B is for…. Blogging #atozchallenge

I have decided to put the third part of my blogging journal how to as part of my a to z blogging challenge.

How to: Organise your blogging (#3 list your blogging goals)

I started this year with aspirations of really overhauling my blogs. That didn’t quite going to plan and later lead to this “revival through a to z challenge”, but this was more due to my long working hours and an addiction to lovefilm rather than an error in the method.

I started by writing my goals for the year in the cover of my blogging journal. A neat concise list. Right there when you open your journal so they can’t be ignored. They keep you on track. This is what you need to do: Clearly list your goals and targets and keep them within easy reach. First blank page of the moleskine monthly journal worked well for me.

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Why do it?

Well the targets and goals should give your blogging more of a focus and challenge you as well as help keep you more organised. It will help you work out what you want to do with your blog, where you want to go and what you want to get out of blogging and your goals will reflect this.

For example: a couple of my goals were to write a post a day and do more guest posts. I’ve been back at the blog only a couple of weeks and I am well on my way.

So It is not to late to think about how you want to revive your blog. Write down some goals today.

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How to: Organise your Blogging (#2: The Posting Schedule)

As I have previously mentioned I keep a blog journal to keep organised. For the second part of this How To Series I want to take a look at how creating a posting schedule can keep your blogging organised. The blog posts are the most vital part of your blog, without them you are not saying much.

With the Blogging from A-Z Challenge coming up in April I thought it was the perfect opportunity to show my readers how the moleskine monthly can help organise your blogging posting schedule.

As you can see from the pictures above the moleskine monthly sets out on a two page spread the month of April. In each box I have written in the corner the letter of the alphabet allocated to that day in accordance with the challenge schedule. Then in each box I have also written what I hope to write about each day (I’m still brainstorming).

The schedule allows me to see what I need to post when and about what. This is why a notebook like this is great for focused challenges like this one, although it is also perfect for organising the rest of your blog postings during an ordinary month (and beyond).

Take a look at my second example below:

The blogging journal helps me spread out my posts evenly, reminds me of any deadlines for contests or challenges and keeps track of my two blogs and any articles/guest posts that I am writing. If you have a busy writing life – this helps. I also find that it helps inspire you and shows you whether you are being to focused or vague in any particular month. It can help analyse your writing habits – e.g. Do I prefer to write reviews, share wishlist items, or share practical advice. If however, you tend to have regular postings on particular topics such as a weekly interview, or podcast you can plan for the months ahead and find those posts where you still need material. In advance. So you don’t have a last-minute panic.

How you actually organise you posting schedule will depend on the format you use with your blog – but the key points are – get your ideas on paper, book in your regular slots, post regularly and evenly and never miss a deadline again.

Finally Found: Moleskine Monthly Planner

Last year I bought a monthly planner for organising my blogging. Unfortunately shortly after I got distracted and stopped blogging regularly. My new years resolution for 2012 was to get back into blogging so I had been looking high and low for a new monthly planner recently… Without much success until now.

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This is my new monthly planner – soft cover and slightly bigger than last time (and more expensive at £16.99). The size is 19x25cm (bigger than a5 but not quite a4) which is slightly irritating. It is a little large to carry around, so it will end up being more of a “desk diary” which isn’t all bad, but I prefer my desk diaries to have hard covers… but I am unbelievably fussy and you can’t win them all. It is a nice notebook and the only actual disappointment is that the paper is a little thin even with biro (but this was the same as last years planner and I forgave this as it kept me organised).

Now that I have got back to it (“it” being the blogging) I hope to finish off my “blogging journal” series over the next few weeks. So until then catch up with the first part of the series if you haven’t already done so.

How to: Organise your Blogging (#1: the Journal)

After the interest in my “Goal Journal” Series. This month I decided to start a new “Blog Journal” Series to match.

To help organise your blogging routine I bring you the “Blogging Journal”. As usual the first step for starting a journal of any kind is finding the right notebook. Here I have decided on a Moleskine Monthly Planner.

Why use a notebook at all?

I used to use the fantastic free planners from productive flourishing (great planners and great informative post suggesting the best method to use – well worth a read).

Unfortunately, I found that I wrote my ideas in what ever notebook I was using and the bits of paper would go everywhere. I used to simply keep planner for any given month folded up in the back of whatever diary I was using, but then I would find that inspiration that I never wrote about would be on the previous months planner which would be all tatty and messy by this stage (not to mention tea stained) and possibly discarded.

The solution I thought would be to have a notebook/planner specifically for blogging.All things related to blogging – all in one place.

Why a monthly Moleskine planner?

Once I decided that a notebook was the way forward (besides I am always looking for excuses for a new notebook) –  the next decision was which notebook?

Here I am going to recommend the choice I settled on (after much debate): the Monthly Moleskine Planner. I use an A5 notebook, but Moleskine have a range of monthly planners which could be more suited to your needs/portability issues.

The key use of my blogging journal was for post planning. I do blog on a whim, inspiration finds me and I write. But I am trying to beat the writer’s block, post more regularly and post at intervals (and not have an inspired manic posting week, then silence for a month). The monthly view was the obvious choice to help meet these goals. Rather than a simple monthly planner that just included the month view, the Moleskine has 2 ruled pages for notes in between each month – which had a lot of potential (but more about this in later posts).

It may seem a little late to pick up a 12 month planner, but many places still have them in stock at a reduced price. I got mine half price in Waterstones at the beginning of March (and they still have them in stock now).

Why do you need a blogging journal at all?

You might think that all sounds great (and that’s a nice looking notebook) but why bother? Well, Blogging in a more organised way cannot do you any harm. As I stated earlier I consider erratic posting unhelpful, and want to focus on a number of blogging goals. The blogging journal is a medium to keep track of the goals, my posts (particularly as I have a couple of blogs to keep track of) and to keep a “mind dump” of inspiration. I have found it much more productive to have this contained in my Blogging Journal than in my day book where it has usually ended up. As I would have to flag it on my day book review, but there was nowhere to transfer it to so it was more obvious. Now there is.

Still not convinced you need one? Well call back to see the next post in the series when I begin to show how the blogging journal is used.