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.

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.

search spider index

Write Anything for Better Earnings and SEO

When you start trying to earn money by writing online, there are a lot of things to learn and keep straight. However, the most useful online writing tip to make money is the simplest.

Just write something.

Current and Fresh = Active and Used

When it comes to earning money from your website writing, the reality is that you are going to need traffic. In order to get traffic you’ll want to build and audience, and get subscribers, and develop and email list, and a bunch of other things. You’ll also want to show up in search engines when people look for content on your websites. This is where writing something, anything, is so important.

search spider indexThere are literally billions of webpages out there. The search engines, whether it’s Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, or whatever else, all have to index and rank those pages in order for their search engines to work. They use programs called spiders to move around the web finding and indexing content. As you can imagine this is an intensive process.

In order to make it all work, the different search engines all have various shortcuts and algorithms that help them rank and index faster. Many of these tweaks are trade secrets, but one well known maneuver used by all search engines is noting the freshness, or current state of various websites and acting accordingly.

So, for example, if this website gets updated every day, the search engines will eventually decide that they need to come check and index new content every day or two. If this website gets updated monthly, they’ll notice that too. If it doesn’t really get updated at all for a while, they probably only show up when a new link points them this way.

More importantly, for most of your online money making endeavors, a fresh, or current website, counts much more ranking of the other websites the links point at. So, if you have a knitting website which links to your sewing website, the links from the knitting website are much more powerful if they are not considered to be coming from an inactive website.

While it is important that the content you are actually trying to get ranked highly, and that which you actually want to drive traffic to on all of your websites should be the highest quality, best effort you can manage, the posts necessary to keep your page “alive” in the minds of the search engines can be less inspired. No one is saying your posts should be low quality. However, not every post has to be an amazing, inspired idea. Write good quality posts, just write about those less in-depth things as well.

(Note: This assumes, as most things on this website do, that you are a good writer. A good writer’s efforts are often higher quality than a non-writers best effort.)

Keep your websites active by updating them on a regular basis, and watch your online writing portfolio increase its income and value. Otherwise, your ad revenue will dwindle, not just on the websites you are not updating, but on those that depend on the incoming links from those sites as well.

Google Wonder-Wheel Missing

What happened to WonderWheel on Google search?

For those of you webmasters and bloggers who like using Google’s WonderWheel tool, there was an unexpected surprise that came with the new Google Instant search rollout. It seems that Google thinks that the functionality of Wonder Wheel is handled by the ever changing search results and suggestions that appear on when you search using Google Instant search functionality. Unfortunately, that is hardly the case.

google-wonder-wheel-missing The Google WonderWheel tool was a great way to not only find useful and relevant information on the web, but also for web developers and professional writers looking for ways to make money writing online to figure out how OTHER PEOPLE might search for the information being written. For example, if I were writing an article about how to make homemade snowshoes, I might search for something like “homemade snowshoes,” but maybe that is not how most people would search for the same topic. Maybe most people would actually search for something like “handmade snowshoes” or “make your own snowshoes” or maybe even “building snowshoes.” Any of those searches could be made by someone looking for the same information.

Unfortunately, despite all of its success and acclaim, the Google search engine is really nothing more than a text pattern matcher combined with a link counter. If your text does not match what is being searched for, your article will not show up in those searches, no matter how great your content might be.

Again, using the example above, if I titled my article Homemade Snowshoes Made Simple with my H1 tag and used a title tag of Snowshoes Homemade, the article would never show up in any Google searches for “handmade snowshoes,” unless there were virtually no other webpages on the entire Internet about making your own snowshoes.

In other words, as a writer looking to earn money writing online, it is critical that your articles contain the phrases used by searches in order to generate high-ranking web content that drives search engine traffic to your webpages. In fact, it is so important, that as a professional writer, I frequently use misspellings, incorrect grammar, or redundant phrases, deliberately in order to be sure that what others type into Google will match something in my well-written web content. Then, I try elsewhere to apologize and point out that it was done intentionally so that potential freelance writing clients who are trying to judge my work know that it is not just sloppy writing, but rather that Google makes you write poorly in order to succeed.

The Google WonderWheel tool helped with this problem by allowing a web searcher to type in a search, and then by clicking on Wonder Wheel in the sidebar under More Tools, see a graphical tree of other related search queries. The new Google Instant search feature does that part just fine. What is missing is that with Google Wonder Wheel you could click on the bubble with the related search term and get a new Wonder-Wheel that showed a tree of search queries related to the clicked keywords. In this way, I could have entered “homemade snowshoes,” saw that “handmade snowshoes” was a possible related search keyphrase and then clicked on it to see what search phrases might be related to handmade snowshoes as well.

(Did you see that? I used three different ways of writing wonderwheel so that people who search with a space or hyphen can still find this article online by searching.”)

Turn Google WonderWheel Back On

Fortunately, it is possible to turn Google WonderWheel back on. To re-enable Wonder Wheel, you have to go into Google search settings and turn off Instant Search. Doing that takes you back to the old search interface, which includes the Wonder-Wheel tool.

Unfortunately, since Instant Search looks like the future of Google Search, there is no telling how long this functionality might be left on. Hopefully, Google decides that there is certainly no harm in keeping the WonderWheel tool in the sidebar even if Instant Search is enabled. After all, users who find that the new Instant search feature meets their needs will simply not click on WonderWheel, while those of us who depend on the tool to help correct some of Google Search’s inadequacies can continue to use it.

I wonder if there is an online petition somewhere?

Do you use Google WonderWheel? How have you reacted to WonderWheel being removed from Google due to Instant Search?