I have a thing for organization. It’s true. I’m a planner. I like things neatly ordered. And for Bloggiesta, I decided to share a few tricks that I use to keep me organized. I want to stress a few things here:
1. Everyone is different when it comes to being organized. You must keep trying new things until you find what works for you.
2. There is no right or wrong way to stay organized. If it works for you, that’s what matters.
3. What I have listed here works for me, but if these don’t work for you, we can work together to find something that does. I am HERE for you.
There are three parts to this challenge. You can do all three or two or one–whatever works for you and your style of blogging. Please share what works for you, whether it’s something I’ve listed here or not.
Create a Blog Schedule
Creating a blog schedule allows you to look at any given month and figure out how many reviews, memes, and features you need to schedule. It keeps you consistent and predictable. Schedules also help to keep you on track. For example, I can look at January 2013 and know that I need to have at least nine reviews for the month. Having easily quantifiable goals can keep you motivated, especially if you easily get caught up in trying to post as much as other bloggers. Stick to your schedule. Having a blog schedule can also make you appear professional. If you work with other bloggers or authors, having a set schedule makes it easier on them. I can tell Kelly, my associate reviewer, how many reviews I need from her (and what days are her review days) a month in advance.
I can also tell you that I need about 104 reviews per year to maintain my schedule. With an associate reviewer, that means I’m personally responsible for about 74 reviews every year. I read more than 100 books per year, so this schedule works for me. Reading more books than I have review slots for allows me to schedule ahead AND gives me the option of not reviewing books if I get burnt out on writing reviews. It’s a sad fact, but getting burnt out on reviewing books seems to be a natural part of book blogging. It’s important to give yourself cushion so you can ride out the storm without needing to shut down your blog. A good blog schedule can help you with that.
(Note: if you don’t read many books, you can still set specific days you post your reviews. Just because you have a “review day” doesn’t mean you’re absolutely required to have a review that day.)
- Monday — Review
- Tuesday — Top Off Tuesday
- Wednesday — Review
- Thursday — Open
- Friday — Discussion| Giveaway | Interview: Character | Interview: Author | Review
- Saturday — Open
- Sunday — Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge
I’ve used this schedule for over a year. Notice how I don’t schedule something for each day. This is something I want to stress: you must do what works for you. This schedule works for me.
Create your own schedule. You can post your schedule somewhere on your blog, or you can post your schedule in my comments. What do you think about your schedule? Try it out for a bit and see how it goes.
Questions to ask yourself while creating a schedule:
- How many days per week do I want to post?
- Can I realistically meet my schedule every week? (i.e., is the amount of content too much/just right/too little for the amount of time I have to devote to blogging?)
- What memes do I participate in, and what days are these on? (I scheduled my reviews around my memes.)
- Does my schedule allow me flexibility if I need to switch things up?
Make Monthly Blog Lists
I know this sounds a little scary, but bear with me. Having a visual reminder of what I need to accomplish keeps me organized because I can point at it and say, “Yes, I need three more reviews and one Friday post this month, and then I am set.” This also means that if I have a couple hours to devote to blogging, I don’t have to hunt down what I need to do, or sit there and come up with a list before I begin. The time I devote to my blog varies considerably from week to week, but keeping a list like this allows me the freedom to slack off a bit if I’m ahead or if I’m incredibly bored, work ahead.
If you have a lot of review books to read, making monthly to do lists for your blog could help you keep track of which books are released in any particular month.
I use note cards to make my lists, and, as you can see, it’s just a list of dates. As I complete them, I cross them off. At the bottom, I write down possible discussion post ideas. It’s not fancy, but it works for me.
Click here to see what the same to do list (pictured above) looks like 9/27 (rather than at the beginning of September when this post was scheduled)
Make your own blog list. Your list does not have to be like mine. You could have a monthly or weekly planner (last Bloggiesta, Jacinda @ The Reading Housewives linked this blog planner). You can use a task scheduler or Google calendar to send yourself reminders. Whatever works for YOU. When you have your blog list completed, come back here and tell us what worked for you and how you’re tracking your things to do.
Things you may want to include on your list:
- Titles of books you have agreed to review or that release that month
- The number of reviews you need
- Any special events you’re hosting or participating in
- Memes you need to schedule
- Ideas for discussion
Use Templates to Your Advantage
Having templates of posts you feature on a regular basis (memes, reviews, other features) can cut down on time you spend drafting, writing, and scheduling posts. Additionally, if you have free time, you can draft posts out. Last year, I drafted my weekly recap post out by six months. It sounds a little crazy, but when I was in the middle of teaching, it was SO HELPFUL because I never had to worry about remembering to start the post. It was always there. For memes, having a template means that you can schedule your posts months in advance. Part of staying organized is taking advantage of the free time you have. If you have a couple hours to spare, why not schedule out memes for three months? That means fewer posts you have to worry about for the next three months, which can free you up to work on other things.
Example (my review template)
[Book Title] by [Author]
In Six Words:
[Author] — Website |
Amazon — Paperback | Kindle
Add it to Goodreads
Why I Started Reading This Book and Final Verdict
What you do for this challenge depends on whether you already have templates and how much time you want to devote to this challenge. You can:
- Make templates for posts you publish on a regular basis
- Draft (meaning create a new post from your template with the correct scheduling date) posts of templates you have created
- Schedule posts for memes or features.
I talked with Kelly, my resident Blogger expert, about what she does for templates on her blog. Unfortunately, Blogger isn’t as template friendly as WP is. But here is what Kelly said: set up a template, then copy the HTML (this part is very important; Blogger has a tendency to add extra span tags if you just copy and paste from the “Compose” window) and paste it in a Notepad document. Whenever you need that post template, you copy it and put it back into the HTML window on your Blogger composer. If you do something different, please share!
Brianna from The Book Vixen is a major fan of Windows Live Writer, and she’s hosted a mini-challenge on it. If you’re interested, check out Brianna’s WLW challenge.
WordPress.com has a feature called “copy a post.” What you do is create the bare bones of your post (review, feature, meme, etc) and then copy that post into a new one. WP.com does offer a short tutorial on this in case you need more help.
Because WP.org does not have the copy post feature like WP.com, I use a plugin called Duplicate Post. It works in much the same way that copying a post does on WP.com. I create a post that is the bare bones of my post, and then I click the “New Draft” option any time I want to start a new post.
Now go forth and become organized!