Saturday, October 29, 2011

Editorial Calendar For The Organized Writer


Am I a tease? I keep saying I’m going to write about an editorial calendar, and everyday I write about something else and only allude to this editorial calendar thingy. (Feel like I should have slipped and used the word ‘elude’, but that’s really extraneous and hardly worth anyone’s time, and just because it struck my fancy, it doesn’t excuse the colossal waste of time that this run-on sentence has so far been and continues to be.)

I’m rather exhausted, but since I’m here and have this keyboard in front of me and have not suffered a recent head trauma that has rendered me unable to recognize the alphabet and basic rules of grammar, well, I might as well jump into things, right?

I tend to ramble. I easily lose focus. I won’t go so far as to say that shiny objects become my entire existence when spotted, but my interest is easily bought, you might say. I will gladly abandon a project when there is something more interesting to do and so finer, more tedious details, they lead me astray more often than not.

I’m a serial unfinisher. (Can I in good conscience use such a stupid made up word like unfinisher? Ah, I’m too lazy to reword or erase. So move on.)

Will all this rambling, this tendency to abandon projects, to leave things unfinished, I knew I needed to rein myself in somehow.

My first inclination was to write things down in a notebook, to track blog ideas, to schedule posts, to chronicle design changes. The biggest problem, folks? My handwriting has seen a steady decline in readability since I was twelve, and at this point in my life, I can usually read one of every three (and most of that just from memory because I know what I wrote).

Then I tried excel. I’m not that guy. Wish I were, but using and creating are separated by a vast gulf and I’m not inclined to leap. So I kind of stayed cool. Until my New Zealand trip was a looming reality and I knew I had to get my shit together and fast. Back to google and to my wonder, someone actually designed exactly the thing I envisioned. And as it turns out, the concept of the editorial calendar has been around for awhile and is widely used and (this is really disappointing) yet again, I wasn’t as innovative and original as I had thought.

The editorial calendar is a well-used tool for writers. I found a great template at Reach Customers Online created by Tim Slavin. I modified it a bit and then my wife, who uses spreadsheets all day tracking info for the autism program she runs, made it pretty, adding colors and such. I’m sure the colors will add value and is probably lost on my guy brain but subtly I will be affected and end up more productive.

But now I need to learn to use the editorial calendar. Maybe when I get it sorted out, my posts will no longer twist and turn, go no where, abruptly diverge, drift, go back to no where and then mercifully end, stunted and broken and sad.

Or maybe I’m not that kind of writer. We’ll see.

4 comments:

bookbabie.com said...

Oh boy, I only got through half the info on your editorial calendar link and my mind started wandering! Did read your entire post though. I tend to be the opposite, at least where Photoshop or book stuff is concerned. Once I start something I often keep going until I'm a dehydrated lump of fried brain cells sitting in front of a computer monitor at midnight.

MT Nickerson said...

The link and the info is quite dry. It made more sense once I had the actual spreadsheet open in front of me where I could modify it to work best for me. I'm far more visual, I think, when it comes to such things. I need my 'hands' on something in order to understand it best.

Perhaps down the road I will do a more visual post on my personal modifications with screenshots and such...

Thanks for the comment and sorry the link was such a slog...

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

I have a calendar. I use it and then never, ever look at it. Awful waste of my time. It's like the olden days when I carried around one of those day planners so I could write everything down, but again, I never looked at what I'd written.
I've sort of given up. I follow shiny objects instead and refer to scattered slips of paper upon which I write my notes and appointments.
Useless. When it comes to organization I'm useless. Wait...organization eludes me.

MT Nickerson said...

It is exhilarating to write each day as it comes, with vague notions of what will manifest on the screen. But, without a clear plan, I can't progress. I lose track of time, too easily. I lost my twenties that way- gone, poof and wow, here I am, an old and bitter thirty-five...

Sadly...