Building the habit: writing on demand

I can’t count the number of times I’ve said that I’m “getting back into blogging” and then failing. I’d have to succeed at some point! Where that particular point is, I’ve yet to find: but recently I’ve come across various articles (starting from Smashing Magazine’s Blogging for Web Designers: Editorial Calendars and Style Guides) revolving on having an editorial calendar for your blog, which have served as inspiration to train myself to write on schedule.

As a child, I used to write stories, or parts of stories, every day. That changed when I got into college, and ever since then I’ve been struggling to write. As an adult, there are so many things that get in the way: jobs, responsibilities, chores, and the fear of failure. So I either never get around to writing (non-journally writing, that is), or when I do, it feels like nothing more than a chore.

I’ve read something a long time ago, from Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer, which I haven’t really done: writing on demand, on schedule.

The important thing is that at the moment, on the dot of the moment, you are to be writing…

There is a deep inner resistance to writing which is…likely to emerge at this point…. This will begin to “look like business” to the unconscious, and the unconscious does not like these rules and regulations until it is well broken in to them;… If you consistently, doggedly, refuse to be beguiled, you will have your reward. The unconscious will suddenly give in charmingly, and begin to write gracefully and well.

– Dorothea Brande, in Becoming a Writer

Most professional writers (journalists, authors, professional bloggers, what-have-you) probably do the same thing–they have trained themselves to write on demand, to write according to a specific schedule. I’ve never really done this before, although I keep a journal I write regularly in.

It’s time to try and take this to another level, and train myself to write on schedule about other things other than my life (heh). It’s not exactly creative writing, but it’s a start!

Enter Whimsical.nu’s editorial calendar!

Editorial calendar screenshot

The current week in my editorial calendar plugin!

So that’s my blog’s calendar week, using the WordPress plugin Editorial Calendar (with the CSS slightly hacked). I’ve decided to plan out my blogging schedule, and since my blog has five main topics, they fit nicely into one week’s worth of posts (weekends kept free-for-all, but likely to be quiet unless there are time-sensitive things to be written about). Jonathan Thomas’s post at ProBlogger on How to Develop a Niche Blog Content Plan was a good read when I was coming up with this schedule.

The colors should be self-explanatory and correspond to the colors I’ve always had for my blog’s major sections:

  1. Miss Monday – for posts about life, living, and various other personal odds and ends
  2. Tech Tuesday – geeky rambles about the web and tech subjects
  3. Writing Wednesday – musings about my writing pursuits
  4. Thursday Text – for posts on reading and books
  5. Fun Friday – what better way to wrap up the week with games and fun things?

Yes, those are very cheesy weekly names ;) I won’t be renaming my categories or anything, they’re just a cute (uh…) moniker for my blogging week. Based off from Jonathan’s post, Mondays and Fridays are light days, so I’ve reserved the Girl and Gamer posts for those days. The Writer category for Wednesday just felt right, I put Reader on Thursday because I like having a backup plan using Booking Through Thursday, and, well, Tuesday was what’s left for tech posts. ;) It’s just a nice coincidence that I found good topic-related words to pair up with the day of the week (okay, except for the Writer category).

Initially I thought of going by post type–such as a review every Wednesday and a list every Friday–but as I started to work on the calendar itself, it just made a lot more sense to do it by category as there’s less resistance: I don’t have to re-acquaint myself with a different color legend. That said, posts for each category will run the gamut of types from reviews, tutorials, and even simple photo posts.

It will be challenging to keep to the schedule and have a post for every day of the week, but a challenge I’d like to start. I already have a couple post ideas for some of the incoming weeks, and none for some categories–so it seems the challenge will come early!

As they say–it only takes two weeks to build a habit. Let’s see how far it takes before this becomes a habit for me. ;)