my blogging essentials – staying organized

by Kaylah Stroup
tooth containers by Hello Hopscotch full of my favorite pens – the seven year pen!

Someone recently tweeted me to ask about how I stay organized which was the push I needed to finally write an updated post about my blog planning process and how I stay organized. It’s been on my to-do list for a while now.

I know there are tons of apps, and websites for staying organized. Of course, even my phone has a calendar I could use to keep all my blog related stuff together but my number one tool for staying organized is, without a doubt, my editorial calendar. Keeping an editorial calendar, whether digitally or on paper, is, in my opinion, essential! Giving it a fancy name makes it sound so much more complicated than it really is. In reality it’s just a planner from Target. It could be any planner, the important thing for me is that it shows the whole month on one page as shown below.

I write each individual blog post on a sticky note and then place them on the date I plan on posting them. I use sticky notes because I like how bright they are. It helps the whole process not to feel so mundane and it looks really pretty! Also, the real reason, I’m able to move posts if need be. There are some days I just don’t feel like posting what I had planned or maybe another post just feels more appropriate for that date.  I can’t stand scribbles in notebooks, or even use of two different pens together so using sticky notes just helps everything feel neater.

I normally begin working on an upcoming month’s calendar a week or so before the first. I start by filling in any regular features, like Friday Favorites, or anything I’ve planned way in advance. Then I start to fill in the spots with well thought out ideas, and posts I have in my drafts. After I’ve queued a post it gets a piece of tape to indicate that it’s good to go! I’d like to pretend that I plan out a whole month at once but I definitely don’t. My goal is always to be one week ahead. Ideally everything is queued up, but as long as I have a solid idea of what I’ll be posting I’m satisfied. The whole purpose is just so I’m not scrambling at the last minute for a post.

My two other must haves are…
▴ Notebooks and notepads x10000. You guys, I am a sucker for a pretty notebook or notepad.  Moorea Seal’s office section has more than a few gems, Anthropologie has a great selection of paper goods, and Paper Source, of course, is home to lots of pretty notebooks! TJ Maxx might be my favorite place to grab them though. Most of the time they’re around $2.99, and they’re always getting new ones.

The newest addition to my “collection” is this notepad/calendar thing-a-majig. Seen above. I’ve found it super useful to keep track of social media stuff, and jot down notes for the whole week. Beside the column for Monday there is skinny blank column which I wrote down a few tasks I need to do everyday such as sharing posts on twitter, and facebook. I also use it to keep track of how much water I drink.

I use the above notepad to write down ideas, and things I need to do that are kind of broad. I use regular list style notepads for more specific daily tasks. Back in October I shared a post, which you can find here, about how I write my lists.

Notebooks are good for keeping track of post ideas. The one shown in the photos above (a TJ Maxx score!) is where I’m currently writing down all my ideas. I used some washi tape to break it down into sections.  Just like my list making, I do a lot of my note writing in a few different steps based on how thought out the idea is. Sometimes, if I’m super lucky, what pops into my head is a complete post idea. In that case I’ll outline the whole post in my notebook. Other times I might have a really vague thought that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to mold into a post – those go into a different section.

I’ve found the most helpful thing for me is to write every single thing down, no matter how crazy or irrelevant it seems. Usually I’ll be able to work with it at some point, it might not be now but maybe in six months it’ll be exactly what I want to write about.

▴ A good pen, obviously! Lately I’ve been using the heck out of this one. I like it for the same reason I actually disliked it when I first got it, I write really tiny with it! I guess I tend to write fairly large but with this pen I almost have to write small. My other favorite pens are the seven year pens by Seltzer Goods. They’re super smooth, and can write 1.7 meters a day for seven years!

So that’s that! I’m not the most organized person but making lists upon lists on pretty paper kind of makes me feel like I am! 😉

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