DISCUSSION: How Amanda Got Me Organized (AKA The “Scheduling Your Blog” Post)

Since we’re entering a new year, and because I had some blogging friends ask me how I stay organized for the blog, I thought it would be a good time to post a discussion on blog post scheduling. But I can’t write anything without giving credit to a certain blogger who showed me the way to organization. Without a question, Amanda from On a Book Bender is one of the most organized people I know. When it comes to organizing your blog and scheduling posts, she is my role model.

Of course, BEFORE I found out Amanda’s tried and true method of easy blog post organization, I did have a bit of a schedule of my own that included a little bit of this:

And a WHOLE headache! The problem with scheduling this way, using my Entourage calendar, was that I didn’t have it right in front of me to look at. I needed something tangible, something that sat right next to the laptop that I could look at whenever I sat down at the computer with some free time.

But this would take time.

Eventually, I started up some Word documents for some events I was hosting (like my Four Weeks of Bookish Things event, or my one year blogiversary month posts) and this worked fine, but I still found that I moved things around a lot — which meant fussing in the document and in WordPress with my already-scheduled posts — and didn’t really know what I wanted where.

Then Bloggiesta happened and Amanda opened my eyes to a whole new way of organizing posts.

The good ol’ fashioned way with a pen and a piece of paper.

But before I could even think about taking out my pens and papers and getting myself organized, I had to ensure I had a blog schedule that worked and made sense.

My blog schedule isn’t something you see right when you come to the blog. It’s kind of hidden away in my ‘About the Blog’ section, but it looks something like this:

Monday — Review / Cover Love

Tuesday — Review

Wednesday — Review / Open

Thursday — Review / Discussion / Open

Friday — Book Hoarders Selection

Saturday — Musical Saturday / Review / Open

Sunday — Clock Rewinders (Previously Sunday Reads & IMM)

It was easy to make up a blog schedule, but it was kind of hard to stick to. Aside from knowing that Thursdays would be days for discussions, Mondays would be days for covers, and Saturdays would be days for bookish songs, I still didn’t have any rhyme or reason to my posting. Cover Love posts would happen occasionally, discussions would happen every week (or sometimes once a month), and reviews were either sparse or plentiful. Some weeks I’d be posting like a madwoman! My schedule looked fine from the outside, but it lacked consistency.

The problem was that after a few months of events and spending lots of time on the computer, I needed a different system. Something easier that I could look at and know EXACTLY what I needed to do for a given month. I came across THIS POST by Amanda for Bloggiesta and my blogging life changed. For the win.

Here are what my post organization system look like now (as compared to the previous mess of a calendar):

Using Amanda’s system of post organization, this is how I organized my posts from last October when I was scheduling posts for the last two months of the year. Knowing that I wanted to keep some days open for guest posts, excess reviews, a Musical Saturday, or ANYTHING, I left a few days open each week. Whereas I had been posting every single day each week for months — sometimes MORE than once a day — I knew that for the sake of my sanity, I needed to slow down and post like a regular person, but that my posting needed consistency.

If you can look closely at the dates, you’ll see that every OTHER week I post a discussion, and on the weeks when there isn’t a discussion, I post a Cover Love. Book Hoarder’s Selection happens once a week (since getting the books I own read is a priority) and then there are about 8-10 spots for reviews each month (as a sidenote, I’ve made the decision to NOT post Cover Love posts all the time, and I’ve added a Library Reading feature bi-weekly, as well as changed my Book Hoarder’s posts to bi-weekly — THINGS CHANGE!). That might seem like a small amount of reviews, but like I said: life happens. Sometimes I’ll have weeks where I can barely get through a few books, so setting my reviews at a decent amount helps. As does keeping some days open. If I have lots of reviews, there are days I can post them.

The best thing about scheduling and organizing my posts using this system is that I can look at it and see exactly what I need and when I need it (which is one of the key notes in Amanda’s post). If I have all my reviews scheduled for a few months, I could take a breather and maybe read some books I don’t plan on posting on the blog, or maybe take a few days off from reading and hang out with the husband or catch up on some TV shows. Knowing that I have a plan makes ALL the difference and I’m not sure I could go back to doing it any other way.

Finally, here are some last tips that I can think to give to you to make your blogging life easier:

  1. Get a journal or a notebook. Keep track of any ideas you might have for features, discussions, events, etc.
  2. Keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate things or your brain might turn to mush.
  3. If it gets to be too much, take a break.
  4. It’s YOUR blog, so be yourself. Don’t think that because I do it one way or because another blogger does it another way that that’s the way it should be done. We are ALL different and our blogs should show that uniqueness.
  5. If you’re not sure of how to do things, don’t be afraid to ask another blogger. We’re here to help!
  6. Try out a way of scheduling posts, but be sure to review it after a few months. Ask yourself if you’re still keeping things fresh, if your features are working, and if you should add or change anything.
  7. Remember that you can always change things. A schedule isn’t written in stone.
  8. Have fun. Don’t get too caught up with being so organized that you forget to enjoy the books you’re reading, as well as the blogging community.

How do you stay on top of organizing for the blog? Do you schedule posts? Do you have any tips and tricks to help bloggers stay on track?

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45 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: How Amanda Got Me Organized (AKA The “Scheduling Your Blog” Post)

  1. Great post! I never really felt the need to organize a bunch of posts because I never had a bunch of posts! But if a time comes that I do need to schedule a bunch of stuff, I’ll come back to this post. I did start a trend without noticing by having at least one post every other day. So it’s kind of like a schedule. Good for you for keeping up with all your posts and getting organized! Once again, and awesome discussion post! 🙂

    • I had a time last year where all of a sudden I had a HUGE amount of reviews and decided I finally needed to have a blog schedule. It always feels great to get organized!

  2. This is such an awesome post! Even after blogging for over a year…I’m still a little over the place. I need to get organised and to get into some sort of pattern and schedule that works for ME and I hope 2013 will be the year I finally get some sort of rhythm down. Thanks for this and I’ll be sure to swing by Amanda’s!

    • I wish you luck with finding a pattern and schedule! The first thing I did — before I even adopted Amanda’s system — was figure out what I wanted to happen on each day on my blog. Not that those things had to happen EACH week, but I liked to know that Mondays were for Cover Love, Thursdays were for Discussions, Fridays were for Book Hoarders. Then, I could mark that a day would be open if nothing happened on it, OR maybe a review could go there, OR a guest post/interview. It’s nice to know what days I plan for what. And yes! Be sure to check out Amanda’s post! It’s very helpful. 🙂

  3. I love that pen & paper is the solution here! I normally don’t follow a certain schedule – I post review within a couple days of finishing the book, and I do memes and events as they come, maybe scheduling a couple days in advance if I need to. I DO have a calendar now to just use for blogging, to keep track of readathons, readalongs, and meme posts. If my blog gets any better, I’ll probably have to revisit this post 🙂

    • I used to do that when I first started my blog waaaay back in 2009, but I found that I was so sporadic with my posting that there could be weeks where I had no content. Scheduling helps keep me organized, ensuring that I have posts going up each week. It also keeps my stress level down!

  4. Interesting! I love hearing how other people organize things. I have a paper calendar that I just use to schedule posts. That way I can see right away where the empty spots in my schedule are. First I write in all my set posts, like my Hot Off the Presses post every Tuesday and my wrap up posts on Sunday. Then I start to fill in reviews around those. I use pencil for that because I inevitably have to change things around based on my mood or real life stuff.
    I also keep a master list in MS Word of all my review books, organized chronologically by release date. When I’ve finished the book and written the review, I delete it from the list. That way nothing falls through the cracks.

    • I keep my master list of review books in Goodreads … I find it’s the best way for me to see where my number is at! And I keep my review books piled in order of release date, but some of them are older, already-finished books, so they’re not HUGE priorities, whereas the ARCs are. It’s hard to keep track of them, but I’m glad nothing has fallen through the cracks yet!

  5. I like this post! It certainly does share some great tips for organizing and scheduling blog posts. One of my goals this year to continue being organized when it comes to the blog, especially when it comes to scheduling posts! I’m a bit behind today, but hopefully, by tomorrow, I’ll have caught up a bit. Thanks for sharing!

    • I found when I first started, I was organized, but not as much as I could be. I found that I spent a LOT of time on blogging things when I could’ve been reading! I like that I can do it this way and see exactly what I need for each month, right down to how many reviews I need in the year. It’s so helpful! I hope your goal of organization can be accomplished!

  6. I have a nice, old fashioned paper calendar (I got it free from my vet clinic, so it’s covered in pictures of cute kitties). From there, I write in all scheduled posts (blog tours, upcoming reviews, etc.). I also write in my memes (WoW and Megan Likes (New) Books). Then I fill in the blanks with other reviews, discussions, etc. When I’m actually on top of things, I’ll check off the corner of a day once the post is complete and scheduled, so I know what’s left to do that month. So far it has been working well!

  7. I remember seeing this when I was at your place, such a good idea. I was all about the pen and paper organisation until I got all Apple products. Now I find it really convenient that anything in my Calendar on any of my devices syncs to the other devices so when I’m out I can schedule something on my phone and it automatically goes to my comp and ipad.

    On another note, I see that you are reading The Vincent Boys, I couldn’t finish that one so I am excited to see how you fare with it!

    • That is great — I love how Apple products sync to one another! I’ve always been a visual person, so I like to SEE my progress for things right in front of me while I’m typing.

      I finished The Vincent Boys! I actually really liked it, but the grammar and punctuation drove me nuts the whole way through. Did you have the e-book or the physical book? I’m curious if the mistakes were fixed when the publisher picked it up. Sorry you couldn’t get through it!

  8. Awesome post, Kristilyn! Funny, I was gravitating a lot more toward your calendar approach until you explained why the hand-written approach works better for you. I’m still trying to decide which method I’ll try first. 😉

    It’s been a little bit of a struggle for me, as a new book blogger. I don’t have a ton of time for reading, so at most I’m able to post one review a week. But most of the time I find it difficult to write reviews, so I don’t even write one for every single book I read. So… what’s my blog content? I’m getting there. I’ve been trying to keep up with a couple of memes (just to keep myself blogging), but I do like to post more original content when I have the time.

    Thanks for the motivation! 😀

    • It’s always a trial and error thing. I used my Calendar for a LONG time before realizing it wasn’t the way for me. I was always someone who loved pretty stationary and coloured pens, so paper and pen really made sense.

      Being a new book blogger, I can see how something like this won’t work just yet — but you could still schedule reviews for certain days, if you wanted. At least until you decided on what kind of content you wanted on your blog. But even if you don’t have original content and participate in memes, I find this system really helps. I like to spend a day once in a while working on original things, like discussions, or cover posts, etc. Or, even getting an author in for an interview or for a guest post. Even other bloggers might be up for a guest post!

      I hope this helps!

  9. Organization is the hardest part of blogging for me. I have tried SO MANY different ways, and none of them ever stick completely. I’m hoping I’ve finally found one that’ll work – this past week has been a MEGA blog organizing week so far. My problem is I’ll spend a week organizing and getting ahead, and then I feel like “Oh I’m set for a while, I’ll take a break!” Next thing I know, it’s a few weeks later, I’m out of those posts I was ahead on, and still haven’t managed to write any more. OOPS! lol But hey, brownie points for trying, right?

    • I find having a schedule of what happens each day on the blog really helps. Without having that, I don’t think I could’ve adopted Amanda’s system. Also, reminding myself that I don’t HAVE to have something every day helps, too. This way I can leave certain days open. If I want to fill them, that’s fine, but I’m also okay with leaving them empty.

      • Yeah, I think that’s the only reason I’m so far ahead right now lol. The schedule part made sense – I’ve talked to Amanda about it countless times! I just never felt like I could stick to it, because I would forget to post, or get lazy and not write up the post in time or something. That’s what I’m trying to combat now – having posts written up SO FAR ahead of time that I have no choice but to follow the schedule lol.

      • I think that’s why I like seeing it right in front of me … seeing things crossed off gets me more motivated! I hope you can stick to your plan right now … it does feel really nice to get posts scheduled!

  10. I remember seeing that post; I can see how it would be helpful, but I hesitate to make more things physical rather than digital. Knowing me the computer desk would end up covered in post it notes!

    I don’t have a strict schedule I stick to, but when I’m planning ahead a bit I just make scheduled posts in Blogger. Also, each month I schedule the monthly wrap-up post for the last day of the month, and I fill it in throughout the month, and I set up the next month’s Random Read post for the first of the month. Those are my only strictly scheduled things.

    I tried using my Google Calendar for a bit, and I agree, it’s not nearly in-your-face enough!

    • While I love my computer, I like having physical things to look at. It’s too easy to have something buried on my computer for me, while having a notebook with my schedule right next to it stares at me every time I sit down to work.

      I like getting ahead with scheduling posts. It’s a good feeling to know you’re ahead!

  11. Awesome post! I know I’ve been pretty silent lately but life has been pretty busy with the holidays and new jobs. I have dropped quite a bit on Owl Read it as well, we’ve tried to get down to one post a day, with three of us, it can be a bit harder but mostly it just means we each only have one review a week..lol

    Maybe it will change again, maybe not, but we’re being flexible about it! We’ll see how it’s working in a few months. I can say it’s nice to not review everything I read though!

    • Life is tough. Things happen! But I’m glad that we can realize that life comes first. You’re lucky that you have Kristal and Meghan — that must relieve a lot of stress with the blog. 🙂 It’s nice to be flexible!

  12. I do think Amanda’s system rocks. It is SO simple and easy to follow. I tried it, but I had to revert back to a paper calendar. It just works best for me. I can make a little binder and be a nerd. 😉

  13. I was traveling during Bloggiesta, but stalked the challenges afterwards and did a bunch of reorganizing thanks to Amanda and another blogger. I was previously stressed, but now I print out a monthly calendar and write on that. It’s a million times easier!

  14. Pingback: Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (18) | Reading In Winter

  15. I love this idea of organization. I got a new calendar that fits on my desk so I’m going to give this a shot. With boutofbooks starting tomorrow I know that I need to get organized soon.
    I hope that it works out well for you.

  16. Pingback: Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge [84] | On a Book Bender

  17. Pingback: Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (26) | Reading In Winter

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