BuJo How to: Make Your Blog’s Backbone with an Editorial Calendar

TL;DR

My core bullet journal plays maestro to multiple components, conjuring harmony among all while precluding duplicates. One module, focused on writing activities, includes the Editorial Calendar for this blog. A detailed exploration of the contents of that specialized analog calendar follows.

Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes

Table of Contents


Digital Calendars: No thank you!

We enter items in a calendar so we can see them when needed. Tell me: on what planet are serial dots & other forms of “guess!” truncation helpful? I KNOW coding permits word-wrapped text within a calendar block because I’ve seen it in action: KeepAndShare on the web, and app iCalendar on my iPad. When the text overflows the space allotted, KeepAndShare’s cal shows a nifty little scrollbar to review the entirety of the entry. But the BigBoys ignore such coding yummies.

Yes, I’m aware of the ubiquitous Agenda list view. But Momma craves the standard monthly grid view, showing my text, not dumb dots.

Hobonichi Cousin Avec, Serving as Bible for all Writing Endeavors

✧︎︎ Overview

The Hobonichi family of planner products mesmerizes stationery nerds around the world. Despite providing multiple calendar views, the books remain flexible enough to embrace assorted bullet journal needs, like trackers. Hobo books are also thin to the extreme. The glorious unique feature set of every Hobonichi book includes:

  • Tomoe River paper: Adored by fountain pen fans, the strong yetultra thin paper yields a svelte profile, despite pages covering six months (“Avec” variants) of a full year with multiple views of that period. Down side? For the heavy-handed among us, the print written on one side of a sheet leaves imprints on its reverse side. Avoidance techniques? Writing with a fine nib pen coerced me into writing with lighter pressure. Pencil boards, e.g. the cardboard backer of a legal pad, also kill the hassle. Conclusion: the paper instills such profound delight I’m willing to accommodate it’s one grrrr.
  • Well-implemented structure, equally matched with intense flexibility: The word “genius” comes to mind. Every page, in every model—from munchkin A6 Techo to its larger A5 Cousin sibling—can accommodate a wealth of information. The preprinted structure somehow anticipates most needs. Habit tracker? The monthly columns view will satisfy. Bullet journal rapid-logging? Welcome to the Daily section of most models, or the generous pre-numbered blank grid pages section of the Weeks.
  • Year + Month + Weeks (except A6 Techo) + Daily (except Weeks) provide optional views to exploit, destined to conjure an ooo baby! from even the pickiest among us (guilty!)

Full Structural Content of the Hobonichi Cousin/ Cousin Avec

The Cousin holds a full year. The Avec = two books, six months per. All calendars respect the weekEND; read: Monday start date. My usage:

  • Year Grid → book-in-progress writing timeline
  • Month Cal facing pages per month → Editorial Calendar
  • Month Columns → Writing-Process daily tracking (Pam to Pam: GirlFriend, I best see SUMDIN in each day slot, ‘cept 5 days: rest & rejuvenate time)
  • Week of Days as Columns → timeblocking
  • Full page Daily View → notes flowing from day’s work

A Blogger’s Bullet Journal Log: Editorial Calendar

✧︎︎︎ Types of WordPress Posts

WordPress offers multiple post formats in addition to the standard meaty “article.” Translation: posting daily, with judicious use of those formats, requires few live brain cells. The formats:

  • Article: the granddaddy of formats, able to act as each of the other formats; other posting types present special formatting to highlight that type of post—assuming the chosen theme recognizes post format distinctions
  • Aside – think of it as the little sister to a big beefy Article post
  • Link – similar to the Aside format, only it’s a hit-&-run link-focused post
  • Quote – self-explanatory
  • Image: a single image
  • Gallery: a gallery of images
  • Audio: a single song. Love a particular, say, Spotify tune? Add the corresponding URL, and a play button will adorn your page, complete with associated album cover, song title and artist name. Blog visitors can then enjoy listening to a generous snippet of that song. Nice break from retina rotations across a page.
  • Video: a single video. Incredible insights lurk within innumerable TedTalk and YouTube videos. Unlike the Spotify arrangement, videos can be viewed, from your page, in their entirety.
  • chat: a chat transcript.
  • status: a short status update, usually limited to 140 characters.

The practical utility of the last two formats continues to elude me, explaining why I refuse to reward either with capitalization. 😂

Because each grid of the Hobonichi month calendar is formed by mini blocks (about a 3.5mm graph/grid), one can segment a day’s block without difficulty. Quick example: I yellow-highlight the bottom row of each dated block, creating my designated “quote author” area.

✧︎︎︎ Establishing a Schedule

Gurus advocate at least two primary approaches to blogging: post on a regular consistent schedule; and, don’t over-promise.

WordPress’ multiple post formats accommodate each of these dictates, but only if the blogger first hammers out a tentative schedule on paper, electronic or analog. The WordPress scheduling feature coaxes smiles with its intuitive simplicity. Hence, my umbrella approach includes color-coding:

  • Monday: audio ← orange
  • Tuesday: day off
  • Wednesday: image, e.g. my bird photography obsession ← brown
  • Thursday: meaty Article post ← light blue
  • Friday: video post ← purple
  • Saturday: link or aside post ← respectively: green, dark blue
  • Sunday: day off, but I tend to post an image
  • Daily: quote, posted during the 8 a.m. hour ← black ink on yellow background

With the exception of Thursday, no item requires deep thought, so scheduling daily posts is a breeze. This assumes an awaiting stash of “food” to feed the blog, as outlined below.

Maintaining a blog becomes MUCH easier when one plots its course with a detailed calendar
Maintaining a blog becomes MUCH easier when one plots its course with a detailed calendar

✧︎︎︎ The Mechanics of Writing the Entries

● Color-Coding with a Pilot Frixion (erasable!) Ink Pen

The color-coding reflects the post format employed. All writing involves a Pilot Frixion .3mm, .4mm, or .5mm pen, to maintain a neat appearance despite erasures when I alter the schedule.

I greet each new monthly calendar with my yellow “Hi-Liter”, transforming the last horizontal grid area of each dated block. This forms my quote section, into which I insert the corresponding author’s name. By adding the highlight long before text insertion, I encounter no smearing/bleeding/feathering hassles when I write the name over that highlighted area.

● Overview of 4 Primary Steps

I follow four steps in feeding the Editorial Calendar:

  1. Find food to feed the blog, dumping the goodies into separate  eFiles: quote vs aside vs link vs audio vs video
  2. During periodic dedicated Admin sessions, manually pull/mark items to be added in the BuJo’s Editorial Calendar (e.g., preceding the selected item with eye-catching emojis: 🔴 🔜). My habit: one session to go through the files to pinpoint the posting date; another session to feed the WordPress system.
  3. Using that Editorial Calendar as a guide, scheduling postings is kid’s play. The process eats minimal time, courtesy of my copy/paste process. Those days when my brain is fried, thwarting a writing session? This is my go-to low mental-energy task.
  4. When the item is scheduled in WordPress, I prepend a red ✓ to the associated analog Editorial Calendar entry. This distinguishes between schedule-this items and done-deal items already in the WordPress system, the latter finalized/scheduled to go live without my further intervention. This proves a critical step, as I’ve been known to populate, say, 3 months of Monday blocks—audio—of the Editorial Calendar in one sitting.

E-Grocery Shopping, a/k/a Gathering Food to Feed the Blog → Apps

Four apps, and the iOS Sharing Sheet system, assist in my Editorial Calendar maintenance efforts.

✧︎︎︎ Editorial app

With its folding-content prowess,1 Editorial provides a one-tap collapse of all sections to see only a running list—say, the first letter of a quote author’s last name. A tap on any header reveals the content of that section, such as the full content of every quote by every author sharing that first letter. Once a quote is copied, pasted, and scheduled for posting, I prepend a ✓ before the quote in the Editorial app, preventing inadvertent duplicate quote posts.

These MarkUp files live as plain txt in DropBox, making the contents accessible to other devices, such as my ChromeBook. The fancy collapsing is available only within the Editorial app on Apple’s mobile devices.

A collapsed-header view within the iPad Editorial app
A collapsed-header view within the iPad Editorial app

The exploded view within the iPad Editorial app, reflecting contents of header
The exploded view within the iPad Editorial app, reflecting contents of the “H” header

✧︎︎︎ SimpleNote

The contents of this plain-text Markdown-friendly app are available to just about every device imaginable. Free. The relevant files, for my Editorial Calendar purpose, appear with a red vertical bar:

Files listing within SimpleNote / iPad view
Files listing within SimpleNote / iPad view

Why do I refuse to use the native Notes app? I tried. Notes insists on adding “helpful” formatting when that is not my intent. Also, the Notes search facility stinks. A SimpleNote search takes me directly to the line containing my search term(s) within the file. Apple Notes? Leads me to the file, but that’s it; I get to play a game of Where’s Waldo. 😡

✧︎︎︎ Drafts

This plain text app, known only to iOS, is one of three apps keeping me in iPad land. It works hand-in-glove with both Safari and TweetBot, serving as my temporary holding area for captured/copied data. Drafts files live in one’s chosen cloud service—here, DropBox.

Example: While at the TedTalks site, when I see an item of interest, I tap the site’s share button, revealing the video’s “short URL.” I copy, then tap the iOS Share Sheet, choosing Drafts. The title and long URL of the video auto-populate the Drafts pop up screen. I paste in the captured short URL, then tap append. This opens the list of Draft files available. Selecting WP Videos 2Post auto-appends the described video data to the file. A subsequent select-all / cut maneuver allows me to move all data from a Drafts file to SimpleNote.

Why not keep it in Drafts? SimpleNote offers easy fluid access to its contents, regardless of device; futzing with DropBox files is more cumbersome.

✧︎︎︎ TweetBot

While reading my Twitter stream, i notice a tweet of likely interest to my followers. I press and hold that tweet, triggering a popup containing the iOS Share Sheet. I click “copy tweet,” capturing the entirety of that tweet, and the popup disappears. Tapping and holding a second time, I choose Drafts and paste the full tweet, then append it into a Drafts file.

Drafts serves as a superb temporary holding receptacle for items awaiting permanent placement in SimpleNote. Why not capture directly to SimpleNote? Drafts is MUCH easier and quicker.

Copy the full text of the tweet, for pasting into Drafts
Copy the full text of the tweet, for pasting into Drafts

Fleshing Out the Analog Editorial Calendar

Experience rules supreme. Focusing on one post type at a time, throughout serial entries, banishes mental hiccups while enhancing speed of entry.

✧︎︎︎ Monday/ Audio: Spotify, YouTube

During an earlier Admin session, I focused on gathering songs. Opening Spotify, I rifled through my playlists for tentative share-this tunes. Using the menu accompanying each tune, I copied the short code URL, then pasted it into the SimpleNote Audio file. Ditto YouTube videos.

With that stash of tunes open before me, I populate serial Mondays of the Editorial Calendar—typically covering 6-8 weeks—with my orange Pilot Frixion pen: Song title, Artist. As I copy from SimpleNote and paste into WordPress, I prepend the SimpleNote entry with a ✓, using a red Frixion pen.

✧︎︎︎ Wednesday/ Image: WordPress “Drafts” Section of Posts

Skipping Tuesday, one of two designated blog vacation days, I focus on filling serial Wednesdays by opening my WordPress app, and flipping to its Drafts section. That section includes Flickr-posted images, courtesy of IFTTT.com automation: every image I post at Flickr was/is copied to WordPress as a “Draft”, with categories and tags assigned in the related IFTTT applet. Hence, I simply go through the WordPress Drafts, choosing a bird or nature shot to appear each Wednesday.

Using my brown Frixion pen, I enter the bird’s name or caption in the associated day block, then schedule it for publication within the WordPress app. Once completed, I add the red✓.

Sometimes I offer the surprise of an image on a Sunday, the other blog vacation day, following the same described procedure.

✧︎︎︎ Thursday / Standard Article: Brain-on-Wheaties Posts

Thursday is my put up or shut up day, when I post  a meaty article, such as this one. Unlike the others, Thursday’s scheduled post is seldom finalized prior to the preceding Wednesday evening. Why?

While drafting, I may refer to something worthy of its own post. I complete a loose draft of the initial article, then switch gears to focus on that late-breaking new idea. In essence, I wind up with two posts, to be presented on back-to-back Thursdays. The one I finish first hits the next open Thursday slot.

A light blue Frixion pen handles insertion chores. This color applies globally, spotlighting my writing endeavors in this calendar, my timeBlocks, and more.

✧︎︎︎ Friday/ Video: TedTalks, YouTube, PodCasts

One word: insights! The video chosen opened my eyes / heart to some overlooked or unknown topic, enhancing the better aspects of self.

These items are entered on the Editorial Calendar with a purple Frixion pen. As always, a prepended red ✓confirms actual WordPress scheduling.

✧︎︎︎ Saturday/ Link or Aside

Saturday’s entry = rinse and repeat, relying upon one of two resources: SimpleNote files, or the WordPress Drafts area. The latter stash sees frequent additions, courtesy of the WordPress Press This bookmarklet. Synopsis:

  • surf as usual
  • when I see a blog post worthy of sharing, I highlight text within the article
  • I then tap the Press This bookmarklet, creating the Draft post

This process honors my overall blogging motif: under-promise; over-deliver. Those seat-of-the-pants same-day publications are not added to the analog/BuJo’s Editorial Calendar. Each is, however, tracked in my iOS “SM.WordPress” calendar, automatically.2 For now, I’ll just show you a screenie to enhance your grasp of the full aspects of this system. (iPad cal app depicted = CalenGoo.)

Mostly IFTTT automated entries; the black
Mostly IFTTT automated entries; the black “Editing: entry = semi-automated using iPad app LogCalendar (description added manually)

Remember: the primary purpose of my analog Editorial Calendar is to pinpoint  posts to schedule. Where a day already witnessed it’s designated post, I feel no need to note the “extra” later Press-This generated post to the analog Editorial Calendar because I know IFTTT will catch and note it.

WrapUp

A useful Editorial Calendar (word-wrapping text, NOT dots) can be created electronically using

  • KeepAndShare.com—offers a monthly grid with word-wrapping, unlike Google / Apple
  • iOS app iCalendar

or manually. In the latter category, one can commit to repetitive drawing of monthly spreads, or use a preprinted calendar. That calendar may take the form of a print-out (PDF template), or a dedicated calendar book. Having tried each of these options, I’m now a calendar-book devotee.

The Hobonichi Cousin Avec presents structure, yet remains inherently flexible. It’s standard monthly grid answers my need for a structured Editorial Calendar. The section under the grid embraces my live-revision documentation, that is, edits I’ve made using the WordPress system, after the post was published.

Call to Action

If you’ve made it this far, it’s fair to say you have more than a passing interest in creating your own Editorial Calendar. I suspect you’re considering adding it to your Bullet Journal system. Perhaps you sit now with pen in hand, jotting notes in your BuJo’s Daily Log. Think:

  • Will you review your postings to assorted social media sites—a mega-stash for new blog post ideas?
  • Will you review your Twitter faves?
  • Will you review your favorite tunes in Spotify or elsewhere, to provide mini Audio-style posts?
  • Ditto TedTalks, YouTube classes, and other informative videos. After all, folks don’t always feel like reading. Why not mix it up, increasing the odds your blog visitor will find a category of interest?

Starting, or expanding, a blog requires content. My questions to you:

  • How will you avoid reinventing the wheel? (Tip: Explore your niche. If someone else has addressed a topic of personal interest, what precise improvements can your voice, and writing style, present?
  • What specific content have you created, and overlooked, ripe for repurposing for blogging purposes?

Every little bit pushes you closer to your goal, developing a worthy platform for your uniquely talented voice. We need you, so roll up those sleeves! In my very best Temptations voice: 🎵 Ain’t too proud to beg … Ain’t too proud to plead baby baby 🎵

Til later 👋🏽🙃

Footnotes

  1. A (free) add-on from the database of Editorial workflows must be added.
  2. Every one of my social media postings is reflected in an iOS calendar, including every WordPress post (title only). Details in an upcoming post.

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