I realized early on that the key to making blogging work for me and my schedule was to be really organized and plan ahead, so today I wanted to share my tips for creating and maintaining a blogging schedule.
Deciding how often to post and what to post
For me, posting 3-4 times per week is the sweet spot. It's enough to keep things interesting without committing myself to posting all the time. Capping my weekly posts to 3 or 4 allows me to stretch my existing cache of discussion ideas and book reviews. Also, I don't do a lot of time-sensitive posts, like weekly updates, so they can be scheduled for any time.
My blog posts tend to fall into one of just a few categories:
- Book reviews
- Weekly features hosted by other bloggers, like Waiting on Wednesday or Top Ten Tuesday
- Discussions and features I've created
- Outdoor-related posts (like talking about the different hikes we go on)
Drafting more posts in less time
Some types of posts can be done in advance and quickly. For instance, take Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases. It's easy to keep a list of upcoming releases and their publication dates. The posts themselves don't take very long to put together, so I can often do a month's worth of WoW posts in just a few minutes. It's the same for Top Ten Tuesday - the ladies at The Broke and The Bookish often helpfully publish the topics several weeks in advance. I can decide which ones I want to take part in and put together my posts. This saves me time since I can do everything at once and just block out a half-hour or so. Since I know these posts are happening almost every week, I can then plan everything else around them.
Putting together a schedule
Remember when I posted about my low-tech blogging tools? Here's where my printed monthly calendars come in handy.
I take a look at the posts I want to do and see where they will fit in. I try to make sure the different types of posts are evenly distributed and all posts are spaced out somewhat equally (about every other day or so). Not blogging everyday means that some posts will be scheduled for weeks away, sometimes even more than a month, from when I originally work on them, but this helps me maintain a steady stream of posts. I worry a lot about running out of material.
So, maybe the book reviews aren't the freshest, but I don't think that's a huge deal. For me, it's more important to have things planned out and ready to go just in case something happens and either I'm not able to work on the blog or a slump hits and I'm just not into it. It also gives me time to work on things without stressing that I need to post something immediately; I'm not one of those people that does well at the last minute! The ability to pre-schedule my posts is one of the best tools I've come across.
This is what has been working for me since I started blogging, but I'd also like to hear from you and how you plan out your posts!