How To Manage A Blog (& Reading) Schedule

Posted August 9, 2014 by Debby in Uncategorized

As I’ve jumped straight back into the deep end of blogging, I’ve been doing a lot of planning to make sure that I get all the posts I want up on time, so I thought I’d talk a bit about how I’m doing that today, in hopes it might help some other bloggers! I’m not saying this is the one and only way, but it’s a method I’m using to keep myself organized and to not crumble under the pressures of ALL THE POSTS THAT NEED TO BE WRITTEN. So let’s go!

My Blogging Google Calendar

The method to my madness is a Google calendar into which I put all my blog posts as a way to visualize what’s going up when. The bonus of it being a Google calendar is that I can see it on my phone or anywhere I decide to log into my Google account – and if you have co-bloggers, you can share these calendars with each other so you’ll see each others’ updates automatically. Now, here’s what my calendar for the month of August looks like:

2014-08-09 09_53_33-Google Calendar

As you can probably immediately tell: I use color coding. This mostly comes because I feel like I am most productive when there’s that kind of physical reward of crossing something off of a to-do list. I keep a to-do list on my desk, and any time I finish an item, I get to highlight it in pretty colors. If you’ve seen my how to on my book inventory and TBR, you might remember my spreadsheets with the “Read” columns, for which I use conditional formatting so that the cell turns green if I’ve read it. The green light to me means go – you’re doing a good job, so color coding helps me feel like I’m accomplishing something.

Green means that I’ve written and scheduled the post – it’s completely done.
Yellow is for reviews – if I’ve READ the book but haven’t written the review yet.
Red is for posts that I want to put up but haven’t written yet or reviews for which I still need to read the book.

Why this distinction for reviews?

My blogging schedule is also helping me keep up with my reading schedule. I don’t know about you guys, but I have 10 or more September ARCs – and I know plenty of you have many more. Keeping up with ARCs can be a challenge – so whenever I get one, I put the review for that ARC in my calendar about 2-3 weeks before its release date. The goal is to, of course, read it before then, so that the review can go live as planned. So, in my calendar I can see that I at least need to finish 4 more books in August: The Miniaturist, Heir of Fire, The Jewel, and The Vault of Dreamers. Doable!

There’s a lot of yellow reviews in my calendar right now because of all the books I read in May/June that I didn’t write reviews of right away – but I’m trying to get myself back on track to writing reviews and scheduling them right after I finish the book, and it’s working for the most part.

Other Posts

I try to keep a balanced schedule of different kinds of content, and my calendar definitely helps me there as well. Personally, I try to not have two reviews in a row, so I can break up the week with other content for readers who may not be as interested in those reviews. (Of course, I’m not saying that’s the only way – you can fill up your blog however you want, this is just what I do.)

I try to participate in Top Ten Tuesday every week – so whenever a new list of topics for the coming months goes up, I put those in my schedule. But the bigger challenge is more original content like discussions, columns, or how to’s like this – so whenever I get an idea, I plop it into the calendar as a reminder to myself to write that up in time. Those ideas come to me at all hours of the day, and I find this a really easy way to keep track of them.

But the schedule isn’t rigid!

I’m not the most perfectly flawless planner out there, and sometimes life does get in the way or I don’t feel like writing THAT discussion on that day, so what I like about the Google calendar is that I can easily drag and drop and shift things around – while still keeping an eye on the big picture to make sure the schedule is balanced and doable.

But tell me: how do you manage your blogging schedule? (Or do you not? That’s fine too!)



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35 responses to “How To Manage A Blog (& Reading) Schedule

  1. I basically do the similar thing as you, only I do it directly in WordPress. I use a plugin called ‘WordPress Editorial Calendar’ that adds a callendar for posts. I add posts for each day I plan to write something.
    I especially like it if I schedule post for one day and then drag/drop it to another day it’s automatically rescheduled. 🙂

    • Yeah, I have that plug-in too, but I don’t like to always be in WordPress, don’t want a huge list of drafts, and I prefer my color codes. But it is a useful tool!

  2. I am so not organized when it comes to blogging. Really, it’s a miracle anything gets posted ever. I don’t have any nifty calendar system or anything. I pretty well wing it and somehow it works. no clue how though, haha. I think everyone that organizes their blog schedule, etc is amazing.

    • Haha, I think we scheduled, organized people are probably in the minority, so don’t feel bad 😛 Yeah, that’s the thing: if I don’t plan and schedule, I just crumble under the pressure and the staggering list of posts and ideas and consequently post NOTHING. I’m a bit messed up, I realize. “SO MUCH TO DO. LET’S NOT DO ANY OF IT, THAT’LL HELP.” Riiiiight, Debby.

  3. This actually is really helpful! I just wrote a blogpost on how I am terrible at planning and scheduling blogposts, I read a lot, but get behind writing posts and I hate it. I’m pretty organised in everydaylife and I can’t stand that I keep on failing at doing the same for my blog. So thank you for sharing! I’m going to try this out, I use the colours as well in my personal planner and I use the green colour as reward as well (I have no idea why it works, but it does, I love my planner and all the pretty colours

  4. I use pretty much the same system. Except I use Hotmail Calendar, or Live Calendar, whatever it’s being called these days. I keep telling myself to color coordinate, but instead I just add a ✔ to the front of the title when I schedule it since that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ll probably switch to colors when I start the 2015 calendar.

  5. I’m another one who LOVES the editorial calendar plug in. Seriously, I don’t think I would still be bloggin if it wasn’t for that calendar!

    I’ve got some drafts started and plugged into specific dates, but with my real life schedule changing so much this fall, I’ve decided to get away from a fixed schedule or having a posting goal for each week. My blogging is going to get very sporadic starting next week, unfortunately.

  6. Wow, that schedule looks busy!
    It actually worked for me, having written or plan a schedule for a month before I start sorting and posting them on the blog, but after some time I feel like it kinda interrupted my reading mood. I’m not good at following my book reading plan because the mood changes everytime. How do you cope with that, Debbie? Is there any time where you have to read a certain book so you can review it according to your plan but you prefer to read another book?
    Anyway, it’s good knowing how other people manage their schedule and what works for them. Very helpful. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • I used to have an issue with mood reading when it came to ARCs, but I’m doing much better lately and I think it comes from a variety of reasons: first, I don’t take on more ARCs than I can handle. I don’t request much, I don’t download everything I’m auto-approved for. I really go through upcoming releases and see what I think would be most successful for me and then get those ARCs. I try to keep a limit of around 6 ARCs per month at the very max. You just have to know your limits. Second, though others really try to read everything and review everything two weeks before release, I’m more flexible with that. If there’s a contemporary romance ARC that comes out in 4 months but I want to read it now, I do that – because it takes the pressure off in later months. And last, again, I know myself. If I have two high fantasy ARCs in a row, I plan ahead so that I can squeeze in a fluffy contemporary in between.

      So it’s more just knowing yourself and what works for you. I only got this far after like a year and a half, though, so I think it also takes time.

  7. I use the Google calender app that comes with Windows 8 and I only use it for the ARC’s. It’s easy to see in one glance when they are published, so which one I should read first. I don’t have a blog schedule, but I think I will get pretty busy this school yea, so I might have to start looking into creating one. I’m a pretty organized person, but when it comes to blogging I just mess around and it seems to work, haha.

    • Hah, well, you’re not alone. I think most people just kind of wing it – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I like structure, and I’ve found that if I don’t have a schedule or plan then the pressure of everything I want to do combined with my inherent laziness and desire to do nothing at all really keep my blog from moving forward.

  8. I don’t think I could ever do this. 😛 I do schedule posts ahead of time but I just have an idea, write the post, and schedule it for the next available spot. I think assigning books and certain types of posts to specific dates would make blogging feel too much like a job/chore for me. I guess I’m just not the organized type!

    • Well, I don’t have the kind of schedule that allows me to drop everything and blog whenever I get an idea, so if I didn’t keep a system like this, I would at a certain point just have a staggering list of post ideas and crumble under the pressure of the sheer amount of work to do. *shrug* To each their own I guess.

  9. I also have a blog calendar. I tried using Google Calendar but it wasn’t working for me. I actually don’t like electronic calendars that much, because I actually have a good sense of what I’m posting each day. But I like to have calendars to also list my To-Dos for each day, which is not really the best way to use Google Calendar. So I have a paper planner and I love it!!!!! I also have ways to note what posts I have already written, what needs to be written (but I’ve read the book) and other post ideas. It isn’t super rigid, but it helps me be more efficient.

    • Haha, I wondered when someone would come with a paper & pen preference. I have that for my desk to do list of miscellaneous stuff, but for blogging I need that freedom to move things around, drag and drop where needed, depending on which posts I want to write on which days, and then paper doesn’t work for me. It becomes a mess of crossed out things and arrows and stuff and just no x_x But cool that it works for you!

      • I like the In-your-faceness of a pen & paper calendar pinned up next to my desk, but the convenience of being able to easily switch things around like you can with an online calendar. Low-tech compromise for me – paper calendar with big squares and little post-it notes for each post. I have the pastel colour ones with a different shade for different kinds of posts and they’re easy to swap about when I need to.

        I do wish I was better with spreadsheets though! You have some mad organizational skills!

  10. I’ve actually taken blogging more seriously but I never knew if it was a good idea to post everyday or not, yet I would have so much I wanted to write about. I organise via OneNote and iCal and also a planner – I know, I’m all over the place. I might have to sit down and go through everything again to know what I’m really doing.

    Thanks so much! 🙂

    • You should post however much you want to! Seriously, so long as it’s doable to you, do it. I’m posting 7 times per week currently, but that’s because I’m a bit tight on my review books, but I’m keeping up with it somehow. There are plenty of blogs that only post 2-3 times per week though, so it’s completely up to you.

  11. I think using a Google calendar for blogging is a good idea. I didn’t want to use my main Google calendar for that though since I use it for all my personal stuff, so I have a little pocket calendar where I plan out blog posts and can discuss with my coblogger at any time we meet up.

    • Nevermind, I just now figured out this isn’t a spreadsheet. You are using a calendar – duh! Sorry for bugging you! I also wanted to add, I love these posts and how organized you are!

  12. I use the wordpress editorial calendar. You are way more organized with staying on track then I am. Luckily I now share my Arc stack with two of my local girlfriends so they can help me read and review. They read whatever they want, write their reviews and out them into pending review unscheduled drafts when they are ready for scheduling. I try to have one guest post from an author each week, one fan art post every Thursday and I try for a discussion or just non review post but I don’t stress it. Some days there will be five days of reviews in a row. I balance the books by trying to alternate ya with adult books all pretty much in the various SFF genres. I get so many books that the blog can’t help but be very review heavy.

  13. I used to use Google Calendar as well and everything worked absolutely perfectly. One day though, I just stopped using it and I still don’t know why. For awhile, I just posted whenever I felt like it while still trying to balance my posts. Now, I use my whiteboard as a weekly planner so I only plan my posts one week ahead. I have Google Keep on my phone though so whenever I think of ideas or notes, I just tap it into there. When I’m writing up my weekly schedule, I’ll check that and my Goodreads to see which books I should review next. 😀

  14. Currently, I am keeping track of everything on a spreadsheet via Google Drive. However, seriously debating about switching it all over to Calendar. Having reminders pop up on my phone would be a definite plus!

  15. For the longest time I was using pen and paper, but then it would annoy me when posts didn’t work out and I had to erase and rewrite days. So now I’m using the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin, but for some reason WP doesn’t like me viewing this on my phone. I’m hoping to switch over to an electronic calendar and this post was a great insight to how it works for you. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Great post. I do it very similarly. I have a written out calendar that I circle reviews that are totally done. Also, I keep a separate excel spreadsheet of books by review date. That way I know what’s coming up and what’s already here! As I read a book, it gets deleted from my list. Sadly, I think this list has grown a little too big for me and I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed. But I hope that this weekend is coming up I can hopefully get through one review book.
    I think it’s good to schedule and plan ahead. I try not to panic as well but sometimes I feel like it’s a lot of work and a lot of reading and I feel like I”m reading things I don’t even want to read but just because they’re due!

  17. That is an awesome method! I’m still trying to get my own routine working (which is not much, because it still depends on my mood), but this gives me some ideas.

    Thanks for sharing!

  18. I basically do the same thing for reviews and posts, but I use Outlook’s calendar instead of Google, which means that my personal and freelance-business appointments and dates are also on there. I color-code posts (both reviews and other posts) based on whether it’s tentative, draft is started/date is firm, or the post is finished and scheduled.

    For scheduling my reading, I use a combination of an Excel spreadsheet for ARCs and review copies, plus Goodreads. I’m trying to read, review, and schedule posts at least a couple of weeks ahead, but I’m not always successful.

  19. I do something very similar. I have all my posts on my blog calendar and if they’re yellow, that means I have the idea or book (depends on type of post) in my possession, but not read and post not setup. If it’s grey it means I have to get the book or flesh out the idea. Green means the post is formatted and just needs the details (mainly for reviews), Red means I’ve read the book but still need to write the review and blue means it’s all scheduled and ready to go.

    I have a second calendar, which I call my reading calendar. I’ve figured out how long it takes me to read books – an average of 60 pgs a day and 2 hours of listening (audiobooks) a day. So I schedule about how long a book will take me to read on this calendar. That way I know if I have room for another book when I get a review/tour request. So I’m very type A LOL! Great post!

  20. This is a really nifty idea. When I use blogger I tend to just put in a date that I want my review to go live. I love this feature, but it doesn’t really help me make sure I am reading enough to get another review out when I want to.