One not-so-secret blogging secret + a freebie

I had a question the other day about how I managed to blog for two years straight and what my secret was.

There’s no big secrets to it, really. Part of it was due to blog prompts and 52 week challenges; that kept me motivated. Part of it is due to commitment, and seeing my blog grow makes me want to keep it up. The last part is that I brainstorm a bunch of posts at one time.

See, once I’ve got one post done, I’m already in the writing groove. Why not do another? Depending on my schedule, I might even tackle a whole week’s worth of posts in one chunk of time. It’s more efficient for me to spend two hours writing five posts (or five post ideas) than it would if I tried to write a post a day, simply because sometimes it takes a while for an idea to come to me. But once one idea comes, others usually do, too.

So, I capitalize on it.

That means I get to blog every weekday without actually having to write every day. Though that usually happens anyway, as I’m jotting down ideas whenever they come or finessing a post (some days I’m writing all day long). It’s nice to have the idea part already thought up and decided.

But with my new challenge of monthly themes, I had to take it to another level.

I used to “organize” post ideas by simply saving them as drafts on my blog, but that wasn’t going to cut it for an entire month’s worth of posts. So, I made a blogging calendar for myself, printed off 12 copies for each month, put it in a binder with a thing of lined paper, and keep it right on top of my desk so I can’t ignore it.

In case you’re wondering, the lined paper is to catch those random post ideas whenever they come; then I work off that list and use it to fill in the blog calendar. And yep, I like writing it down ideas – something about a pen in hand helps the ideas flow (and saves my eyes from computer glare syndrome).

I’ve tried to use blogging calendars before, with minimal success. I think it had less to do with the blogging calendar itself and more to do with me not thinking big enough. I’d use it for a month and then forget about it the next. Or, I’d feel the need to go back and write down all the posts I’ve already done (not the best idea when it comes to generating new content).

I feel confident that now things will be different. I’ve already beaten my old record of using it for a month and forgetting about it because, friends, I’ve got post ideas written down all the way through May. I know, I’m shocked, too.

Want a copy for yourself? Click here, then Save As. I left off actual dates on the calendar portion so that it would be relevant no matter the year or month (I just write mine in), and there aren’t any weekends on it (since I don’t post on weekends).

Prefer a digital option? Try Google Calendar. It’s free if you’ve got a Google account (Gmail, Blogger, etc.), and you can make it private if you want.

What about you? Do you plan your posts ahead of time or go with the moment?



21 Responses to One not-so-secret blogging secret + a freebie

  1. great post!! starting a google calendar has changed the way i organize my blog posts. it allows me to see everything at once and keep some sort of consistency in my features. i don’t know why i went so long without one 🙂

    • Thanks Alycia! I tried Google Calendar, too, and it was really nice. The organized part of me loves seeing everything in neat little boxes, lol! Plus, it’s totally motivating for me to see ideas all written down – makes me want to jump in and write everything right now.

  2. Seriously, you have the best posts!! I was thinking about this the other day and thought you’d already showed us your template and was trying to find it and so I’m so thankful you’ve posted this!! I plan/write a couple of days ahead of time, but since I’m in great need of learning better time management skills this year – this is one of my first ‘orders of business’! I’m going to start w/just a week at a time though – not sure I could plan a whole month at a time yet! 😉
    Michelle Buettner recently posted A Little of This,…A Little of That!My Profile

  3. “I’d feel the need to go back and write down all the posts I’ve already done”
    I’ve done that too! And no it didn’t seem to help either.

    Thanks for the freebie, have saved that. Blogging calendars have never worked for me, however I’ve agreed to guest post on another blog each month, as keen and eager as I am about that I am worried that I won’t give it my best due to lack of organisation, or my own blog will be forgotten. Am keen to revisit a schdule.

    Today I am keen to work on a bunch of posts so I have the next month done (or underway). Glad to know it works for you. Thanks Brandi. I don’t always comment, but I’m always inspired by you when I visit. x
    Jeanie recently posted How to Create a Stylish Photo FrameMy Profile

    • Aww, thanks Mellisa – not everyone works well with a blogging calendar. I didn’t use one really up till now, but it’s helping me stay focused (and that’s so needed). Can’t argue with the results!

    • Nothing wrong with that, Cindy! I wish I could write spur of the moment, but it’s something that takes me a while to get in the mood for.

  4. This is great! Definitely going to be printing copies out (I love the “realness” of paper and pen, as well). I usually just write posts when they come to mind… but then, there could be long periods of time without posting, or ideas that come but never get written because I don’t schedule time to sit down and write! I really love this idea ad am excited to start brainstorming! Thanks for giving us the free download!