This post was due some time ago, and the irony that Part 4 of the 10 Stage Guide to Blogging is all about scheduling is not lost on me. You see, there are times in your life when things inevitably go wrong, and even the best organised of us fall foul of ‘the curse of Real Life.’ It is that moment when you’re simply too busy to plan or write the content you need, and your blog becomes a cultural and content wasteland.
For me its been a curious mix of reality and a change in personal focus that’s caused the issues, but I’m addressing them by scheduling this post back in time to where it should be in the chronology: that means this post was written on May 8th, but gets published back on April 28th to remain in the continuity. You see, unless you publicise every post on the day, many people will come to your work long after the fact, and for them it doesn’t really matter that stuff is not in order, rather that you finished the Guide in the first place. This is the real beauty of organisation: nobody is telling you there needs to be content daily but if you want that, it is perfectly possible using scheduling and just one evening a week.
The key to cracking this process is, for me, twofold. First off, you need to make the time. That means a couple of hours tonight to catch up, and tomorrow having provisioned the morning to write three posts and then schedule them for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. That expects you to be able to bring the goods as well: for me, scheduling to do all of one kind of post is the best way. I’m now writing five days of poetry (haiku and micro versions) in one block and scheduling that to Twitter, for instance, and knowing you have a target to hit allows my brain to expand to ‘fit’ the target time available.
Then you have to decide how often you want to post and how that happens. Both Blogger and WordPress have the scheduling function: just make sure the blog is set to your current timezone before you start. Twitter allows you to schedule posts using Tweetdeck too, outside of the remit of the first post, if you want to sell a particular post over an entire day. However, if you want total control a programme like Hootsuite (which works on your phone and tablet too) gives you a lot more flexibility. I pay $10 a month for this, and it’s some of the best cash I’ve spent to get everything working when I need to be doing other stuff.
What scheduling gives a blogger is the ability to extend beyond the moment, if they choose to do so. Then it is about making the time, doing back end work, and being prepared to stick in the hours. With a couple of focussed bursts, you can transform a couple of evening’s work look like a weeks, or in my case balance work and pleasure and write about them both.
The biggest single obstacle to getting this whole thing to work is time. I have an A5 Moleskine that runs from July 16 to February 17 before the pages simply got too small for everything and I had to go up a size. Before that I filled a year and a bit with notes and plans. I’m still not good at this, but every day it improves, which is the best I can hope for. Eventually, perhaps I’ll have people writing for me… who knows, but I’ll still use this system to plan my life because it’s more tangible than an online equivalent and it means I still write everyday in longhand.
In summary therefore, it really doesn’t matter what you write. What matters more:
- You write something at least once a week to begin with
- If you can do one post in an evening, try two a week, and then three… and so on
- If you can write more than one post in a night, great, but DON’T POST THEM ALL AT ONCE. Learn to use the time you have effectively. Three posts in a night is a week’s worth of blogging (Mon, Wed, Sat)
- You do this every week for a month, or you write three times a week, or every day at 8am… and you establish a routine that works. Once you have a routine, it will be easier
- Learn to plan posts beforehand
- Learn how to go back and fill in gaps using scheduling too
- JUST LEARN, AT YOUR OWN PACE
The key this week is to just write, and use your time in the most effective way possible. I’m not going to tell you what to write, quite obviously, but next week’s post (or in my case the one I’ll write straight after this and send back to the past) will remind you that when you do write, there are some things you ought to consider when doing so. Amazingly, in the Wild West of Social media, there are some responsibilities that come with blogging: ignore them at your peril because if you want to be a success, you will have a day when your words return to eat you alive.
For now though, start that weekly process of routine. It will be utterly worth it.