Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blog Posts Organized the Simple Way

It happened again. You had a great idea for a blog post, so you scrawled it on a sticky note. The toddler found it and colored over it, then the teenager helpfully threw it out. Or, you managed to remember the idea long enough to put it at the bottom of a messy list buried somewhere on your dining room table. After the kids go to bed, in the 5 minutes before you collapse, you decide to sit down and tap out a blog post. You drum your fingers on the edge of your laptop for a few minutes, thinking, then you finally find your crumpled list, complete with peanut butter.

That’s great, but then you see the next topic on the list and you just do not have in mind to write about that right now. So, you scribble out that and squeeze in a new idea. While you’re at it, you decide to jot down a few more thoughts for blog articles somewhere on the page. By the time you get around to actually writing, you’re down to three minutes before collapse.
writing calendar
There is a better way! I used to do the above process until I came across this nifty monthly dry-erase board at Office Max (maybe? or maybe it was Staples?) for $2. I didn’t really need another calendar, but I was sure that I needed that little dry-erase board! It has a string hanger, or it can lean against a wall (or bookshelf). It’s light and not too large. It’s also double sided; the other side is blank for notes and I’ve posted my yearly goals there.

Anyway, I decided to use my new find for my writing command center. In addition to blogging, I write for several magazines and websites; I write reviews, and I’m taking grad school classes with multiple papers due. I chose to use a different color dry erase marker for each place I write for, but you could color code your topics or just use one color. First I write in when my fixed due dates are for magazines, websites, and school. Some of those get repurposed as blog posts, which I note on my board. Then I fill in the blanks with other ideas.

I’ve chosen to blog only twice a week [usually]; with my other responsibilities, I can’t take on more than that usually. Whatever your schedule is, stick to it as much as possible so your readers know what to expect.

If an unexpected review or topic pops up, I just erase & rewrite. No mess, no crumpled paper, no missing sticky note. I can see at a glance what I have planned for the month and what I still need to work on; a check mark beside the title means it's already written and ready to go.

No $, no dry erase board? Print out a generic monthly calendar from your computer and use pencil.

Q4U: How do you organize your blog posts?