Building a Writing Calendar

A writing calendar, or publishing calendar, if you prefer, is a good way to stay on track with your writing. Just sitting down at a set time and coming up with a topic to write about is like asking a comedian to “be funny” right on the spot. It’s a lot easier if you plan for it and know it’s coming. Most people who will tell you that they are a comedian have a joke already memorized for when you inevitably ask them, “Can you say something funny, right now?

A writing calendar works the same way. Instead of sitting down and trying to instantly come up with a good topic for your parenting blog on the spot, you instead check you calendar and see what you were going to write about today.

It doesn’t take much for a writer to start writing. Sometimes nothing more than the title is enough of a prompt. For those ideas you have with a little more nuance, feel free to jot down a few lines of text to get yourself going in the right direction.

What kind of calendar you use is a matter of preference. Some people prefer an electronic calendar. A mobile based calendar means you always have it with you to tweak or add items to. An online calendar can give you the same benefits. A prefer a big paper calendar that I can quickly jot notes on while in mid-project, and that I can stick Post-It notes to when I need to add, or flesh out ideas.

Whatever kind of calendar you use, the key is to actually USE IT. That means not only putting items on it to be written, but READING those ideas and then writing about them. It can be all to easy to add an endless list of “to be written articles,” only to completely forget to look at your calendar when it is actually time to write.

Take a look around your mobile device’s app store, or wander into the office supply store and take a look at planners and calendars. Pick one you like, and start using it today.

Keep Making Money Online By Writing Ahead

writing-ahead-graphic

If you target the right keywords and focus your writing just so, you might be able to rank highly for a specific phrase or set of key words without updating your site regularly. But, doing so is really more the realm of those make money fast types who want to convince you that you can make big money on the Internet by doing virtually nothing. All you have to do is throw up a couple of websites that you can build in minutes. Of course, you will never figure it out on your own, so you’ll have to cough up $49 for an eBook, or subscription, or something.

But, since this site is about helping writers make money online by doing what they do best, that is writing, I’m not going to go there right now. Instead, I will tell you that the three-word phrase you see on everyone’s how to make money posts, Content Is King, is 100% true.

I am currently in the midst of an ongoing project to build a big money-making empire of websites. I could use all those SEO tips and webmaster tricks out there to try and make crappy sites rank high, or I could just do what I do best, write quality articles and posts for these sites and let Google do what it does best, separate crappy MFA sites from good ones.

writing ahead

That being said, it would take very fast typing fingers to write daily content for even a dozen websites, let alone several dozen. Trying to do that while running a small freelance writing business would require the aid of some form of time stopping ability.

What is a budding writing web entrepreneur to do?

Write ahead.

Every day, you will be writing. After all, you are a writer, and that is what writers do.

However, some days you will fill like writing about certain topics and not about others. Save the forcing-it writing for paying clients with deadlines and use your want-to writing to write for your sites. You’ll write faster and better.

Don’t just write one post or article and move on. Write three. Write a dozen. Heck, write 20 if you can. Then, take advantage of WordPress’s scheduling ability to meter those posts out in nice search-engine friendly increments. Personally, I like to publish every other day, not including weekends. That makes a Tuesday-Thursday publishing schedule fairly attractive.

Sticking to this schedule gives you two major benefits. First, your content is always new and fresh, which Google loves.

Second, since you know that your “automatic posts” go out every Tuesday and Thursday, when you need publish something a little more timely, or you just don’t want to put what you just wrote at the end of the queue, you can set it to post on any of the other days of the week and know that you won’t be overlapping without having to go into your control panel and look it up.

Do this for each site as you set them up and have maximum enthusiasm for the topic. You should easily be able to crank out 5 posts. With the 2 a week schedule, they’ll last 2 1/2 weeks before you have to come back.

Chances are, you’ll have plenty of good ideas before then.  Keep going and pretty soon you’ll have enough posts queued up to take a vacation and not miss a beat.

Writing Calendars and When To Ignore Them

As a professional writer, one of the things that always strikes me as odd is when new, or aspiring, writers ask me, how to come up with things to write about. I have notebooks full of more article ideas that I’ll ever be able to write in one lifetime. However, I understand how it can be difficult to just sit down at 8:00 a.m. and start typing.

There reality is that most writers actually have lots of things to write about. They either just can’t force those ideas into their brain at will. And, when they do come up with great ideas to write about their topic, they dismiss them as not worthy, too complicated, or something like that.

A Blogging Calendar or Writing Calendar

This is where a blogging calendar, or writing calendar comes in handy. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I use one of those desktop blotter calendars you can get for less than $10¬†at any office supply store, or from Amazon. Fill in a topic on each day for each blog, or website, that you generate content for. Soon, you too will have a tons of topics. As an added bonus, you can start to see trends and upcoming events that you might want to capitalize on.

writing muse hideout

For example, if you are filling in your April writing calendar, you might want to consider topics on Spring, or on filing your taxes, or planning for a big Mother’s Day weekend. You may also happen to notice that you are writing a lot about a specific topic. You can either take the opportunity to spread those topics out, or conversely perhaps market the upcoming list of topics as a way to get detailed information for your readers.

The trick to effectively using a writing calendar is to be willing to move articles around. If you need to publish something else on the 23rd, then just cross out the original article and write it down on a new date.

Most importantly, you need to know when to ignore your writing calendar.

Sometimes, you’ll get the writing fever, where you muse wakes up, jumps on your back and whips you forward. As an experienced writer, you know that these days and times come with far too many less motivated days in between. When you want to write: write. And when you want to write about certain topics, then do that. Your publishing calendar will be there later when your muse hops off and goes to lie down in the warm fields of grass for a long rest.

All 6 Every Day

I have several different blogs on a lot of different platforms aimed at a lot of different audiences with a lot of different goals. That being the case, I’ve always had the notion that if I could focus on my six different blogs or websites, and update each of them every single day, that things like search rankings, link building, and monetization would largely take care of themselves. Unfortunately, I’ve never really been able to test that theory, in large part because I have other projects as a freelance writer that I’m working on, and updating six blogs every day requires a fair amount of overhead.

daily updates on multiple blogsHowever, after tracking various analytics, traffic, and even some earnings, I’ve noticed a definite correlation between frequency of posting and positive results. However, unlike other people have suggested, I find the best results occur when those regular postings are made across more than one of the websites. In other words, I see better results from posting one or two articles per day, not on one site, but on several sites. Each individual site might go four, five, or sometimes 8 or 10 days between updates, but this still seems to achieve better results than a daily post on a single blog.

Now, I think it’s time to put my writing where my mouth is. Would daily updates across multiple blogs increase traffic, earnings, and even links in a meaningful way? There is only one real way to find out and that is to try it.

I’ve decided to work with six different blogs across multiple topics. Each blog links around a bit to the others, but nothing that would seem like some sort of link scheme. Mostly there are sidebar links to popular pages on other blogs, but I do try and occasionally throw in another links within the text, but only when it’s natural. Or sometimes, I’ll do it like it is an ad or something. Like this:

Check out my Credit Sesame Review.

More Content More Links

Too many people focus on the fact that daily updates leads to daily indexing by Google. Being indexed quickly is important for news sites, and other real-time endeavors, but for what I do, it isn’t really important. However, a daily update would mean a steadily increasing number of pages to be indexed, marking the blog as fresh. Even more beneficial is that each new post provides several new links. The sidebar links are but one pocket of linking. Each post has tag and categories, those pages get a new link with each new post. Any inserted links, obviously, increases the links incoming to that page. Finally, with a steady update, that means more people have the chance to see something new on an RSS feed, aggregator, or just on regular visits, each of which provides another opportunity to link.

How To Write So Much Content

Clearly, if one is cranking out six blog posts every day, and still hopes to achieve any progress on other projects, you can’t spend two, or even one hour, on every post. In fact, there may be an argument for rotating on a calendar which blog gets the bigger, deeper, longer, posts with more pictures and promotions each day. But, for now, I’m going to wing it, with the in-depth article ideas I have being cranked out where they seem the best fit, or where I have the best motivation each day. The other posts will, of course, not be garbage, but will, by necessity, have to be briefer, or faster in some way to write.

The holidays are approaching, so this may be a fools errand. On the other hand, there is no time like the present. Even three a day, or six every other day should show some results if I’m correct.

So, without further ado, this is ONE.