Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blogging Calendar and Idea Notebook

Most, if not all, of my good ideas are borrowed or adapted from the good ideas of others.  Tristan from Our Busy Homeschool, posted back in June about Organizing and Binding a Planner.  I loved that post and when I read it, I had an epiphany - I can make different planners to meet my own unique needs and have them spiral bound!

My current planner system isn't working that well for me.  I have everything in one, gigantic planner.  The main problem that I have with my huge planner is that it is just too HUGE.  When I look at it, it makes me tired and it's heavy, really heavy.  I also don't like that I can't easily flip the pages over like I can in a spiral bound book and write on one side.  Simply put, I don't use my planner nearly as much as I need to because I find it cumbersome and inconvenient to use.   

To try to solve this problem, and hopefully use my planner a lot more, I'm in the process of breaking up my mega-planner into smaller, spiral bound planners.  The first planner I've made is a Blogging Calendar and Idea Book.  I'm very excited about this planner and hope that it will help me organize my blog posts and meet my blogging goals. 

To make the front cover, I used my very old Printmaster program to decorate the front cover.  I decided to use a four seasons theme for the front cover and when I look at it, it makes me happy.

After the front cover, I printed out two-page per month calendars from my TOS Schoolhouse Planner.  The 2010-2011 planner stops after June 2011 so this planner will need replaced in July, 2011.
After the two-page per month calendars, I printed 40 blank journal pages from my TOS Schoolhouse Planner as well.  The purpose of these pages is to give me a dedicated space to write down my blog post ideas.  Since I often don't write down my ideas, I find that I don't remember them.  Sometimes I feel like I have SO many things to blog about, and other times, I can't think of anything at all to share.  Hopefully, having a dedicated place to write down my ideas will help me when I sit down to write.  
So, now that I have my Blogging Calendar and Idea Notebook, how do I plan to use it?

My blogging life is a bit more complicated now than it was when I first started blogging in 2008.  I write monthly for Homeschool Classroom, Curriculum Choice, and I'm a member of TOS Review Crew.  I don't regularly participate in lots of link-ups and blog carnivals but I enjoy participating in the Weekly Wrap-Up and the Homeschool Showcase at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.  I also like participating in some of the TOS Blog Cruise question and answer posts.

So, starting with November, I first filled in the dates that articles written by me will be published on Homeschool Classroom and Curriculum Choice.  I also filled in the dates that my next articles are due to both of those websites.
Next, I added the dates that I have reviews due as part of my responsibilities as a member of the TOS Review Crew.
Then, I added my Week in Review posts to the November calendar.  I always post those on Fridays and link to the Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. 
  • Nov. 5 - Week in Review
  • Nov. 12 - Week in Review
  • Nov. 19 - Week in Review
  • Nov. 26 - Week in Review
Next, I added the dates for the TOS Blog Cruise topics that I am interested in writing about. 
  • Nov. 15 - TOS Blog Cruise - debunking homeschool myths
  • Nov. 29 - TOS Blog Cruise - extracurricular activities
The only other post that I know for sure I'll be writing is my Montly Books and Movies post which I'll post on November 30. 

Taking into consideration all of those dates, I am left with only 9 days left to fill with posts.  Ideally, I'd like to post at least once each day, Monday through Friday.  I think using my planner will help me to write posts ahead of time and schedule them.  Most importantly, it will me to get my vague thoughts and plans regarding my blog out of my head and onto paper! 

If you have any great tips for organizing posts and keeping track of blog post ideas on your own blogs, I'd love to hear them!


Tristan said...

Oh I am in love with this idea! I'm with you, blogging is a bit busier now than when I started, and a way to keep track and plan ahead some would be wonderful . . . I am probably stealing your idea soon! Thanks for posting about it.

Proverbs 22:6 Academy said...

Excellent idea. My blog(s) have fallen to the wayside because of lack of focus and time. This is an fabulous plan that I think I can easily implement into my own life. I also like that you'll now have a physical "archive" to refer to in the future instead of pawing through pages of post listings. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

sagerats said...

What a neat idea! I adore planners, but I no longer use physical paper anymore. Electronic gadgetry is so cool!

Samantha said...

Thank you for your comments!

Tristan - Of course you like the idea - I got it from you! Your post gave me the inspiration for smaller, coil-bound planners!

sagerats - I'm so old-fashioned! Perhaps someday I'll make the switch to electronic planners but, for know, I find something particularly comforting about old-fashioned paper. I'm sure a similar idea could be adapted for electronic use.

Proverbs 22:6 Academy - Thank you for your kind comment. I didn't think of your point that in creating a plan for posts, I'm also creating a record. I'm so glad you were inspired by the post.


Kris @ WUHS and Eclipsed said...

Great ideas! I started keeping my blog calendar on OneNote last year with some calendar templates I downloaded from the Microsoft website. It's been a lifesaver, especially where reviews are concerned.

Jimmie said...

I do blog planning too. I even set yearly goals for my online work. :-) I'm just that kind of person. It makes me happy to have a goal to work towards and then reach it.

You may want to read Simple Blogging by Rachel Meeks (it's in my sidebar at my blog). I found it very helpful for setting some boundaries, time management, focusing on goals, etc.

Jimmie said...

This post is featured at The Notebooking Fairy December Round-up.