I frequently get questions from my readers about how I manage blogging, school, and extracurriculars and thought sharing my blogging organization tips would be the perfect way to explain this! There have been plenty of nights where I stay up too late just so that I can have a blog post ready to roll in the morning. I do this because 1. I love blogging and 2. because I usually have so much content that I want to make to the blog and if I don't post something everything falls behind. Ideally, I have almost all of my posts for a week written out before the week even starts but we all know how life happens and things constantly get in the way.
As awesome as it would be to devote a vast majority of my time to blogging that will probably never be the case. I am a full time college student with two labs this semester, hours of field work to get done, applications to fill out, and meetings to attend and that doesn't even include the studying, class, social, food, and sleep aspects. For me to be an effective and efficient blogger I am forced to use my time wisely. I have summed up the steps I take when planning out posts and hope that they help you out! If you are new to the realm of blogging and want some tips and tricks for beginners check out this post with my best advice for getting started!
Create a system.
I've been blogging for nearly 3 years and have only recently "perfected" my system. I have come to understand what type of posts my readers want to see, what graphics y'all prefer, and I am getting a grasp on the mixture of my post topics for each week. I am most productive with my posts (if I follow the steps below) when I am working on them alone and have begun thinking through them prior to writing the post. If I could blog in the shower my content would be so much better since that is where some of my best ideas hit me! I have found that creating images and writing the text are awesome breaks for me when I am studying and that is when a lot of the content you see gets written. By knowing that I write an outline of the post first, create the graphic second, write the text third, and grab the links last I am able to break things up into smaller chunks.
Keep an idea list going at all times.
This is the best advice I can give! I always have my blogging notebook with me and am constantly adding post ideas to the list. Usually I write down whatever month it is so that I can have it for reference and write away. Whenever I have completed one of these post ideas I cross it off with a yellow highlighter. Ideally, I have more ideas than days for posts and some of the ones that didn't get used during the current month get to become options for the next month allowing you to always have some idea of what you can talk about next. I have found that by doing this I am never desperate for an idea and therefore not writing a sloppy post about something I don't really care about.
Preschedule & plan ahead when you have time.
My blog is processed through blogger so I am not well versed in the world of wordpress however, I imagine that it has a preschedule option similar to that of blogger. Prescheduling is the only reason y'all see posts on particularly stressful school and event weeks and is the absolute only reason y'all saw anything this summer while I was at camp. By already having a long list of post ideas when you find yourself with extra time you can go ahead and write a few of these out and schedule them for future dates. These are the posts that usually save me and allow me to sleep during especially hectic weeks.
Have an editorial calendar and plan by week and month.
Probably the most important thing you can have as a blogger is an editorial calendar. In the past I have put what post is going up each day in the same planner that I use for school but this year I have found a new system that works even better for me. As more opportunities present themselves I've discovered that academics and blog related things just will not fit in a single calendar. I have a Kate Spade agenda solely for blogging and I really only use the monthly over view. This is where I write out what post is going up which day and I take time at the beginning of the month to map things out. This is especially important if you are planning a post with a company or have a giveaway coming up that way those get placed first and won't be forgotten. I just recently started using a weekly blog planner and am now seriously questioning how I ever lived without it. Mine is from Heart and Arrow Designs on Etsy and is catered perfectly to a bloggers need. With squares for me to put check marks for different aspects of the planning process and more squares for me to check off once I share my posts on social media it is any organization fanatics dream come true. By seeing exactly what content is going up this week as well as seeing the month at a glance I can productively manage my time to make sure everything is good to go by when it should be.
This is a look at how my monthly overview looked in August. With so much extra time I wrote everything in all cute and colorful and while I would like to say they all look this way, current months are still colorful but are just written in my normal handwriting!
Keep your computer files and images organized.
Maybe this is just me but my desktop becomes blog central when working on a post. Everything I am doing is saved to my desktop until it gets put into a draft of a post. Once it is up and rolling then the images make their way to my blogging image file keeping my screen tidy and chaos free. I am not sure if anything is quite as annoying as losing a graphic that you have worked super hard on and by saving it to your desktop that no longer becomes an issue. This also encourages me to get started on those posts so the graphics don't linger and clutter my desktop screen space. If you have word documents specifically for posts, emails, or anything else blogging related be sure to consolidate it into one large blogging folder to save yourself some time later on down the road.
The only chunk of what I do that I haven't really covered is my email inbox because honestly, I am still trying to figure that one out. I am good about starring emails that I need to get back to but sometimes school and life gets in the way and those emails linger for more time (usually an embarrassing amount more) than they should. I am excellent at checking my emails but responding is a whole other story, I'll blame it on my phone's gmail app and my reluctance to reply to any mail messages on it!
Please feel free to share any (and ALL) of your wisdom with me seeing as I am still trying to find a balance with the whole process and especially email!