Organizing Blog Posts… Calendars and You!

Blog CalendarI talked about my Red Binder a little while ago. I love my Red Binder, but I wanted to write about the other tool I use for organizing blog posts.

It’s a calendar.

I use Calendar Labs to create my monthly calendars. I like Calendar Labs, because you can choose which day to start your weeks on. Since Marisole and Friends Paper Dolls always post on Mondays, I can choose to start my weeks on Monday, rather than Sunday. I find it’s easier to plan if I do it that way.

As you can see from the photo, the Calendar gets filled in as I figure out what is going to go up each week. I took this photo mid-November when I was still figuring out what the month was going to look like. These posts often change and move, but my general goal is to have two printable paper doll posts and one non-paper doll post each week. At the bottom of the calendar, I keep a list of what posts I think I am going to have completed in time to post them in any given month.

Since I work in spurts to activity, its possible that I might have four or five pages of paper dolls ready to go up. Now, I could post these all in a row… which would be great for five days.

The problem is that the next five days there would be nothing.

In Blogging, consistency is just as important as frequency.

So, while I might want to show off what I’ve done from a long Saturday afternoon spent working on blog things, I know the smart thing to do is to space out the posts and the calendar helps me to do this. It also gives me breathing room and space and makes sure that I know I’m going to have something up each week. It allows me to plan vacations or busy times of my life without having to worry about the blog.

Does it mean I always manage to get up everything I wanted to get up when I wanted to get it up? Nope, often not, but it sure helps me map out each month and it lets me know if I am going to be desperately short.

What I hate, more than anything else, is realizing at 8pm on a Saturday night that I don’t have a Marisole Monday & Friends post even drawn for Monday. Can I get it done in a day? Yes, I can, but I won’t have any fun doing it and the product won’t be very good. So, I usually don’t. I need to know ahead of time if I’m out of scanned materials.

I think sometimes blogs function under the assumption of spontaneity. There is a tendency to assume that someone just sat down at their computer and produced in a moment a wonderfully written post with great photographs.

I don’t really think that happens. (Maybe I’m wrong? Any other paper doll bloggers want to chime in here?)

A great post comes from planning, from knowing what you want to post and then carefully putting it together. It’s a labor of love and it always takes time. Spontaneity is a myth.

Blogging & Paper Dolls & Organization

As I’ve mentioned before, my apartment flooded.

After it happened, I moved. I got myself back together. I bought some new furniture. I had some wonderfully supportive friends.

One of the things I did this weekend was update the Red Binder. Blog Planning Binder

What, you might not unreasonably ask, is the red binder?

This is how I stay organized. It is called the “Red Binder” or, sometimes when I can’t find it, the “Where the @$^&@# Did I Put That Binder”, but usually the “Red Binder” and in it lives a copy of every serial paper doll on the site and quite a few of the non-serial ones.

Blog Planning Binder I have every paper doll base doll in a plastic sleeve in the binder with multiple copies (usually three to five) and this keeps me from losing the base dolls and it makes sure that I know where they are. Since I tend to sketch when I have time, I usually carry one to three base dolls with me, so I have something to draw off of if I’m watching a movie or have a slow evening at home. I don’t have a dedicated studio space, so I have to be able to carry around my art with me.

The Red Binder usually also houses my calendar where I chart out what posts will go up when. Since I always have multiple things in the works, having a chart keeps me sane. It also allows me to prioritize. For example, if I have just done a fantasy set, I might choose to work on a modern set next for the same series or if I have a holiday coming up, then I try to remember to draw something for it. Though this year, it’s not looking likely that my Halloween project will be completed in time.

If you’re planning on blogging about anything- paper dolls or otherwise- I recommend keeping a calendar and a binder. It’s helpful to have everything in one place. Any thoughts from other bloggers?

Paper Doll Blogging: Advice and Thoughts

I recently got a very kind email from a reader named Whitney.

She asked what advice I would give to a someone starting a paper doll blog, because she was thinking about it and she wanted to know what I thought.

The truth is that I’m not an expert on blogging nor am I an expert on website design or SQL or marketing or social media (I don’t even have a facebook page) or really anything else. Problogger has a really solid listing of articles about blogging and blog starting. I’d also recommend reading up about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the pros and cons of various platforms. Doing homework before you start will make you happier later. I promise.

The thing about paper doll blogs (and really all craft/art blogs out there, I think) is that you’re making all your own content.

Making all your own content is time consuming.

So, here is my one big tip that keeps me sane…

Work as far ahead of yourself as you possibly can.

I know this seems like cheating somehow, but it is the only way I can do this and keep sane. I think it’s is better to have one or two posts a week, consistently, than to post ten and then not post for three weeks.

I like to hope my readers agree.

Next time I’ll write a little about making goals and how I keep naturally disorganized self organized.

Questions? Thoughts? Drop a comment below.

Paper doll blogging: Setting the bar low…

Black and White Laptop to Clip and Color

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on blogging, website design or anything else. I don’t make money doing this and I don’t have a ton of readers. Continue at your own risk.

The trick to blogging I think is this: Set the bar low, so you can achieve your goals.

And no, I am not kidding.

I might want to post every day, but there’s not a chance that’s going to happen. So, if I say I am going to post a paper doll every day and than I fail to post every day, I feel that I have let people down.

At which point, the spiral of self-doubt and guilt sets in. This is a bad spiral.

Instead, I say, I’d like to have post once a week. I know my schedule says four times a week, but my goal these days is a post a week.

I’m moving. I’m starting a new job. I can not keep to my old schedule.

And I think one post a week is about the minimum for a blog to keep itself running. So, that’s my goal. One new paper doll post a week. Sometimes I make this, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I go over it.

But if I felt like I had created an expectation that I would post everyday and failed to meet it than I would end up just feeling guilty and bad about neglecting the blog and I feel guilty and bad about that enough already.

This is supposed to be fun. When it stops being fun, I seriously need a new hobby.

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