All the great bloggers I’ve seen say that the number one key to balancing your job, your blog, and your business is learning to say “no.” For me, that is easier said than done.
Looking from the outside, you’d think working part-time would fit perfectly into my current schedule. We don’t have children (human, that is), and there are tons of mommy bloggers out there. The crux of my life spins around the fact that my brain is literally falling into my spinal column. As you’d imagine, that comes with pretty awful symptoms and lots of medications to help stave off as much of the pain as possible. Being sick is like hitting everything at 60%; I never have 100% to give to anything, because I don’t start out at everyone else’s block.
“You can still say no, Tiffany.” Yea, tell that to the Universe. Most YA Librarians are full time. I’m not. Yet, my one-person department must put out as much as any other. So I constantly bring work home (write me up!), and say “Sure, I can fit that into my schedule!” as I erase sleep from my weekend. It’s the way it goes. It’s not going to change and I’m not willing to have something put in my professional file about “special requests.”
My illness is the number one reason I’ve never really started my business. I’m still on the fence, but I am reading more and more success stories from Etsy sellers, and the little positive voice in my head keeps telling me to give it a shot. There is absolutely no way I can do all of this and still use the calendar system I’ve got. So I asked Pinterest to help!
I gathered some great posts from other bloggers that I’ve found incredibly useful in creating my own system to stay on top of my blogging schedule, and to help streamline my posts. I highly encourage everyone to mix and match different calendars; I need one space to write down blog ideas, rather than writing sticky notes that I lose instantly. My calendar now has a great big white space where I can jot ideas down for later in the month.
Find tips for choosing the perfect calendar and my free worksheet after the cut!
First – This calendar is not God. If you miss a day, you miss a day. Don’t stress over it (I say, as Husband snickers in the background). I’m still workin’ on this one, too, but if blogging becomes a task to get through rather than something you enjoy, then you will burn out. Take it from me.
Tip Number One: Start small. Some calendars look like they need a codex to decipher it. Look at what you are currently planning/writing. Do you know the title, description, and when you’d like to post? Meagan Martin has a wonderful team behind her, but one thing I love about her editorial calendar is how streamlined it is. Only the information she needs is included.
Tip Number Two: Don’t include information you don’t need. My boss has repeated this to me so many times I actually hear it in her voice (thank you, Robin!). I have a tendency to have “good” ideas, like, 20 times a day. I’ll think “Oh, this is a great blog post idea!” and ten minutes later come up with something that trumps my previous idea. Heads up, this complicates things by a factor of a billion. Don’t do it. Commit to one thing. One way to do this is think about themes, like Jill Swensen over at Being Spiffy. She uses holidays and national days (like National Doughnut Day!) to create content, which is something I’m absolutely copying. That way, if I have ten great ideas for Doughnut Day (which I do, by the way, just saying), I’ll post them and a DIY or freebie. This one tip helps me decide when I’m going to create a tutorial and when I’ll link free things. Do it.
*Spoonies, I’ve found creating alternative ideas is also helpful. If I’m not feeling up to writing as much, I might create a tutorial that is more photos than description. It’s so much easier to fall off the wagon if you’re body is fighting against you.
Tip Number Three: Everyone needs to gather a bit of data. Either you’re interested in building a stronger following on Twitter, curious about tags, or looking for the best time to post. The right editorial calendar will include a space for the data you want. Personally, I’m working towards a more robust social media presence, so that means producing site-friendly graphics and customizing how sites share my posts. Producing shareable content takes a bit of time, so I even have a space for image ideas (i.e. today’s with pink and plus marks – it’s in my notes!)
Tip Number Four: Target your target. I write for myself, for librarians, for crafters, and for people living with chronic illness. However, if I wrote for a librarian crafter who has a chronic illness, my posts would matter to only me. Each post has it’s own audience, which is something I have struggled with. Writing about work seems like more work, so I hardly write for librarians…but that’s changing! Maybe including your target audience for each post is something you need on your calendar (it’s on mine!).
Now that you have a bit of an idea about the questions you need to be asking yourself, download my worksheet which is incredibly simple! You can find more ideas on my Better Blogging Pinterest board!
Are you tracking your habits everyday? I did pretty well yesterday, but need to drink more water today! Tips?
We’re halfway through the week! Happy HumpDay!