First off, congratulations! Having to many blog ideas is the grooviest thing ever. Then that overwhelming feeling grabs you. How do you organize your creativity? Ahhh…that, my friend, is the challenge. Let me tell you my rags to riches story.
In the beginning aka “The chaotic chronicles”
When I first started blogging I had to figure out what to do with all of my ideas. The ideas would come like a flood, and they would come out of nowhere. The grocery store. While cooking. At the Doctor’s office. The mechanics. While listening to my husband (with only 1/2 an ear). While watching TV…and gasp! While sleeping?
So I did what any well-meaning brain junky would do; I would grab for the nearest napkin or scrap of paper and write it down before it jumped ship and was gone forever. Then it happened… and it looked and sounded something like this:
- “Where is that napkin”?
- “I torn off a piece of paper with an idea on…where IS IT”?
- “I know I wrote that idea in the margin of the sports section in the newspaper, didn’t I”?
- “I thought I had a yellow sticky somewhere…did it fall off the wall and behind my desk”?”
- “Honey what did you do with the mail? I had an idea written on the back of one of those envelopes.”
- “Honey! Where are all my notebooks? I had a new idea I wrote down somewhere”. Oh. He told me to use ONE notebook. I didn’t listen – I grabbed whatever I could find.
- “Honey…did I leave some scraps of paper in your car? You cleaned out the car???!!!”
- “Honey, what is that hanging from Luther’s mouth? (our pup). GASP! IS THAT PAPER??!!!!!!!?!!
- “Honey? Honey! ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME??”
Sigh. Sad but true. I was a wreck! A creative and emotional wreck. Then a light bulb came on with this one question: If was organized at work, why couldn’t I be organized for myself? Hmmm…right?
So I put together a plan, and so far it seems to be working.
Let’s organize that creativity!
Disclaimer: My first suggestion is a personal opinion. Do not install any unnecessary plugins. The first thing we tend to do when we need to organize something is install a bunch of plugins. First off, too many plugins can bog down and slow your site. If your site loads too slowly you might annoy or scare off impatient visitors. But with that said…I found a plugin I absolutely love. 🙂 I felt the need to add that disclaimer!
1. Editorial Calendar Plugin by WordPress (and it’s FREE)!
This plugin adds a calendar to the backend of your WordPress site and is simply brilliant! In one place you can keep track of all your blogs during all phases of writing. If you like to post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (like I do), you can plan for that. Did you remember to write a post for next Monday? It will show you. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog.The editorial calendar gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published.
Why did I choose this plugin when I’m “anti-plugin”?
These features impressed me!
- It’s responsive, easy and not messy to use. “Plugin and Play”.
- I can see all of my posts and when I want to post them.
- Right on the calendar, I can quick edit post titles, content, and schedule times.
- I can drag and drop to change my post dates, or throw my blog back into “draft” by sliding it back off the calendar.
- It let’s me manage my drafts without losing my mind.
- I choose how I publish posts or manage drafts.
- What’s the status of my posts? Published? Draft? Waiting for schedule? It tells you that, too!
Bottom line. I like that I can look on my Editorial Calendar for my information instead of physically going into “All Posts” then scrolling around looking for what I need. This calendar has been a time saver for me.
2. Organize your blog topics by week – LIFE SAVER!
I have three major topics that I blog about. So…I made it easy on myself. I’m getting my ideas efficient by working on one post, per topic, per week. It keeps my content fresh and varied. Here’s an example of what that might look like:
Topic 1 Baby Boomer Lifestyle
Topic 2 Blog Ideas & Tips
Topic 3 Grow your business
My goal is to write a blog for each of those topics weekly. VOILA! My brain doesn’t hurt nearly so bad since I have a plan. Do I always stick to that plan? No. But I have a baseline plan that keeps me organized and brain-freeze free.
3. Get a notebook. ONE notebook. 🙂
Yeah. I’m on a learning curve here, but I finally have ONE notebook to keep all of my blog ideas. I got a nice, bright fun notebook with 3 sections (one section per topic)! I feel like a genius! Like I said above, I have four major topics I write for so I can automatically categorize my ideas without much fuss.
It goes with me everywhere, and at night I keep it by the bed for those night time inspirations. 🙂
Have a smartphone and you’re connected to it like glue? Use it! Jot those notes and ideas down between all that texting, liking and video watching. Boom! Easy button!
4. Organize your Drafts. Where do you write?
This one is personal preference. Some times I write in a Word Document then copy/paste my content into my post. Other times I draft right within the post. It depends on my mood. I find that I usually gravitate to working within my post. Is this ideal? Probably not. If you website flops, you could lose your information (I hope you have a great backup plug-in!).
5. Directory folders and subfolders – House your ideas and research.
I have a main folder titled simply “BLOG IDEAS”. Within that folder, I have 3 sub folders titled the same as my Blog Topics. I shove all of my ideas in there by category. Mostly graphics, research, internet tidbits I come across, book or story ideas, major articles I might be working on, etc. This one thing alone has been invaluable. I can now locate the graphics I want with a click of my mouse, and when I run into a writer’s block moment I can access my research to get the creative juices back on track.
Well, there you have it! In the end…the chaos is beautiful.
If you need a method to organize your creativity, I hope you found these few tips helpful. They aren’t major changes and it’s not rocket science, but it is beautifully simple.
I’m sure I’ll always have a chaotic brain. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s my blessing and my curse. But hey, you savvy blogger, embrace and love that beautiful, talented, remarkable you – no matter how messy! That creative mess is why you blog. It isn’t just about sharing what you know, it’s also sharing with people “who you are”. The real you can come through your writings, whether it’s technical or instructional, or humorous and carefree.
Let organization set you free. No one like to organize (well…there are a few of you crazies that do), but organizing your blogs is a necessary evil. I remember something my mama always told me when I found myself spinning my wheels.
She’d say…”Baby. You got to slow down to speed up!”
I never knew what that meant – not really…until I hit my 40’s. It remains one of my favorite sayings and little life lesson from her. In a nutshell, people, take time to organize your life on the front-end so you can save yourself from the crazies trying to catch up on the back end. My mother was beautifully simple…and smart!
Until next time…