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!