#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion

What Tools Can Help Me Be An Organized Blogger? Blogging Calendars #NewBloggers 101 Part 5.1: Save Some Time And Don't Forget Your Commitments

So you might think this isn’t the best of times to talk about being an organized blogger when I’m borderline declaring a hiatus myself (blogging calendar? What is this, Evelina??) But I’ve been planning this post series for months, so I might as well share this with you now. Maybe some of it will be new, and some won’t, but I’m hoping that you’ll be able to walk away with at least one blog hack that’ll help you. I was planning for this to be a single post, but it would be incredibly long, so instead, I’ll be having separate parts!

Again, this is a post from the #NewBloggers 101 post series, mostly meant to go with our support group in order to help all those new book bloggers who have just started out! If you want to find all the other posts in the series, expand this list:

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2018 (16)
 

What Will We Be Covering In The Productivity Series?

 

Blogging efficiently is different to everyone, and I’m sure all of you have amazing blog hacks to share. Hanging out in our group, I have heard people be able to write up posts and deliver them in just 20 minutes, while some of us spend 3-4 hours on posts. I don’t think this list will help you reduce the time it takes to write the posts, but it might reduce the time it takes to schedule everything else. OR, it might increase the time (no!), but help you do and achieve more.

I’ll be dividing it into little bites on each aspect of writing a post:

  1. What Do I Even Write About And When? On not letting go good ideas, always remembering when a post is due, and knowing what you’ll be posting weeks in advance.
  2. Hacking The Actual Writing: how to make certain aspects of writing posts quicker
  3. Scheduling Your Content: why should you do it at all and how should you do it more efficiently
  4. Social Media Sharing: are you doing it, are you doing enough of it and are you saving time on doing it
  5. Replying And Reacting: how not to miss comments, or forget to comment back

This seems to be all, and anything you feel like we should have covered, but didn’t, we can cover in later parts of the series, if such need arises. Keep me informed in the comments!

What Do I Even Write About And When?

 

No, we’re not going to talk about inspiration. It’s important to have inspiration, but what’s more important is:

  • not losing your inspiration or idea because you’re doing the dishes or walking the dog
  • not losing track of your commitments: ARCs, interviews, blog tours, etc

Solution?

Blogging Schedule Calendar.

A lot of you already use this in the form of a bujo! And I’m very jealous of your beautiful bullet points (you know I am!), but due to having to constantly run around town with all my bags, computer and toiletries, I just can’t carry one around. I also don’t have the time to maintain a bujo (all those who know what I’m on about say aye!)

So I have a different solution!

Okay, so it’s not as pretty, but it’s damn efficient, and efficient is what we’re talking about today. I keep all my blogging plans in Google Sheets. Why?

  • easy to check at any time, wherever I am
  • access on the phone and on the computer
  • won’t lose track of upcoming releases

I’ve seen other people use Google Calendar for this, and that’s also a great idea! Doesn’t work for me personally, as my Google Calendar is full of work and life assignments, but whatever works for you!

Let’s have a peek at my blogging calendar.

blog calendar

This is November. Let’s imagine I haven’t posted those yet!

This is one month. Every month has its own sheet, so I can plan many months ahead. Which is why I won’t forget that October ARC that I downloaded this month, when the time comes. This is incredibly convenient, cause you can plan giveaways, interviews, blog tours and so much more – and you don’t have to remember ANYTHING. The sheet remembers for you. If you need to check it on the go, you open it on the phone.

As you can see, every day has a ‘slot’, which is comprised of a top box and a bottom box. The top box is for anything that’s happening outside of my blog – book releases, mostly. Also, if I’m doing a buddy read or an interview, I will note down that I have to send someone questions before a certain day in the top box. Looking at a month or two in advance and seeing what’s in the top boxes lets me know which ARCs I have to start reading as to not be lost next month (otherwise, an ARC deadline can just pounce on you!)

And the bottom box is fairly obvious – it’s a post for a certain date. That way, when I have more free time, I can schedule posts WEEKS in advance. The colors should be pretty self-explanatory too: green for posts already scheduled, yellow for ones I still have to finish writing, and red for the ones I haven’t written yet.

Now you might remember I mentioned having ideas while you’re doing dishes.

 

Blogging ideas are a fickle beast, and one must not let them go, once they come! You will regret it eventually, if you do that. I am also a strong believer in writing down notes as you read a book, because that way you can review them even 6 month later (#truestory, BTW.) But… As you might have already noticed, jotting them down in a notepad doesn’t always work. You don’t always have the notepad with you. Or even if you do, the notes manage to mysteriously get lost, vaporized or just disapparate at will. Which is why it’s important to capture them onto a media that you always have around you. And what would that be for the 21st century person?

Jackpot. It’s your phone. Now what are the pros of writing down notes on the phone instead of a glorious bujo or sticky notes?

  • it’s on your bedside table even in the middle of the night
  • I’ll be willing to bet it’s also there when you’re reading your book, otherwise you would not have those Twitter problems while reading your book
  • however, the biggest plus is that you won’t have to waste time rewriting things. The biggest time sink is rewriting the notes.

Sticky notes in books are fine, but you can’t copy paste them. And in case you’re already taking notes on your phone, but rewriting it into a post, PLEASE STOP. Just take notes into a Google Doc straight. Then open the doc on the computer and copy paste it into your post. Do you know how much time this saves? This is precisely why I advocate the use of Google Docs and google sheets instead of any phone note app – not having to retype paper notes or download files onto your computer saves OODLES OF TIME. (Yes, I just used that word.)

To sum it up: if you use a blogging calendar, you:

 

  • don’t have to constantly stress about “what to post next week”
  • in fact, you can give your readers a heads up on what you WILL be posting (I’ve been asked countless times why I always know what’s next on my blog!)
  • are aware of when your ARCs are released and post the reviews on the correct dates
  • are able to tweet your review AGAIN on the publishing day (+extra views!)
  • never forget blog tour dates anymore
  • never get lost in co-blogging and guest posting schedules
  • know how many posts you already have in the bag, and when to write more

Which means, you’re basically winning at blogging.

Next week, we will talk about how to speed up the actual writing of the post, and how (and why!) to schedule in advance! And if you have any questions regarding this topic, or would like something more to be covered in upcoming posts, mention it in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do. Further suggestions from experienced bloggers are also welcome! I will incorporate them in future posts with your name along with the suggestion.

Do you use any kind of calendar or time tracking tool for your post schedule? Do you think it would help you save time and be a more efficient blogger?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

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Paul Liadis
Guest

Good pointers here. Planning goes against anything my brain stands for 🙂 but I know it is also the best way to do things.

Jenn
Guest

What a great post! I use a paper planner that I keep by my side every day. I keep track of all my posts and the things that I need to do for the week in it. I used to create my own Google docs calendar but always seemed to forget to fill it in which obviously didn’t work for me. Definitely having a calendar and knowing what your posting does make life a lot less stressful.

Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy
Guest

I wish I could get used to using an online calendar, but I am so old school! I have a cheap notebook calendar and I just write my posts for the month on that. I can then cross them off when the post is scheduled. I never work on my blog anywhere but home so I don’t need access on my phone. Hey, it works for me!

Ann Marie
Guest

I use an e-calendar for everything in my personal life but I’ve found I’m better off with an old fashioned date book for blogging. I don’t use it to plan posts though. I add in pub dates (in the hopes that I will read the book and write the review before that date), blog tour dates, etc. And I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who can’t write a review in 20 minutes!

JJ @ This Dark Material
Guest
I started using a spreadsheet to organize my blog posts and it’s been a life saver! There are some posts I can’t really finish up until the day before, like weekly updates or State of the ARC, but it feels soooo gratifying to look ahead days or weeks and see green post titles 🙂 I also use a physical planner for personal life and work though, so I have a blank page at the back set aside for tracking ARC release dates over the entire year. I only update my spreadsheet a couple months ahead of time to keep myself… Read more »
Ellie @ Books at the End of the Alphabet
Guest

Your blogging calendar is so organised and lovely! And the colour coding – I love colour coding. As I start building up a backlog of ARCs to review, I keep thinking I might need a better calendar system to track things – thanks for some really good ideas on how to set one up!

DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)
Guest

So, I used to keep ALLL my blog stuff on my desktop in nice folders. Completed interviews; to-post interviews; waiting for response; a list of requested interviews and interviews I needed to write; and ALL MY TEMPLATES for different types of books (sci-fi, stand-alone, first in trilogy, horror, etc.) You know why I switched to Google Drive? Because my Laptop crashed, and wouldn’t turn back on, and I lost EVERYTHING… -_- … -_- … -_- … Lesson Learned.

Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum
Guest

It never ceases to amaze me how organized you are! 🙂

Shruti
Guest

This post just made me realise two things.

a. I’m not an efficient blogger.
b. I don’t do any form of scheduling, whatsoever.

I just write stuff whenever I feel like it. It’s fine, right? RIGHT?!

Jokes aside, another great post, Ev! (Can I call you that? Haha xD)

tea & tiffany
Guest

Amazing post!! A blogging calendar has honestly been what’s keeping my blog afloat since I’m back in school. I’ll definitely be incorporating more of your tips to plan more ahead (especially during exam season)

verushka
Guest

Excellent pointers, indeed. And I appreciate the love for a bujo and Google Calendars 🙂 I use my bujo for planning and general notes and bloggy thoughts, and my online calendar for my personal appointments during the week. It kind of works for me right now, so I am going with it.

Caro @ bookcheshirecat
Guest

I love this new productivity Series, because I love being organized I do have a blogging calendar as well, but not on Google docs (even though this sounds really convenient), but I usually make an excel spreadsheet and write down all the upcoming posts at the beginning of the month!

Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages
Guest

Nice post Evelina! I would say that I try hard to scedule my posts in advance but I always fail 😛 Time issues?
But yes, I agree the sheets can be really productive. But I am using Calendar plugin in WordPress to quickly draft and schedule a post.
I use Evernote to take all my notes and idea. It is really good option.. you can access it anywhere.
But for keeping the record of my ARCs I use Google sheets as well 🙂

I am excited to read next posts in the series.

Sophie @ Blame Chocolate
Guest

Awesome post, Evelina! I too use Google Sheets as my blogging calendar and it works wonders 🙂 Thanks for all the wonderful tips, you rock ❤️

Aimee (Aimee, Always)
Guest

I LOVE this, Evelina! And I’m so jealous of how organized your calendar looks. I used to use a bujo to track everything, but I realized that I’m way too lazy for that kind of thing (since I design every single bujo page, etc). When I got co-bloggers, I moved on to using the online calendar Teamup, and continued to use that even when I went back to solo-blogging. It’s not as pretty to look at as your custom Gsheets calendar, but it gets the job done for lazy people like me. XD

Aj @ Read All The Things!
Guest

Great post! You’re so organized! I’m not. I just have a notebook on my desk where I write stuff down so I don’t forget it.

Laura Thomas
Guest

I’m loving this blogging feature. And I found a few useful tips today. I use a desk calendar and also a spiral notebook to keep things organized. Also, you never fail to entertain with fun gifs!

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
Guest

I’ve been such a slacker when it comes to writing posts lately… I use the WP editorial calendar, and I have a spreadsheet with ARCs – the date I received the ARC, when it’ll be published, where I got it from, who the publisher is etc. Both of those definitely help me keep track of things.
I need to check out the google sheets thing, though, because you’re right, blog ideas sometimes come to me in the middle of the night.
Great post Evelina! <3

Amanda @Cover2CoverMom
Guest
I really need to get my blogging organization together. I have a paper planner that I use for my blog, but I really only use it to keep track of when I’ve posted and stats and such. I don’t really use it to plan for the future. I’ve seen all kinds of calendar ideas like this one and excel spreadsheets. I have an insane (40+ books) backlog of old NetGalley ARCs that I’ve been chipping away at. I think once I’ve cleared those out and I start requesting books like a responsible blogger, I will need to sit down and… Read more »
Sophie Eloy
Guest

Fantastic post!!! I use the Google calendar like you are using the sheet but I might give your idea a go except… does the sheet send you reminders? Because the Google Calendar does!
Now I note already all my ideas on my phone using the “notes” included in the phone. The same with writing my review while on the train or quotes from a book or.. and I can send it by email then copy/paste into my post
We do have pretty similar ways to work!

Lisa @TenaciousReader
Guest

I should get more organized, I used to plan more than I do now and its definitely helpful, but it can also create more pressure/stress if I fall behind.

Olivia Roach
Guest

I used to have a calendar but because I have been doing so much lately, I blog more when I can and less on schedule? I have a notebook with my blog posts I intend to have come up next, or review copy dates if there are deadlines I need to stick to. I check it often because it’s got all my deadlines (personal and uni ones) in one place, and it keeps me on track!

Vicky Who Reads
Guest

Oooh that’s cool & a great idea because bujos are a ton of work (I’ve tried)! I’m too lazy to even have a separate sheet for blogging so all I do is I schedule blank posts with the titles filled out at the end of each month for the next month and then just keep on top of things (i write all my posts on the weekend) so i never accidentally publish a blank/unfinished post (it has happened once, but it wasn’t too much of a disaster.)

Bea's Book Nook
Guest
Some good ideas in here, especially the note-taking. I find Google Calendar and my Kindle help me. I have two Google calendars; one for personal things and one for the blog. Sign up for a tour? Put the dates on the blog calendar. Accept/request a book for review? Schedule it on the calendar. How does my Kindle help? Well, I have multiple Currently Reading folders, organized by month and year. When I download a book to my Kindle, I stick it into the appropriate folder. Right now I have folders for Currently Reading Winter 2017/2018 to Currently Reading June 2018.… Read more »
Resh
Guest

Great points. I am old school with pen and paper but I know I will save tonnes of time if I go digital. I have seen blogging advices to use Google calender. Sheets is also a great idea. I should give it some thought. As for reviews, I write pros and cons in a Word doc. Then when I actually sit down to write it I just work around the skeleton and add some flesh here and there.

Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra
Guest

Lots of great tips here. I need to get better about using those notes apps in my phone or even in my tablet because I’m awful about jotting down ideas on random pieces of paper that are handy and then losing them before I actually write the posts.

Taiwo
Guest
Thank you Evelina for this post! It’s very very helpful. When I have ideas for a blog post, I usually make sure I write them down on my phone immediately. Once, I left the dishes I was washing to type an idea. I use my phone for EVERYTHING. I don’t use Google Sheets or Google Docs though. I use the Memo app on my phone to schedule not just my blog posts but my bookstagram posts. The problem is that I may have posts in mind but it gets difficult to actually write the posts. For example, at the beginning… Read more »
Taiwo
Guest

Avoid*

Sorry for the long comment!

Danielle
Guest

Does Google Calendar sync with the iPhone notifications? Cause my problem is not making the deadlines for my posts, but remembering when they are so I can be reminded. Is Google Calendar the same as iCal?

Jovita
Guest

These are all wonderful ideas, but I’m from the older generation that I must have pen and paper. Heck, I still keep a calendar on the side fridge for appointments and use the Google calendar for back-up. For blogging I use a spiral calendar to plan out upcoming posts and such, but I am not as busy as other bloggers. I may try using Google doc for taking notes when reading physical books. I do like that when reading from my Kindle I can highlight and note take, and have it for later. 🙂

Kristin @ AddictedtoHEA
Guest

WHY are you “borderline” thinking about taking a hiatus?? Just slow down!! This stuff is phenomenal and we need you to continual to share this stuff for the peeps who might need a little help or refresher (me) on getting organized and motivated in blogging. Two thumbs up, chica!!!

BTW, I use OneNote to capture my review thoughts when I’m lying in bed in the dark- the program coordinates seamlessly with my laptop. I “talk” them into the app and then I go back to sleep.

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[…] The Obi-wan Kenobi of the #NewBloggers group, Evelina, teaches noobs like me how to get organized! […]

Jen
Guest
Amazing, helpful post! I figured out how to use my Google calendar for my blog along with my activities, both of my boys activities and sports and play dates and my grandma’s appointment too , but I color code and filter through colors or keywords but I know that’s not for everyone. I would literally die if I didn’t have my phone with me for a day . And then as backup I use Wunderlist for tracking my ARCs and those scheduled posts. I love organizing so much and I love to see how other people do things differently than… Read more »
Marie
Guest

Great post! I don’t use Google Calendar, but I do use Excel Spreadsheets to keep track of my blogging, where I plan out days, types of blog posts and little notes as for what’s left to do, the books I should review on which dates and everything else. I wouldn’t be able to blog as well, or at least to be as organized, without it, ahah 🙂

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

I have to keep everything on my computer for mostly the same reasons you do. If I put things into a paper calendar, I’d certainly lose track of it (I’m good at that). I actually keep my blogging schedule in my same calendar as my “regular life” calendar—I’m not organized enough to keep track of two calendars. I just need one place to find everything!

Ivyclad Ideas
Guest

I don’t keep a blogging planner. I have a bunch of ideas written down somewhere, but other than that…
My January was flawless – I posted twice a week…and now I’ve crashed… :’)

Sheila @ She's Going Book Crazy
Guest

Great post, Evelina! It seems it may take me a while before I can get to this level of proficiency. I have a planning journal (filled to the brim with upcoming posts, book release dates, series ideas, etc.) however, I simply lack the time to stay on top of it all, and schedule out as I’d like. I’m always posting the night before, or the day of. Alas, hopefully I can get some time to get ahead and stay ahead!

Danya @ Fine Print
Guest
I keep everything online because I do not have the artistic ability for a pretty bujo, but I do pencil in blog posts into my planner (paper) just so I can see my whole day at a glance: work, gym, social, and blogging. Since I prefer to write “in the moment,” I just create new posts with titles and leave them blank until I’m ready to write them. I’ve got a calendar plugin on my blog so I can shift posts around if I do have them ready in advance (although it’s unlikely). Another great post in the NewBloggers 101… Read more »
Cam
Guest

I love using Google Calendar for tracking my schedule! It really is a lifesaver, I usually take notes on my Kindle but now that you’ve mentioned Google Sheets, I might give that a try. I love how organized you are <3

Nicoline Simone
Guest

Really nice post!! Look forward reading the rest of the series!

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[…] week we talked about why you should keep a blogging calendar. Are you keeping one already? Now that you are, it’s time to think about how to make writing […]

Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity
Guest

I tried to keep a blogging calendar to this one when I first started but it just wasn’t for me. I am much better about having mental reminders and hand writing a calendar in my bujo as I remember things far better when I’ve handwritten things. It is an awesome idea though so hopefully it’ll work for a few more folks too.

suckerforcoffe
Guest

I have a simple bujo where I make my own blogging calendar. It’s been really helpful in pre-prepairing posts and scheduling them.

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[…] Evelina @ Avalinhas Books shares a new post in the #NewBloggers 101 post series, this is the part two where she shares how to be more organised with your writing and scheduling posts. Part 1 is HERE. […]

Fanna
Guest

Why was this post not there three months ago when I was bawling at every blog tour date I forgot and the ARCs I couldn’t manage to review on time! I’ve only started planning posts this month and am trying to stay consistent with organising stuff (hope me efforts get better soon LOL) and though it looks difficult, I’m sure the right resources and a little work can give me such a relief. Such a helpful post, Evelina! Can’t wait to read the other instalments in this series 😀

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[…] The Obi-wan Kenobi of the #NewBloggers group, Evelina, teaches noobs like me how to get organized! […]

Andreea
Guest
I need to work on my blogging calendar! I have a sheet with due dates for reviews, but I should be more organized. I am so jealous of bullet journals – I have one, but not a pretty one, one that’s messy cause I just don’t have time to keep it pretty (I tried and ended up not using it because I wanted it to be pretty all the time). So my bujo is just full of messy lists and sketches, but I also keep most of my things on the phone because that I have with me all the… Read more »
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[…] some amazing posts about moving your blog, linkups and Bookstagram. The previous parts were about Blogging Calendars and Scheduling posts. If you want to read more posts from the #NewBloggers 101 post series, […]

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[…] my feelings control my book rating and I don’t think that is bad. After all, I am human. ○ What Tools Can Help Me Be an Organized Blogger? Blogging Calendar by Avalinah’s Books. Check the entire mini series about blogging tool (and the big series […]

Marta @thecursedbooks
Guest

That’s such an useful post, Evelina! <3 I tend to be organized too, but I'm slowly realizing that I can't keep up with my blogging schedule, the ARCs I should review only using by using my memory. So, I've been thinking lately about what application I should use since like you, I'm always on the move between my college city and my hometown and I can't do a notebook. Your post really helped me and I'm probably going to set up a Google Sheets right now. Thank you very much for the post, you're a life-saver!

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[…] 02/02/2018: What Tools Can Help Me Be An Organized Blogger? Blogging Calendars(#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion) […]