How To Be An Organised Blogger
Day 15 of the A-Z challenge.
O is for Order & Organisation
Type “how to be organised” into the Google search book, and you’ll get millions of results about how to bring order to your life.
They all pretty much say the same thing:
- Set your goals
- Make a to-do list
- Touch things once.
- Delegate where possible.
- Have a system to track progress.
If you’re the type of person who operates to those principles, I salute you. I would rate “good effort” on number 1, merit a gold star for number 2 but only a “must do better” on numbers 3 and 6. Since Booker Talk is largely a one woman band, I’d get to skip number 5.
It’s a topic I’ve been asked to include in this A2Z book blogging series. But clearly I am not the best person to be writing about how to be an efficient and organised book blogger.
Friends, I have come up with a cunning plan.
There are some bloggers whose organisation skills are far superior to my own. Why not get them to write this post I thought! Cheeky eh??
The three bloggers featured here have developed good mechanisms to make sure they are posting reviews and other contents regularly. You may not read as many books as they do, nor have as many commitments for blog tours and review copies. But following even a scaled down version of their systems, could be of help.
Karen @ Kaggsy’sBookishRamblings
I avoid the pressures of blogging by scheduling posts ahead. I keep a monthly paper calendar where I plan reviews to be scheduled and dates, usually with a gap of a couple of days in between, then set aside time when I have a few hours spare and a few books to review, and write them all in one go.
WordPress allows you to schedule posts for a specific date and by having a couple of weeks of reviews ready to be published, I don’t feel so pressured to write about a book immediately if real life is busy.
Linda@ Linda’s Book Bag
My technique for keeping track of reviews for blog tours is a belt and braces approach.
I have a dated spreadsheet with reviews needed highlighted in red, draft reviews in yellow and completed ones in green. I also have a blogging A5 diary with post it notes sticking out of the pages when I need to review as well as a Moleskin diary that I use for personal things as well as blogging.
On top of that, I stack books for immediate review in date order next to the bed! The spreadsheet has date, title, author, author Twitter handle, publisher, publisher Twitter handle and who contacted me about the book.
I did try keeping a publication date spreadsheet too, but so many publication dates have moved this year I’ve abandoned it!
Oh, and as soon as I’ve read a book, I draft a review before I begin reading the next.
Over my ten years of book blogging I’ve developed a review scheduling system that works for me.
My first step is to add the book to my Goodreads account, placing in the appropriate shelves eg. ARC, Netgalley, Edelweiss, Publisher etc. As a Goodreads librarian it’s also convenient to be able to enter ARCs into the database.
The second step is to add the book to a calendar app (iCalendar) on my iPad. I choose a date I’m planning to have the review appear on Book’d Out and use a colour code system so it’s easy to ‘read’ at a glance, for example the initial entry is blue, I change it to pink once I’ve read it, and then green once it’s reviewed and scheduled for publication.
My third step is to add it to the Review Schedule page on my blog which is just a list sorted by year and month of publication. After the review has been published, I add a link to the post on my blog.
The next step is to add the cover to my scheduled monthly book haul post, which I call Bookshelf Bounty.
The final step is to add the book to the cataloguing software I use, BookCollectorz. This software, among other things, lets me specify where I can find the book eg on a specific shelf if it’s a paperback, on my Kindle or Bluefire App etc
Writing it all out like this makes it seem like scheduling is a lot of work, but it’s simply a habit after so long and helps to keep me organised and on track.
Let Me Ask You A Question
How do you keep organised in your blogging life? Are there any tools you use or do you rely on your memory? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.
44 thoughts on “How To Be An Organised Blogger”
Loving, loving, loving all of these tips and insights! I’ve got to say, I’m a long-time adherent to the old-school colour-coded spreadsheet. I have one that’s set up as a month-at-a-view calendar, with each day flagged with what’s coming (BOOK REVIEW, EMAIL NEWSLETTER, etc.). They get colour coded according to when they’re drafted/scheduled/done. I also keep a second “miscellaneous” spreadsheet, where I track things like upcoming new releases I’m interested in reviewing, ideas I have for future posts, etc. I’d be lost, entirely and completely, without them!
I like to be organised but I’m finding that sometimes organisation can start to drive me, so I try to keep it simple in blogging:
– every book I review is entered in the order it is received (with the date deceived) in a notebook, that sits in the bookshelf with the books. I note against the book if it came unsolicited (because like Lisa I read that as or when or if I wish.) When I finish a review book, I tick it off in the note book, and either take the next book down or read one of my own choice. I always read review copies in order.
– I move emails relating to review books to an email folder called “Book review requests”.
– with very few exceptions I write my review within a day of finishing the book, and will post or schedule it depending on how my posts are going. I don’t like to inundate blog readers if I can help it when I have a lot to post, and I like to spread the posts when I have little to post! And I can’t stand having a backlog of reviews. This only happens when there’s been a major stress or challenge in my life (like my recent elder care issue.)
– for Monday Musings I have a note in my Notes app where I write ideas for posts, and I just go to that when I don’t have a plan for a particular week.
– for Six Degrees, I have another note in my Notes app where I plot the books. I copy the plot – usually just the titles and a few words for the link – into my blog and then flesh it out.
– I do love spreadsheets but I use them more for a record than for planning: I have one where I record all books ONCE they’ve been read, and another where I record my Six degrees books once I’ve written the post.
I love WP’s scheduling option. I use it for 90% of my posts I’d say. Even if I’m going to post soon, I often give myself a few hours or a day to think about the post. But even then I tweak after a post has been published!!
Oh, and I loved shelleyrae’s organisation. I think something like that would be necessary for people who read the zillions of books she does! For me, a simpler system works!
As always, I’ve written too much! It’s the nature of the beast that is me!!
I like this insight into your system. I should really adopt your approach using Notes for ideas. Right now mine are in different places – some are in a spreadsheet and some in a notebook.
Giving yourself space between finishing the piece and it going live is a good idea – often times when I’ve written something I leave it for a few hours.When I read it again invariably I find a better way to phrase something
Notes is great. I have a folder for my blog and then separate note docs that I just add to as needed. As a result, I have in my cupboard a bulging box of pretty notebooks given to me that I just don’t use. I feel sad about them but the convenience of having all my ideas in one place is just too useful, even if not pretty,
I use Notes to draft my posts for reviews, #6degrees etc in too because I work from my iPad
I hate the WP app for writing posts, Shelleyrae, and so always wrote them on my laptop, but I love the Notes app for planning.
I like to think I am both. I began using spreadsheets for work in the early 1980s (Lotus 123). When I purchased my own first computer (an Amstrad word processor) using a small part of a redundancy settlement late in ’86, colleagues purchased as a leaving present a spreadsheet software package that worked on the 256 byte (Yes! Bytes, not kilobytes, megabytes or gigabytes!) machine. You had to build it up line by line and column by column. I was still using spreadsheets, togeteher with other specialised software for work until I retired in 2006.
I use a spreadsheet to record my daily word count, allocating sub-totals to different projects: blog/Medium articles/Fiction WIP.
Oh I remember Amstrads. We thought we were kings when we became the owner of one of those little delights. How our expectations have changed
Loved reading through these different planning approaches from fellow reviewers, but especially enjoyed Shelleyrae’s system 😀
Impressive isn’t she? I’m nowhere near that organised. Glad you got something out of these insights into other bloggers’ practices Tracey
Thanks Tracey 🙂
Thank you to Karen, Linda, and Shelleyrae for sharing how they organize. I’m impressed! Organization is such a struggle for me, but I’m working to simplify and streamline. You’ve all motivated me to keep working at it. I’ve tried spreadsheets in the past and abandoned them, but I did create a new one just last week for digital ARCs so they don’t get lost/forgotten on my e-reader. I do have a white board in my office where I list reviews I’ve committed do writing outside of my blog so I see those daily.
Your white board is an interesting approach Chris. I keep track of ARCs purely by including them in my computer-based calendar and colour code them so I know they are review copies but the dangre is that sometimes I forget to look at the calendar. You can’t ignore a white board though!
Oh, you’d be surprised what I can ignore. 😉
All kidding aside, I do have to make a concerted effort to look at the white board and still plan my reading and writing accordingly. I can be rather delusional about how much I _think_ I can get done in a certain amount of time.
Oh me too. I tried and tried when I was working to be more disciplined and to plan only for 60% of my day as per the advice on time management. But it seldom worked. Even now in the new locked down environment my to do list for the day is super ambitious
Sounds like we are two peas in a pod. I try to double how long things will take me and that still doesn’t help.
I’ve never tried that but since you found it didn’t work, maybe I dont need to give it a go. One task I can knock off the to do list already
Lol Chris, you aren’t the only one!
You asked about a policy of our blogs for reviewing books we dont like. Well, in the first place I dont tend to finish them, so its not right to publish a review. And secondly there is already enough disparagement in the world and on social media, and difficulty for writers, and I dont want to add to all of that.
But occasionally I do write critical posts, usually in the series I have on older women in fiction. This is because I think the book has caricatured the older woman character, and I feel that is something that needs to be drawn to readers’ attentions.
Or I think the book offends moral principles (eg Rebecca).
Otherwise I am neutral, mildly enthusiastic or wildly enthusiastic.
Thanks for your alphabetic guide to blogging. I have enjoyed many of your posts.
I respect your stance Caroline. There is no absolute right way to manage the issue so the key thing is to think through your own rationale which is exactly what you’ve done
No real system here. I have certainly used WP’s scheduling feature for my “Monday Memories” posts which were all written well in advance then edited and loaded up on Sundays with a scheduled publication for sometime in the early hours of the following day.
BTW I think the question with whcih you ended this post belongs with an earlier one. (Which possibly illustrates one of the perils of being too organised!)
You win today’s prize for spotting my error Frank. Yep you are right, it was an old question and my changes to it didn’t get saved. Will see to that now. Thanks!
If only I were as organised as to write content in advance like you do with your memories post……
Nope. Spreadsheets are an anathema to me. I have a tatty notebook in which I list my reading and a few other stats as well. My growing list of Hits and Misses, to be published mid-December 2020. And a brief record/review of what I’ve read. Works for me. Each to their own.
I have a theory that there are word people (who like documents) and number people (who like spreadsheets). So I suspect you are in the “word people” camp. Who says we have to have snazzy tools when a tatty notebook does the trick just as well for you
I am the most disorganised blogger I am not the most organised in real life so I oten just review here and there but I admit I could do with a plan some what as last year or so I am finding it hard to motivate and find time
you blog so often Stu I’ve often wondered how you can keep up the pace you do. Are you one of the clever people who can do a review very soon after finishing the book? That is one way of keeping organised
Good use of #5!
I just let out a huge guffaw at that comment. Never thought about it that way but yes it was a form of delegation ! Sneaky of me wasn’t it !!!
I’m interested in hearing how other bloggers organize their blogging endeavors. I use a multi-blog annual template in Scrivener. It allows me to plan ahead as well as collect material for lists (a particular fondness of mine that I try to avoid obsessing over in my posts).
good idea to keep a list of possible list items. I’m always scrabbling around for those when it comes to Top Ten Tuesday
Gosh, the other ladies are super-organised compared to me! I just read what takes my fancy, as a rule, and then schedule the reviews. I don’t have a masterplan… 😀
I thought your mechanism of scheduling in advance impressive too. I’m always bang up against the deadline
It’s my sincerest desire to be better organized! I have a good internal sense of organization…in a given week I have a clear idea of what I’m doing but beyond that, things get fuzzy fast! I did invest in a planner solely for blogging this year…..I note pub dates and sketch out a rough posting schedule…..I’m growing in my discipline to actually use it! I’ll plan for the month and then near the end of the month I look back and find that I’ve done something quite different! Then I go back and make my planner match the actual product! I like the idea of having a reference for next year….so that’s my main motivation for a planner. I am fairly careful about pub dates and the corresponding reviews….but I’m very impulsive about the rest of my blogging. I love Shellyrae’s color coded system!
Thanks for bringing us different strategies! It’s helpful to consider all the options!
You’ve tickled me Carol with your revisionist technique on your planner. Any kind of planning is better than none so even if you don’t follow the plan exactly, I bet you are in a stronger position with it that you are flying completely by the seat of your pants …
Lol 😂 I’m also THAT person who makes a list and includes items I’ve already accomplished so I can check them off!!!
Only track the To Be Written in the widget “Currently reading” under the title “Upcoming Post”
My work life is made of calendars and deadlines, there is no way I’m going to do this in my free time and apply it to blogging.
I have a suspicion that the computer gremlins mangled your first sentence Emma?
No obligation to do anything you don’t feel comfortable about
I think that we’re missing the “I” before “only”. I don’t know what happened.
I’m in awe of the colour-coded calendar and all, but I’d find it stifling for my free time. (I have a work colour-coded calendar!)
Like Linda, I’m a fan of the colour-coded spreadsheet.
I’m a long long way off the sophistication of that system. I have got as far as colour coding the entries on my computer based calendar – but I keep forgetting what each colour represents 🙂
The nearest I have to a system is that when a book arrives that I’ve committed to review, I add it to a specific shelf at Goodreads so that I know what date it arrived on. (I try to do them in order of receipt, but…)
I also find it my One Note files where I’ve saved the correspondence about it, and turn that into an Outlook task and set a deadline of 6 weeks. If it turns red, I’m running late.
Unsolicited books are on a separate shelf and I review them as and when or if I please.
I don’t think I want to be organised…
You may not want to be organised but what you’ve just described sounds pretty organised to me. You have a system and it works for you. That’s all any of us can really aim for
Oh my goodness… I have no system! I just write a review/ post and then publish it :-O Wish I had enough time to write in advance and schedule posts.
I very rarely manage to write in advance. I’d love to think that one day I could write two or most posts to give me a breathing space but I don’t have the level of energy it requires. Back in the mists of time when I was a journalist I could write multiple stories – almost churning them out but now I am such a slow writer….