2011 Writing Prep: Editorial Calendar

We are barely past the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and here I am crashing through all the fun of the season by bringing up January. There’s no point sticking your head in the sand. The new year is coming and with it comes new responsibilities. To put a positive spin on it, it brings new opportunities to get organized and to create the cushy work environment of which you’ve always dreamed.

In my dreamland, all of my calendars – editorial, home, kid activity and husband, are perfectly synced and color coordinated. In reality, my editorial calendar clashes with the other calendars in a fight to the death, stomping over karate classes and movie nights with reckless abandon. It’s a mess. I somehow get everything done – well. But just imagine if I got them in harmony? I’d be completely unstoppable!


I won’t go into the importance of having an editorial calendar, we’ve got plenty of posts on that here, here and here. Those that have one, take this time to evaluate it. What worked? What could you do better? Do you need a different style of calendar? A different system of tracking? Do you need to place it in a different position? Sometimes, depending on the amount of work you have, placing it right in your face can be overwhelming or depressing. Other times it can be a motivator. In that case, it’s not providing much motivation behind your bookcase.

How about too many calendars? Do you have one to carry, one at home, one on each floor, one on your desk and one or two online reminders? How’s that working for you? Pare down and keep organization tools simple and easy to use.

Don’t force it.

I have a great smart phone. It does all kinds of cool stuff, including keeping track of appointments and due dates. It cannot replace my pen and paper calendar. I know it is completely old school, but there is something about writing it down and mapping it out that works for me. I tried going completely electronic. I was lost and or late for a week. Find what works for you and stick with it. I know a writer who uses the Post-It method. It would drive me crazy, but hey…

Pen in days.

There are days that should be set in stone. Add them in now because if you don’t you’ll likely find every excuse not to set them – doctor’s appointments (you can’t meet a deadline if you’re dead); holidays, administrative days – days you clear up the books, straighten the files, etc. Penning in days is important because it gives you permission to have a life outside of writing.

Editorial calendars are essential tools when used effectively. Take this time to tweak yours.

Making changes to your calendar/methods? Tell us or share what works for you!


3 responses
  1. John Soares Avatar

    Terreece, I’ve tried many different methods.

    What’s working best for me now? An 8.5″ x 11″ weekly/monthly planner that has a calendar of the entire month across two pages, and then each week across two pages. I have plenty of room to fit in all my to-do’s, and I even have space for extra notes.

    I also use 3 x 5 cards when I’m going out of the house for the day or for a short trip.

    For long-term planning I use Word documents that I print out and place in the back of my large weekly/monthly planner.

    1. Terreece M. Clarke Avatar

      Hey John,
      Sounds like you’ve got a system all worked out! How long did it take you to get it right? I may switch to your print out idea for work related items and keep my family to-do’s on the giant wall calendar. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  2. Pat Steer (Gaelen) Avatar

    Terreece, you’re makin’ me miss my Palm Pilot. Seriously – I could write ON it, my calendar was always up to date, and I never, ever missed an appointment. My Blackberry has potential, but after a year, I’ve sadly accepted the fact that it’s just not the same.

    I have a Google calendar on which I plan (loosely) the content for my three websites – mainly by marking out events about which I’d like to write. I have a pocket monthly calendar I carry with me in which I forget to write. I try (hard) to make writing notes in my BB. So far, the Google calendar is the one that I keep up most consistently. I can’t run my editorial calendar in my BB – it’s too confusing against my regular life calendar.

    I remain ever searching for a better solution – and hopefully not missing any deadlines while I search.

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