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Editorial Calendar vs. A Blogging Schedule

writing with an editorial calendarHaving an editorial calendar for my blog(s) has changed my life. It used to be that I blogged as the inspiration struck.  Lots of people do this, and on the surface of it, there’s nothing wrong with that. I had a schedule I tried to stick to, posting every Monday and Wednesday, or whatever, and at first, that worked just fine. Then, there was one day that I forgot (read: procrastinated) to write my blog post until the night before, so I was up late pounding something out. And maybe it wasn’t my best work ever, but it was a post, right? I was sticking to the schedule. Then came the day that I forgot (err… procrastinated) to write my blog post until the DAY it was supposed to go up! So there I am, Monday morning, trying desperately to come up with something to say while my daughter’s still running around in her pajamas, and I’m typing, and trying to answer her questions, and trying to come around to an actual point with the blog post, and trying to keep her from coloring on the walls, and no, you may not have “just one show,” well, OK, maybe just one show while mommy works, which turned into two or three shows, and WHEW! Got that sucker posted by noon. But it’s OK, because I stuck to my schedule, right? Then there was the week that I didn’t stick to my schedule, because life got in the way, or I wasn’t inspired, or I was just too busy with other stuff. And that week turned into two weeks… And then three weeks… And then it turned out that I’d only posted twice in the last month. Oops?

A schedule is not the same as a calendar

The difference between a schedule (like posting once a week, or posting every Monday and Wednesday) and a calendar is profound. With a calendar, your topic is pre-selected for you. You still have to schedule the time to write, but when you sit down to work, you don’t have to waste time wondering what you should be writing about. A client said to me this week,

I wonder if the detailed calendar is too much? It’s hard, because when you have nothing, you want to have a guideline to make you feel like you know what to do. However, if you are creative person—I can see how you could land on a website, like its content, and be inspired to create something new.

And she’s totally right. A creative person might balk at the constraints of having their calendar all planned out. But here’s the cool part: An editorial calendar is a living document. It’s not written in stone!  It changes as life moves you. If you sit down and feel inspired to write about something, go for it!  Even if it’s not what you’re “supposed” to be writing about according to your calendar.  You’re the boss: change the calendar! The nice thing is that you can still say to yourself, “This week was going to be a post about creating desire for my product—and I can still do that with this new topic!” Or you can say, “I’m not ready to launch that product yet, so I’ll write about this today instead of that.”

You’re in charge.  But the calendar is backup.

When you put in the effort up front to brainstorm those ideas, plan out your sales strategies, figure out why you’re blogging and to whom, you’ve always got that cushion for the days when inspiration is on vacation.

So tell me, how would having an editorial calendar change your blogging life? Leave a comment below and let me know. Photo Credit: fiddle oak via Compfight cc

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15 Responses to Editorial Calendar vs. A Blogging Schedule

  1. Great post! An editorial calendar has changed my life, too. I’m looking forward to your system coming out though, showing us all how to do editorial calendars the way you do!

  2. ooh… I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately! I’ve just started blogging and I created a massive editorial calendar with about 6 months worth of topics to write weekly! Then ironically, the first and only 2 blog posts have been on completely different topics because they just flowed naturally… so then I started erasing items out of my editorial calendar except for strategically placed ones and was getting all a bit confused about what I should be doing! So this post came to me at the perfect timing! I can keep my calendar and just adjust along the way (even if every single topic gets changed)… better to have back-up ideas in place ready to go! Thanks for the clarity! Nicola xxx

    • Yup! Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, as my mama would say. 😉 Which, translated from the original Texan, means you don’t have to ditch the whole system just because you make a change.

  3. Thanks so much for this post. I feel like I now have tools to get organized and create a framework without a super rigid plan. I like the flexibility you laid out with the editorial calendar because the truth is that I am inspired by events that are happening or a theme that I see happening with clients. It’s impossible to predict what might move you at the moment to write, but it is nice to have a running list of topics for inspiration, too.

  4. OMG Lacy. I've been avoiding having one since B-school because of the "don't mess with my creativity" reason. I'm always planning dishes/recipes and then changing my mind. But now I have to have one because I'm writing recipes for so many different groups/resources that I'm getting confused. I don't think I've ever really been convinced until just now. Thank you Lacy. Q: any particular calendar to use???

  5. Perfectly spoken and so timely. That happened to me recently..posting the same day, and getting flustered + feeling rushed. Having it all mapped out and ready to go before hand is much more enjoyable, and way less stress!!

  6. Lacy, this is so funny – I totally know what it is like when life gets in your way. Actually, my son DID color our walls while I was sitting in front of my laptop yesterday… I tried an editorial calender once and did not really like it. But your post is so inspiring, I'll give it another try! 🙂

  7. I so need to get back to this Lacy. I used one when I first launched my website and it was so reassuring to know that there was something to fall back on if inspiration didn't hit–now I find myself scrambling each week. You have inspired me to get back on track. Thank you!

  8. Well, my editorial PLAN is just in spreadsheet on Google Docs. But I've been playing with a WordPress plugin called CoSchedule, and I really like it so far!

  9. And I'm VERY sorry to hear about your walls! LOL! We got some of those GIANT sticky note pads, like they have in board meetings, and put one of those on the wall. So far so good! My daughter has kept her artwork contained. 😉

  10. Glad to hear it, Lorna! I'm going to be throwing a big planning party at the beginning of the year—maybe you'll join us!

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