Does the idea of creating an editorial or work calendar worry you a bit? Are you the kind of person who likes to “wing it” and you are afraid that being chained to a calendar, spreadsheet or other document will knock some of the enthusiasm out of you?
So how is this blogging/work thing working without a calendar? How do you feel when you face a blank computer screen, blank canvas or blank paper? Do you know what you need to be creating? Do you know what holidays or deadlines are approaching?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place to refer to so that you know what is on the horizon? So you can get down to work on what needs done while your creative brain is thinking over some new ideas or techniques in the background? Ideas and techniques you can try out as soon as the work is done.
Starting an editorial/work calendar can seem daunting at first but here is how you can easily get started.
1. Sit down with a calendar or blank sheet of paper.
2. For your editorial calendar create columns for the kinds of posts that you write. Recipes, tutorials, round-ups, etc.
3. For your work calendar create columns for the art/craft shows coming up, holidays, manufacturer deadlines or publisher deadlines.
4. Now, turn off the phone and clear all other distractions, set a timer for 15 minuets and under each column list all of the topics, ideas, post ideas you can think of.
5. When the timer goes off take a 10 minute break and then review your list and add ideas for another 15 minutes.
6. Keep in mind that this is a brainstorming session. There are no right or wrong ideas and try to keep any judgement out of the picture. Just create a list.
7. If you have more ideas to write when the timer goes off keep going.
8. Now it’s time to look at your list and think about your goals. If it is an editorial calender then how many blog posts do you think you need to write for the month? If it’s a work calendar and you’re looking at the next show date how many items do you want to take to the show with you?
9. Use this information to determine how to divide up the list you created. If you need 12 blog posts or 150 items to sell start writing on a calendar the dates you will post or the dates you will create.
Here is the tricky part. Now that you have ideas, you have an editorial/work calendar in place you need to discipline yourself to stick to the calendar you created and not revert back to “winging it”.
Promise yourself that you will stick with this plan for 30 days. If it doesn’t work out because you don’t want to write about some of the topics you came up with or you’ve set your production goal too high do your best to stick with your calendar until the 30 days is up, then you can re-evaluate and start with a fresh, clean calendar.
Creating an editorial or work calendar will help you narrow down the topics you want to write about and/or the product you want to create. Having the calendar will keep you on task so that when a fun opportunity falls into your lap you can take time away from your work because you are probably much farther ahead in your work than you were back when you were wining it. Having a calendar will also help you avoid that blank stare when you aren’t sure what to write or create next. You might also find you aren’t panicking about deadlines quite so often.
That alone might be worth any discomfort involved with creating your calendar, don’t you think?
Do you have an editorial or work calendar? Do you have any other tips for readers who are just getting started?
By: Vicki O’Dell, The Creative Goddess
You can find more of Vicki’s article right here on her profile page!