I have spent the last two months deep in the query trenches. After polishing my novel and polishing again and again, I finally felt it was ready, and after much work on my query letter and synopsis, I began my query storm.
At first, it was great. I got a bunch of requests for the full manuscript and the form rejections didn’t bother me. But then the rejections on the fulls started coming in, too. And those weren’t as easily passed off.
I’m starting to think that perhaps this novel needs a significant rewrite. And after a few days of thinking on this, the inevitable happened. I wanted to give up.
It’s not a new thing and as a writer, you’ve probably experienced it. It feels at times that no matter how hard you work (and you have worked really hard for a long time), that you’ll never get anywhere. You’ll never amount to much and maybe, just maybe, you are a hack after all.
It’s tempting in those moments to delete my online existence and run from the proof of my yet-to-be-success. But one thing keeps me going, keeps me from abandoning the blog, or even skipping a day when I’m not feeling it. As silly as it sounds, that one thing is my blog schedule.
I keep it on my Google Drive so I can get to it from anywhere. I have it all mapped out, a few months at time. On this calendar-like schedule, I plan ahead as far as I can go. Videos, reviews, blog posts. I know what I’m going to say and when. And this keeps me moving forward and helps me avoid quitting.
Having the schedule has made me a better blogger. And here are seven reasons why:
1. It Feels Like a Goal and an Accomplishment
It’s been proven that a written goal is much more likely to be achieved. But it doesn’t have to be a big goal for that to work. Writing down what you’re going to post for the week is writing down a bunch of little, fairly easily obtainable goals. Then, because you have attained them, you have that sense of accomplishment. This can do wonders for your emotional state.
2. It Builds Your Readership
You’ve heard the saying that we’re all creatures of habit. We like consistency and we like to know what to expect and when. By keeping your blog consistent, you can provide this for your readership, and it will keep them coming back. It’ll also help you identify pockets of tribes to connect with. For example, on my YouTube channel, I do a feature called Tuesday Talks, which comes from a Goodreads group. I know that every Tuesday I can post there and people will watch my video, and also that I’ll have videos to watch and hear other people’s take on the topic.
3. It Reduces the Stress
When you have less to think about, it seems less daunting of a task to blog several times a week. With my schedule, I’m not freaking out all day about what I’m going to write about like I used to when I started. I instead have time to think about my topics and even make notes days or weeks in advance in some cases. When the time comes to sit down and write a post, the work is half done.
4. It will Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses
When I started my YouTube channel, I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough video ideas. I started by planning two videos a week with the option for a third if I had extra content. It turns out, I have three videos per week planned for over a month and others that I have footage for that haven’t even made it onto the schedule yet. This is an obvious strength of mine that I hadn’t realized. Finding material and topics for videos is not a difficulty for me. But, on the other hand, finding a weekly review to do sometimes is. I’ve been able to shift my review content a bit, and it’s helped me blog better as a result.
5. It Gives You Flexibility
You’d think having a schedule would be the opposite of flexible, but it’s not. By knowing exactly what I have planned for when, it’s easier to make commitments for things like guest posts. I can also plan for a backup in case things get delayed, which happens on occasion. Because I know the goal, it’s not a problem to shift and rearrange things. It’s not a question of where this post or video will go or what day I will post it on, it’s only a question of which scheduled thing I will bump to make the new thing fit its appropriate day.
6. It Lets You Work Ahead
Obviously, if you’re scrounging for a blog post topic the night before, you don’t have much chance to work ahead. Then, if something major comes up, like the electric goes out, your computer fails, or your hubby springs an impromptu date night, you’re in a tough spot. Cancel date night to write a blog post? Probably not the best thing for your marriage. But! If you have a set schedule and can plan ahead, you can also work ahead. Especially for video, which can take time to transfer files, edit, export, and upload, I have to work ahead. I usually film several videos at once, then edit a few at a time. With the ease of scheduling posts in both YouTube and WordPress, I can set it and forget it. I just go in and do my social media promoting once the post is live. If the unexpected happens, it’s not going to affect my blog.
7. It Gives You the Opportunity to Dig Deeper
If you really want to explore a topic, it might take time and research. Without a schedule, you’ll find this hard to do. But when you can plan ahead for posts, you’ll have plenty of time to research before you write. Same goes for video. If I want stock footage or something beyond what I usually film, I might need time to gather it. That doesn’t work when a video is filmed spur of the moment.
Do you have a schedule? How has it helped you?