Blogging Photography

On planning, or not

24/02/2016

Space for the Butterflies - On Planning

Last year, back in the day when I had plenty of time to think, and not enough time to write, I really got into the habit of planning out my blog posts for the month.  I had my monthly planner and I could sit down and fill in the gaps at the start of each month, adding in things that are fixed dates, like Siblings and Me and Mine, and then the 52 Project on a Saturday and anything else that I was joining in with on a weekly basis and then suddenly it would all start to look fairly full and so I’d add in any collaborative posts, any ideas that were throwing themselves at the sides of my brain, longing to be heard, and before I knew it I’d have an entire month mapped out in front of me; all I had to do was write it down.

Well I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit since then.  I still know in the back of my mind that certain things will fall on certain days each month, but I’ve not got it all spelt out for me in cheerful multicolour.

I love how wonderfully flexible blogging can be as a medium, how it can really shape itself not only to us as individuals, but as to individuals at a particular time and place.  When I first started blogging I’d think about whether I wanted to write a blog post, then I’d go and find the camera, find my project, stick it on the floor somewhere (usually without moving the clutter out of the way) or if it was still daytime, into the nearest shrubbery, take the picture, upload it to the computer (slowly) and Blogger (even more slowly) and then write whatever it was that came to mind, publish, and be done.  It was very much a journal brought to life by the Internet.  And at the other end of the scale I’ve spoken to people at conferences who plan their blogs out for months going on a full year in advance.  To be sure they usually aren’t parent bloggers which I suspect helps in the pre-planning, you’re not so tied to the here and now by your very obviously growing children, and I don’t think I could ever plan more than one month, or at a squeeze two in advance.

After a few months of blogging whatever really came to mind when I had time to sit down and write, I’ve started to let a little organisation creep back in at the edges; writing myself a little list at the beginning of each week with whatever I’m thinking about and I’m curious to see what impact that has, not on the writing itself, which I think is fairly consistently me, but certainly the process.

I know that sometimes the germ of an idea needs to rattle around my head for a bit before it all comes together and planning things out gets my subconscious working on the topic. And while I’ve got my own views on what constitutes blogging success, I have to acknowledge that when every book or article I’ve read about blogging says that planning is the key to a “successful” blog; regularly and predictably delivering really good content will make your readers happy and you an overnight superstar with a tidy house and the figure of a model (well maybe not quite all of that), they may have a point.

Even though I’ve been back at work nearly six months now (and wow has that gone fast), I think I’m still trying to find my perfect combination of planning and not planning; the moment at which I can wake up, get on a train, open up a draft post and write whatever comes into my head, or get up, get on a train and start writing straight away because I’m not having to think about what my topic will be.

I don’t think there is or ever will be a one size fits all “how to blog” model, and thank goodness for that, but while I’m trying to figure my ideas out, I’m really curious to hear what everyone else does.  So over to you – do you plan out your posts, by the week, or the month, or the year (I’d love to know what it looks like to have planned your posts by the year), or is it just completely spontaneous?

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  • Bex @ The Mummy Adventure 24/02/2016 at 10:39 pm

    I barely know what I am going to write until I start typing I am so incredibly disorganised. I do currently have a list of outstanding reviews and posts that I know I want to write, but sometimes I find I take a photo that inspires a thought and so a blog post is just created. I tried very hard to be organised at the beginning of the year, spent money on fancy diaries and colourful pens and by the second week of January I was back to my usual chaos. I think after 4 years of planning to plan I should just give up and go with my own eratic style now

    • Carie 28/02/2016 at 9:54 pm

      You’re style seems to be working pretty well for you so if it isn’t broken …!

  • Louise | Squished blueberries 25/02/2016 at 12:32 am

    I’m one of life’s planners, I have to write things down otherwise I get overwhelmed with ideas and if I don’t have a plan I’ll waste quite a lot of time not knowing how where or what to start. I’m trying to work out what the best way is for me to plan my posts. At the moment I’m just writing down ideas when they come to me and then picking one out to blog about when I fancy/have the pictures to go with it. I like your method of planning out the month and I want to get to that eventually I think

    • Carie 28/02/2016 at 9:53 pm

      I have a couple of lists of things I want to write about scribbled out in the back of a notebook and I flip through it fairly regularly for inspiration – I like it best when I can find two random ideas and tie them together into one 🙂

  • Kim 25/02/2016 at 12:38 am

    No much planning here at all. If there is something coming up that I know I want to blog about then I have an idea when I might share it, but other than that most posts have come to me as I look through photos, or sometimes I just sit down and write. I guess if I were looking to blog on a professional basis, then there would be more planning, but it really is just a place for me to journal about our life, share little bits, and hopefully create a space my little man will look back on in years to come.

    • Carie 28/02/2016 at 9:51 pm

      I totally agree about the difference between blogging for a hobby and going pro – if it were my job I would have to be a lot more organised – but I rather like that I just get to do it for fun!

  • sustainablemum 25/02/2016 at 12:47 pm

    I do a mixture of things. I try and publish a post every four days. I don’t have the time to write them more often than that and any longer and I start to loose the habit. I don’t join many if any regular link ups so I am not tied to particular days. I do have a blogging notebook, I handwrite all my posts before typing them up. I find it is better for me to spend the time getting the wording right in a book rather than sitting for hours at the computer. Some posts take weeks to get right in my book before I type them up and publish them. I can touch type so that part of the process is quick! The idea for posts comes from many different places and every now and then I have no inspiration at all!

    • Carie 28/02/2016 at 9:50 pm

      Oh I love that you write then all out first; it brings back some of the magic of good old pen and paper to such a very modern medium 🙂

  • Winwick Mum 25/02/2016 at 4:19 pm

    Mine’s pretty much made up as I go along, a running commentary on what’s going on in my life and in the garden, with a few planned sock-related things in between. I have had to plan a few more things in this year, making space for them in the calendar alongside such gems as “DO NOT FORGET VIOLIN (again!)”, “pay for school trip” and “worming tablets”. I try to blog twice a week and usually my posts are about what’s been happening that week – I like the spontaneity of it and the way that I feel as if I’m having a conversation xx

    • Carie 28/02/2016 at 9:49 pm

      I think spontaneity will always win out for me above too much planning, but it is interesting how it lets me think things through without knowing it – I think it all comes down to what I want to write about; bigger thoughts need more subconscious time!

  • Lee Cockrum 28/02/2016 at 2:15 pm

    I have never been able to get myself into any regular habit or timing. I also do not think I am a very good writer, so the few times I post tend to be for craft challenges.

    I can’t say that I see a difference in the quality of your posts, planned vs unplanned. They are all great!!

    • Carie 28/02/2016 at 9:42 pm

      Aww thank you very much 🙂

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 02/03/2016 at 7:21 pm

    I don’t really plan as such. I like to post at least two posts a week (three including the ordinary moments) so I do have a rough idea of what I want to put on. But if I don’t get it done then I don’t worry. As I am one of these people who only really blog about our lives and what we have been up to, I never write posts up in advance, at the earliest a few days before. xx

  • Sally 31/03/2016 at 8:38 pm

    Plan? Ha! Oh dear, clearly I will forever be a blogging failure! I do tend to have a plan for meals for the week ahead, can that count instead? Eating is clearly more important to me than blogging, and that is obviously as it should be!