January 6, 2013 by Brian Rock
Whether you’re working on a novel, finishing a dissertation, or simply writing a blog, it helps to have a schedule. Routines help you get things done. Stick to the routine, and you’re good.
In order to keep a blog going in the long term, it helps to establish a regular posting pattern and then make sure that you maintain the routine. This has, in the past, been a problem for me.
On some projects, I just kind of wrote when the mood struck me. This was great when I had a ton of ideas; it wasn’t good when I didn’t have any. I’d post three, four, five days in a row, and then I’d suddenly go a week or so without posting.
When I tried to establish a posting schedule, I’d stick with it for a wek or two and then get off track. And like with any routine, missing one day was enough to throw everything akilter and wreck the whole thing.
So, given that I’ve got a renewed sense of enthusiasm about blogging, I’ve established a posting schedule for both of my two websites – Tech and Teaching and Rockin’ Webquests (I decided to rename List of Webquests, cause that was kind of boring).
Tech and Teaching is on a four-post a week schedule (plus other posts at random), while Rockin’ Webquests is on a one-post a day schedule. Let’s consider it a New Year’s Resolution of sorts.
So how do you keep a posting schedule…? Here are a few tips, all of which I’m following to some extent.
Write Posts Ahead and Schedule Them
This is something I’ve only just started doing. I now write all my posts ahead of time, and I schedule when they’re going to go live (usually at 6:00 AM on the designated day).
This let’s me stay ahead of the game – writing one or two posts ahead of schedule – and having them ready to go. So if I need a “Featured Resource” post to go live Tuesday morning on Tech and Teaching, I’ll have the post written up and scheduled by Monday night.
This let’s me get the post published early in the day (when I really don’t have any time to write), and I don’t have to worry about it when I get home Monday. If the posts aren’t time-sensitive, then I can also get ahead of schedule and plan two, three, or four posts ahead.
Every once in a while (like today), I end up writing a post the same day. But I try to get everything done and scheduled ahead of time.
Keep a List of Post Ideas Ready to Go
The first thing I did when I started Tech and Teaching was to start up a list of post ideas. I wanted to write about online resources, about tips for using computers, and about edtech research. So, I made three separate lists. When I need an idea for a post, I go there and off I go.
Any time I have a new idea for a post, I tack it on the list. This way I don’t let ideas get away because I don’t have time to write, and I don’t have to worry about writer’s block.
Be Realistic About Your Categories / Schedules
Finally, it helps to be realistic about how often you can post and how you’re going to break down the categories.
For example, the posts on Rockin’ Webquests are all short – a 300 to 400 word review of an existing webquest. There are hundreds of thousands of webquests on the web. It’s not easy to find one and write up a review, so I can do these quickly and it’s feasible to write one a day.
On the other hand, a review of a research article for Tech and Teaching requires me to a) find a research article, b) read that article (10 to 20 pages), and c) write up a 750 to 1,000 critique or response. Much more in depth, and so these posts are better suited for a lower frequency.
And if you don’t have a lot of ideas for a particular category or type of post, don’t post that often! It’s ok to post on a weekly basis. If you don’t want your blog to be stagnant, fill it in with some lesser posts, and save your beefy, featured posts for once or twice a week.
How Do You Stick to Your Posting Schedule?
So far it’s been a week or so, and I’m going strong. We’ll have to re-evaluate and see how it’s going at the end of December.
Do you have a posting schedule? How to you plan on sticking to it?