Advice is a good thing, helpful advice is even better and advice that you can use and implement over a period of time is the best. I love gathering helpful writing tips and tricks from others in the field, however, if you’re like me you’ll come across a list that has several great things you want to start doing or using and in the end you find yourself on new method overload. So over the next five days I’m going to ease you into five ways to shine up your writing skills.
Today’s tip: Editorial Calendar
If you’ve been in the business for a while or are a quick study, you’ll know the editorial calendar is one of the most written about writing tool out there. This horse has been beaten, dissected, examined, cloned and put in a jar of formaldehyde, but there is a reason why the editorial calendar gets so much attention – it works.
An editorial calendar is not just a calendar that lists assignment due dates, it is a roadmap to consistent, effective output. To have a helpful editorial calendar you need:
- To use it consistently. It’s a daily/weekly tracking tool, using it monthly defeats the purpose.
- To use what works for you. Don’t buy a giant wall calendar to record everything when your other important information is on your electronic calendar and vice versa.
- To plan more than due dates. Plan your brainstorming, interviewing, researching, writing and editing time as well.
- To pen, not pencil in freetime and rewards. You work hard, give yourself a break.
- To see when you’re booked. A day, week or month can fill up pretty fast when you plan out the time it takes to research, produce and edit quality work. Writing it down prevents overbooking.
- To use it as motivation. A full calendar means you’re blessed to be a working writer and you can track and manage where and with which clients you spend your time. A less than full calendar either means you are ahead of the game and have taken care of most of your duties or you have opportunities to turn those bare spots to work spots.
It’s inescapable, writers need an editorial calendar. It’s useless and inefficient to try to keep it all in your head and will cost you through hurried writing and missed deadlines. Writers who keep a consistent calendar allow those brain cells that were once used to keep track of all of your assignments to focus on creating impressive turns of phrase and producing heralded work. Give it a try for a month and tell me what you think!
How do you set up your editorial calendar? How has it evolved?