Having 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.