A great post and some fabulous tips from my dear friend and fellow OYANer, Ellana. Enjoy!
I spent several days trying to decide on a topic for this Guest Post. Then I realized that in my own blog I always planned What and When I would Write weeks ahead so that I never ran into this problem.
So I thought, perhaps others would enjoy reading a few tips on planning ahead with their blogs?
My blog is primarily geared towards my art. As a result everything I’m sharing will reflect that. Whatever your blog’s focus is, you could easily apply these same techniques.
1. I like to keep things organized when I plan things. I begin by running off calendar templates with whatever month/year is appropriate. (Click here for a website full of free calendar templates in different styles, designs, and sizes.)
Four months ahead is a decent length of time to plan ahead for me, but this is only a suggestion. Whatever you write down to go in a slot 3 weeks ahead of time can always be switched out or removed.
2. In the picture above, it’s not the clearest, but you can see I have 4 different colors. Each color represents something.
Blue- Facebook (I have a Facebook page for my art where I share links to my blog)
Red- “Special” occasions (movie/book coming out, holidays, special event I’m going to, etc)
Green- Specifically blog post related
Black- Objectives for the month
Every Tuesday I try to post a few sketches that I’ve done over the week. This is something I can fill in all the Tuesday’s of the month instantly. In the same way I know that every Thursday/Friday I try to post a piece of writing of some kind (poetry, writing prompt, short story, etc). Because I know Friday is a major work day and I’m often busy Thursdays, I leave myself 2 days to post something.
That’s 2 blog posts every week. That’s approximately 8 “Green Posts” every month.
I mark down “Red Specials” because often they make good subjects for art or blog posts. For example: I’m going to see The Return of the King outdoors with a live orchestra playing the background music. This is a fun blog post waiting to happen.
Your blog could also be a way to motivate yourself. This is where the “Black Objective” comes in. Each month I try to focus on a larger artistic piece that takes a longer span of time to create. I don’t always fulfill my objective, but it takes away my most common excuses that “I’m don’t know what to draw” or “I’m not inspired.”
My Black Objective for this coming August is to create a Doctor Who piece since Season 8 will be airing on the 23rd. I’m tying in something I love with something that goes towards being productive with my art and blogging about it.
3. Not everyone will want to or be able to post at this rate. How often you post doesn’t have to be set in stone and plotted to the day, nor do you have to choose one topic for each day. I find it easier to have a specific goal in mind so that I’m not swimming in 20 different ideas with no idea on when to execute them. Structure and limitations keeps you from feeling overwhelmed and creates a consistent feeling with your reader.
There are many who might post 3 months apart and then twice in one week. This isn’t a bad thing, I follow several blogs like this (and enjoy them!). But personally, from a Bloggers point of view it’s easier to plan ahead.
4. Keep In Mind– There will be times when you will fail to stick to your schedule. You will get tired of forcing yourself to write something up every single Thursday, or you’ll forget. And sometimes you will betoo busy. And that’s okay. Your blog should never take priority over your Real Life, your family and your education should never be pushed aside because you want to keep up on your quota.
This past April my life did a downward plunge into hectic work and family events. As a result since April 15th I’ve posted ONCE. So much for that glittering array of 8 posts per month right? However before that I managed to stick to my schedule 90% of the time September 2013-March 2014. That’s not something that should be ignored.
Now things are calming down a little, I know I have time to do a few posts each month again. Maybe I’ll aim for 4 posts per month instead of 8 for a bit. Maybe that’s a better goal to stick to in the long run.
Sometimes it’s good to pull away from things. As long it’s not covering up an excuse to be lazy and scroll through Pinterest all day (I might have some guilt over this).
5. You have to ask yourself if you have a message worth sharing. This is when you look at what you’ve done. If it has becomes a sea of blog posts all clamoring for attention, how many of those posts have something genuine to say? When you have 5 posts planned that could be transformed into 1 complete and fulfilling message… Which would have more impact?
Writers have their keyboards and napkin scrawls, gardeners have their gloves and sunburned necks, I have my pencils and brushes. We are all artists with our chosen set of tools, how we share our work with the world is up to us.
6. Further Suggestions to Expand Your Blog:
-Guest blog posts
-Share through all media like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Do any of you guys have specific methods when it comes to blogging? Do you plan ahead to the day, or write as the moment calls for it? I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Ellana Turrell’s accomplishments include: Almost completing an entire novel, playing the piano, and drawing on a level that satisfies her perfectionist tastes. She is a drinker of coffee and poetry. The Lord of the Rings is her favorite story in all of time and space. You can follow her blog here, or connect on Facebook.