In the last 3 days of 2016, I created over 90 blog post ideas, planned out my blogging schedule for 2017, and created a new website. Despite saving everything for the last minute, I, for once, felt confident.
You might be familiar with two terms used to describe different kinds of writers; plotter and pantser. A plotter is one who loves the plan, follows an outline, and details every step of the way. A pantser enjoys more freedom, letting the words come as they may.
As a blogger, I believe you must at least be a hybrid — a plantser, if you will.
There should be an element of structure with blogging but also a freedom to create and speak as you will. Getting through those planning stages can be daunting, but having a “writer’s itinerary” can tremendously aid in your blogging journey.
1. Create Your Audience
I’m going against the grain in saying that the key in knowing your audience is knowing what you want to write; many switch those two around, saying in order to write good content you must know your audience. I center around writing, blogging, and book reviews, so I aim to attract a readership who shares my love of writing and creativity. Yes, you should be aware of your targeted demographic and keep focused on a few major topics to revolve around your posts, but ultimately blogging is personal. I created Confabulari not only to reach out to others who share these interests but also because the things I blog about are my passions, and I would combust if I didn’t speak out.
Ask yourself this — why would you want to cater to an audience who isn’t as passionate as you are about your content? Create your content, and those worth writing for will come out of the wood work.
2. Know Your Own Schedule
If you work a 9-5 job five days a week, it may not be wise to consider becoming a daily blogger. If you have no commitments during the week but find it hard to blog consistently, you may need to reassess your time management.
Currently, I’m unemployed, so I can devote more time to the blog, but I also have depression which can make some days impossible to do anything except stare at a blinking cursor. When creating my 2017 schedule, I knew I wanted to post twice a week. I may find the need to reduce to once a week, or perhaps one day I’ll post even more. Take a few weeks or months and figure out what works for you and don’t be afraid to make adjustments.
3. Be Consistent. It goes for every goal, every practice, every responsibility. If you skip once, it will happen again. And again. And soon you’ll be eating a chocolate bar by the mouthful while streaming Netflix, looking back on the beautiful work you put in at the beginning of the year and wondering what the heck happened.
Set an alarm on your phone to go off every 30-60 minutes before a post. Create a weekly schedule, setting aside the same time on specific days to work on your blog. Write a note on that chocolate bar, forbidding a taste until you’ve worked for fifteen minutes on tomorrow’s post. Commit to commit.
4. Creating QUALITY Content
If you have a blog about ducks, you’re not going to write about baboons, are you? My content is geared towards writers, readers, and creating inspiration, so I’m not going to throw in a post on how to shop the sale rack (unless it’s discount books, of course).
When I was creating my blogging schedule, I took half a day to simply write down blog post ideas; when my brain hit a wall, I googled “blog post ideas for writers” and scoped out other writing blogs to see what kind of content they were creating. Grasping inspiration from others is ideal, as long as you don’t copy their content.
Brainstorming is the best way to start getting innovative. I knew I wanted to branch out with Confabulari and include more creative content. It’s okay to stretch, just make sure it all correlates.
I quickly noticed similarities between the concepts I had written down, which led to the idea for a monthly theme. I went through the list and categorized every idea (categories I used included: monthly posts, writing routine ideas, creative ideas, tips, personal, guest posts, etc.). Once they were all separated, it was easy to draw connections and create a year of twelve different themes. While it’s not for everyone, I’ve found it a relief to look at my schedule and know I shouldn’t be caught off-guard in the months to come.
(My complete list is elsewhere; didn’t want to give too much away!)
Interested in the templates I used? Download these free printables included to help you start refocusing on your blog! I’ve kept everything simple so you can personalize them in the way that suits you.
Next time I’ll talk about how to stay organize and connected with your intended audience.