the evolution of my editorial calendar

An editorial calendar doesn’t have to be complicated. The first one that I created in my business bullet journal (bujo) back in March 2016 is a great example.

I began by establishing my publishing schedule: weekly on Mondays. I listed those dates along the left side of the page, skipping a couple of lines between each in order to leave space for the descriptions of what I wanted to write about. Sometimes the description is only a couple of words long and sometimes it’s a long topic brainstorm complete with a mini outline. Leaving this amount of space allows for flexibility.

An editorial calendar doesn’t make your publishing calendar inflexible; once you write it it’s easy to change if necessary. In fact, writing it out often helps to clarify what changes might need to happen.

In this example I changed up the posting schedule for May twice, going from weekly to daily and back to weekly. The fact that I had a book coming out motivated these changes: I had wanted to publish daily building toward the launch but as it came closer I realized I had a million other things to straighten out behind the scenes so I went back to the idea of weekly posts. Because I’d already brainstormed daily content it was easy to choose the most relevant topics for my weekly postings.

A year later I was preparing to publish my second book. I changed up my editorial calendar, designing a layout that would allow me to keep track of my work on the book as well as my online publishing schedule.

The basic rapid log key that the creator of the bullet journal method, Ryder Carroll, suggests works well within an editorial calendar: a simple bullet ∙ for a to-do type item — in this case a post to be written, edited, or published — a single slash (/) once the item is in-progress, an X when completed, and a line drawn through the whole phrase if an item is canceled.

Late in 2017 my focus shifted from book-writing to course-writing. Because I was publishing or sending out content to my testers multiple times a week I used a monthly-overview style of editorial calendar. I kept it clean, though, by only noting the publishing schedule: that is, instead of writing down when I would draft, then edit, and finally publish each post, I simply wrote down when a post would be published.

Another addition to this particular version of editorial calendar is the “top monthly goals” section. Writing down the three things that are most important to me helped me to focus and know what to write about.

I knew the first half of 2018 was going to be a bit crazy, what with the birth of my little girl. I simplified my editorial calendar significantly, taking inspiration from future log layouts and combining the publishing schedule with a to-do list.

Instead of using a full spread for a single month, I allotted a third of a page for each month. Limiting the space helped me limit the things I expected myself to accomplish and protected my breathing room.

For June and July I’m trying an entirely new set-up: one month per page. In addition to the ∙ / X symbols I also use ◦ and — to signify events and notes respectively. I’ve left Saturdays off of the calendar since I take that day off work. This layout suits the unique needs of a month with a product launch, allowing me to have enough space to keep track of multiple publishing outlets while still limited me so I won’t over-commit.

In addition to the general editorial calendar I set aside a spread devoted to IGTV. I wanted a space to brainstorm and explore the new medium, a place to collect ideas and schedule their implementation.

I organize the ideas for my blog and social media elsewhere and would be happy to go over my processes in a future post. Click on any of the images in this post and leave a comment on Instagram to let me know if you are interested!

how I'm getting back on track after life got crazy

Sometimes life doesn't go as planned and a single life event can throw things off-kilter for weeks.

I didn't plan to give birth in February but my sweet Beyla came two whole weeks after her January due date. The first quarter of my year has been crazy, but with important deadlines and events coming up I knew I had to get back on track as soon after the birth as I could.

IMG_0110.JPG

I started with a single page brain-dump of everything I needed to do. I kept this as a running list through the end of March, adding to it anytime something came to mind. My brain was like a sieve surrounding the birth—what am I saying? It still is!—so if I didn't write it down it was lost to me. Likewise when I had a few moments free I wouldn't have known what to work on without the list.

IMG_0109.jpg

I had too much clutter in my mental and physical space following the birth, so I needed my overview for the month of March to be as sparse as possible. I decided on a layout inspired by @minimal.paper on Instagram.

Having the whole month on one spread helps me to get my bearings and picture what life looks like in context. This layout focuses on that and removes everything else. Even the numbers are subtle and the header with the days of the week is minimal.

IMG_0107.JPG

Finally, I'm returning to my writing habit. As I process this new thing called motherhood my musings go into one journal and business writing goes into the other.

IMG_0108.JPG

The number-one thing that is helping me to get my life back on track is writing.

Putting pen to paper makes the scrambled elements of my life tangible and helps me to get a handle on them. Once something appears in writing I can decide whether it is actually important or not. I can keep track of the things that I do deem important, but without trying to hold them in my memory until the relevant moment. Beyond my to-do list, I can use journaling to untangle the thoughts and emotions swirling inside me after a life-changing experience.

This is why I write: because I'm lost if I don't.

2018: the year of excitement

Every year since 2013 I've had a "word for the year."
I don't choose this word so much as it chooses me,
and this year is no different.

These words tell a story,
each one representing a chapter,
and each teaching me unexpected lessons:

2013: hope I learned to see beyond my little world and forseeable future.

2014: go My year of hope prepared me to move to Kansas rather unexpectedly and travel a lot for my new job.

2015: love Going to Kansas resulted in meeting my future husband, though we didn't begin to fall in love until halfway through the next year.

2016: adventure The friendly love of the previous year blossomed into romantic love as we individually stepped out of our comfort zones in big ways and found ourselves drawing closer.

2017: together I had prayed for years that my husband and I would marry only when we would be more powerful together than apart and that prayer was answered.

2018: excitement This year, as in years past, I have an idea of what this word could mean for the coming year. Still, if the pattern holds I am certain that 2018 will bring plenty of unexpected exciting lessons too!

To read more about 2017's lessons and 2018's plans, visit this collection of year-end reflections.