you’ve been struggling to be a faithful blogger who publishes great content and not just throwing something up to say that you post daily. This tool in one day has already had a major, positive impact on my schedule and my time management. You could enjoy the same benefits too by instituting your EC today!

If you are interested in instituting an EC but are not the techie type, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll send you a blank copy of my Excel spreadsheet for your use. You will need Microsoft Excel in order to open/edit it for your use. Google Docs may also be used as well.

Time to share…
Let’s see a screenshot of your EC! What software did you use to create it? Any tips on easy ways to create one? You are creating a daily calendar for a full year afterall… 

Monday Again…

Wow… Weekends sure do go by quickly! And with all of the responsibilities of living — mother, wife, author, entrepreneur, etc. — it makes the time seem even quicker. Forty-eight hours is just not enough time to get it all done!

I have been reading a lot about social networking lately. More specifically as it relates to blogs. See…I really want my blog to be a useful tool in the blogosphere and not just another blog to add to the millions out there. I want it to have a plan and direction; for it to be targeted and specific to the niche I have chosen. Not that my chosen focus is a “niche” per se since writing is very broad; however, I would like my blog to be focused and not all over the map, jumping from this to that to this and back to that again…

One of the topics I have been reading up on this weekend involves creating an editorial calendar for your blog. This will help you to keep your focus and keep your blog going in the direction you intend, rather than having it all over the place. Most of the articles suggested using Excel or any spreadsheet program to create and keep your EC. Microsoft Word or a wordprocessing program was also suggested. I am going to start with Excel, but in the long run I’m sure it will end up in the Calendar app on my iPad somehow. I just need to start in Excel so I can transfer it to my electronic method once refined.

I found these two articles very helpful in explaining exactly what an editorial calendar is and how instituting one in your blogging life can assist you greatly and steer your blog into a more professional direction:

Develop An Editorial Calendar for Your Blog
How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing

Both authors have similar views. They suggest that using an EC will greatly improve your blogging and help you to stress less about your blog. The authors agree that having some type of EC in place allows you to get your blogging done in an orderly, non-rushed fashion, where you know well ahead of time what needs to be written for your blog on each day that you will be blogging. I believe that instituting an EC will allow me to get my posts written and scheduled in advance so I’m no longer scrambling the day of to get the darn article written and posted. Because of some of the suggestions in these two articles, I have chosen my method of scheduling and will be creating my spreadsheet today. Anyone who blogs regularly and professionally should really consider getting your mind wrapped around a “publishing” schedule and getting your EC in place today…

Time to share…
Do you use an editorial calendar in your blogging life? If so, please share the tool(s) you use to create and maintain it. Also share how instituting one has resolved issues for your blog and kept you focused.