Creating an Editorial Calendar

In last week’s post I made the case for an editorial calendar. In that post I told you that having an editorial calendar would help save us from the blank page (whatever the “blank page” is for you). I also told you that I didn’t currently have one. Which seems like a bad thing if I’m trying to make a case for it, right?

I thought it might be best if I took my own advice.

So I took some time this week to create an editorial calendar of my own and I thought that I would show you what it looks like. As a bonus, you’ll get a pretty accurate sneak peek into what I’ll be writing about over the coming weeks.

What exactly is an editorial calendar?

Now, before we get to the actual calendar I wanted to take a little time to explain what an editorial calendar is and how you can go about creating your own.

Wikipedia tells us a little about editorial calendars:

Editorial calendars are used to define and control the process of creating content, from idea through writing and publication.

Simply put, an editorial calendar is just a list of what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it by. Typically it’s used in publishing content (like this blog) but I don’t think you have to pigeonhole it to just publishing content. You could really use it for just about any creative endeavor you have.

In my case, I will use my editorial calendar in the traditional sense. It is just a simple list of what I’m going to write and when I will publish it. This should make writing easier for me because I’ll know from the very start the subject that I’ll be hitting on that week. Then it’s just a matter of sitting down and writing. No more “What am I going to write about this week?” The question has already been answered.

For you, this might not look like writing. For all you Comic-Con goers out there, this could be a list of which cosplay projects you want to create and when they need to be done by.

Or … maybe it’s a list of all the school projects that you have to do and when they are due. Like a master syllabus. It’s not as much fun but … getting it all out in a list might prove helpful for you.

How would I create one?

The editorial calendar itself doesn’t need to be complicated. Seriously, it could just be a list on paper that you put somewhere in front of you where you can see it. In fact, I’d almost suggest that you start out that way. In order to create your calendar you will obviously need to set aside some time to think through what you’re going to do, so maybe just take some notes on paper first. What you do with those notes then is up to you.

This can end up being as simple or as fancy as you would like it to be. Like I said, paper is one option but you should do whatever is going to work for you. You could use a note app on your phone or computer. You could make a spreadsheet and get super detailed with the columns, right? As a writer, you could include the article title, the date it’s due, a checkbox indicating whether or not you published it, a link to where that article lives, etc. If that’s what works for you, have at it.

Also feel the freedom to be as specific or non-specific as you wish. For the writers (or want-to-be writers) as you think through what you’re going to publish some of you might come up with article titles right away. Some of you will just have a general topic in mind. Others of you will only know that in this space for this week I know I want to write this type of article. And all of those are fine. Remember, this is for you, to help you write without the fear of a blank page. As you’ll see in my editorial calendar in a little bit, I have a little bit of all of those types of things. This allows me to focus in when I need to, and to allow God to do a little bit of whatever He wants to do when He wants to.

That brings up another point. This is your list based on what you think should go in those spaces. But leave room for God to do what He wants to do in your space. If you get to a week and you have a specific topic in mind (because you made a calendar 💥) but you feel like God wants you to write something else when you sit down to write then by all means write something else. This list isn’t written in stone. If it needs to change, feel free to change it.

At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you. If it’s simple, go with that. If it’s complex, that works too. I’d suggest you start out simple and work toward complex over time and only when you need it but … you do you.

For me, it’s just going to be a note in my notes app. That way it syncs to my phone and my computer and I can work on my writing no matter where I am.

My editorial calendar

So without further ado, starting with this post, here is my editorial calendar in all it’s glory:

  • 09.18: My Editorial Calendar
  • 09.25: A Seven Week Cutting Program
  • 10.02: First Thoughts on iOS 14
  • 10.09: A Small Story is No Story At All. Thoughts on being comfortable.
  • 10.16: Letting Go. What life has been like since my son started college.
  • 10.23: A devotional of some kind
  • 10.30: The Powder Mage Trilogy Book Series Review
  • 11.06: The Power of Habit and Routine
  • 11.13: Results from LIIFT 4 / 10 Rounds Hybrid

Like I said, it’s just a list and a due date. Nothing more. It’s subject to change on a whim. It’s gives me a base to work from and that’s what I need.

I can already tell the difference having this calendar is making. Just knowing that I was going to write about my editorial calendar this week made writing so much easier.

I also took my other piece of advice and have been writing every day this week. The consistent writing schedule along with the editorial calendar have given my writing new life. Here’s to continuing and refining this as the weeks go on.