The View From Here: Tips, Tricks, Techniques
We got some much-needed rain over the weekend, and it hasn’t been too hot lately. I’m enjoying this “mild” summer and looking forward to fall, too. Shayla and I are nearing the end of our blog collaboration, but the plan is to pick it up again in a few months, once things settle down for her. If you have any questions you’d like us to tackle, feel free to ask!
Today’s question is: What Tips, Tricks, or Techniques Have Improved Your Blogging?
If you’re a blogger, you’ve probably heard of an editorial calendar. It’s a tool used to plan and schedule your blog posts, and most bloggers find it invaluable. I don’t use an actual plug-in for scheduling posts, like a lot of my friends do, but I do plan out my posts weekly in my trusty notebook. Since my first job is taking care of my family, and I’m now trying to start a little editing business on the side, I really have to budget my blogging time. Knowing what I’m planning to write about each week helps me stay focused on the actual writing part, so I don’t spend too much time searching for and stressing about topics.
I keep a notebook by my computer, and I always have a list of topics jotted down. I make two columns, one for the week’s posts, and one for future post ideas, as well as any other blog business I need to work on. I think this habit stems from my teaching days, when I planned my lessons on a weekly and monthly basis, so it’s a great tool that I’ve carried over into the blogging world. I also keep a list of questions for this collaboration, as well as events I’m attending in real life or online. It’s basically my homemade planner, and one page can last about two weeks. Also, I only use it for blog-related stuff, so things like doctor’s appointments and the boys’ schedules go somewhere else. This is my “work” planner only.
At the end of the two-week period, or as the page fills up, I start a new page with the same columns, and carry any unfinished business over. It’s fun to look back at previous pages to see what I was writing or thinking about in the past, and I find it inspirational, too. It’s not very high-tech, but it works for me.
Another trick I often use involves my blog photos. Once I take photos, I transfer them from my camera’s photo card to my computer as soon as I can, so they are fresh in my mind. I select the pictures I want to use and leave them on my desktop until I upload them to my blog and write the accompanying post. Once I’ve done that, I move the photographs to a storage folder and my desktop is clear. This really helps me to see, visually, how many posts I have in mind to write, and how much work I have to do. If I have post ideas, but no pictures on my desktop, it means I need to get to work. Sort of a visual way to clear out my To Do List, I guess.
I’ve found that these little tricks, which came about naturally, really help me stay focused on writing each week. I never have to scramble for ideas, and since I prefer to post five times a week, it helps to be prepared. Do you have any blogging tricks that work for you? I’d love to hear! And be sure to read Shayla’s answer, too, since, as a reporter, she is literally writing all the time!