Friday, 25 May 2012
Blogging Organisational Tips
So, we scaled it back a bit and stopped putting ourselves under so much pressure. No one else expected a post from us every few hours. Hell, I'm sure no one even expected a post from us every day! Now, almost two years down the line, we have a system in place that works for us. With Dee in college and me working full time, it's sometimes hard to find the time to write, take product photos and be creative while also still devoting 100% of our attention to our respective studies, jobs, hobbies and social lives.
With this in mind, I thought I would share some of my own organisation tips that make blogging a fun add-on to my days instead of feeling like it is a chore or a second job. I'm not in anyway saying that I am the gospel on organisation tips and how to run a blog but, if you are already a blogger and are finding it hard to juggle everything or if you are thinking about starting your own blog and don't know how to fit it in around your already hectic life then, this may be of some use! Take from it what you will and, please, if you have any tips of your own, leave them in the comments!
My number one piece of organisational advice for the busy blogger is to always think at least two weeks in advance. Have a list of post ideas that you are constantly adding to and write and schedule them ahead of time. As it stands, I have posts scheduled until the middle of June. It means no last minute panic when a post is due up and you can always rest assured that your readers will have new material to enjoy! If there is something pressing or something you just have to share with your readers as soon as possible, just reschedule another post and pop the urgent one up instead!
The Words Can Follow
Good quality pictures are really the backbone on which blog posts are built. It could be a Pulitzer Prize winning author writing the post but, if the pictures are poorly lit and hard to decipher, readers will be turned off and not take the time to enjoy the accompanying words. I take advantage of natural daylight whenever I can to ensure I get good quality shots, especially of products where I want colour payoff to be as accurate as possible. Working during the day often means that, in winter especially, I miss the chance to photograph in natural light so, I have got into a habit of taking pictures on a Saturday and Sunday morning for all of the posts I have planned for the coming weeks. Take an abundance of pictures and write the posts when you run out of natural light!
If All Else Fails, Fake It
Sometimes, you just don't have any opportunity to utilise natural light. In this case, fake it with a natural daylight bulb! The results won't be as spectacular as they would be if you were snapping away at midday but, you won't be left with pictures that have a hazy yellow cast and in which colours are totally distorted. I ordered my daylight bulb online for €8. It's always good to have a back-up plan!
Keep a Calendar
I'm my own worst critic and put myself under insane pressure in all aspects of my life. Sometimes my brain just feels insanely crammed full of information; blog post ideas, upcoming events, work, gym, holidays, money, and while none of these things are particularly taxing or worrying, trying to tend to them all individually often gets me in right tizzy. So, when I feel that stressed, panicked feeling coming on I stop what I'm doing, take a deep breath and sit down with my calendar to plan it all out. I use both my phone and wall calendar to keep me in check and the act of literally compartmentalising and boxing off everything I have to do soon relaxes me and I can focus a lot better. In the same vein, I also keep lists and tick everything off as I complete it. Both of these tips make the hectic jumble of work/life/blog a lot more approachable.
Give Yourself Some Structure
I work best when I know where the finishing line is. Giving me an open-ended task will just lead to procrastination but, knowing when I'm supposed to have posts up ensures that I just knuckle down and get them done so I can put them out of my head and focus on something else. I post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Dee does Tuesday and Thursday so, I always know that I will need around 12 posts for the next month and I'm happy to chip away at them little by little. If you're writing a blog solo, don't put too much pressure on yourself. Decide what days/times you want to post at and write posts with this schedule in mind. This will ensure that you take time away from the computer screen but, it will also give your readers a sense of regularity. If, however, you're not able to post one day or for a week, don't stress, just pop up a quick "Be Back Soon" post and resume normal service when possible!
This final organisation tip is really just for those of you who, like me, are anal about how your beauty products are stored! While I keep my regularly used make-up in a set of Ikea drawers, I have a second set of three plastic drawers that I use to organise products at various stages of the reviewing process. The first drawer contains products to be photographed and written about; the second drawer holds products I have photographed but, still need to write about; and the third is a mish mash of products that I either have not yet tried or am unsure about reviewing for a variety of reasons. While this system may seem ridiculous to some of you, it helps me keep track of what I need to do and also gives me inspiration for other blog posts.
So, that's just some of what I do to stay on top of things! As I said before, I'm no expert but, I do practice what I preach and it works for me!