This has been a year of surprises, don’t you think? I know it has been for me. I began 2020 with optimism and hope, but in late January I got sick. Pneumonia knocked me off my feet until early March.
I waited too long to go to the hospital and my heart rebelled. I now have systolic heart failure. That was one major stumble.
Then COVID-19 entered the picture, and I stumbled once more. I fumbled around in 2020 and my writing goals flew out the window.
I just finished this year’s editorial calendar. What is that? Simply put, an editorial calendar is a way to keep track of what you want to write, and when you want to write it.
I thought it would be difficult, and I didn’t look forward to it. However, upon reading Shaunta Grimes’ method to create a calendar last year, the ideas flowed.
The first step was to determine my niche. Afterward, I chose themes and brainstormed blog posts for each theme. Following is my process of completing my editorial calendar for the year.
I always knew I wanted to write, and I wrote only for myself without regard for my readers. But I did not have any readers because I had published nothing.
Then I discovered the Ninja Writer community. They taught me to write through workshops, classes, and coaching, and with regard for my readers. They even gave me insight on publishing, editing, and income streams.
I admit I’ve been a Ninja Writer since 6/19 but I could never write a blog post a day from a draft to a publishable article. I believe it is because I did not have an editorial calendar I could live with.
However, this year already looks different. It seems I have clarity and focus. It may be because we are in the dawn of a new year (or day).
I know, I know that sounds v.e.r.y. cliche. But I’m really beginning to believe that this year looks better than ever!
I said all that to say my editorial calendar helped me to find my niche — women in menopause.
I had to choose several themes for my niche. This wasn’t too difficult for me after I put a little thought into it. Overall, though, writing has never come easy for me.
But when I write, I get lost. Not in the sense you might think. I get lost in time. It is a surreal event.
I sit down to write and before I know it, the alarm on my phone is dinging to get the grandkids off the school bus. An entire six hours have passed!
It is unbelievable! Writing is like a spiritual experience. It pulls me along ideas, down word pathways, and through the valley of text to peaceful streams.
Then I set my pen on the desk.
I believe this state of writing is called flow or in the zone. Writing this post, I am following the same creative process. Whew, back to my calendar.
As I thought about my themes for a while and meditated on them for a few minutes; the words began to form in my mind. Women, Family, Menopause, Love, Caregiving, Podcasting, and Writing.
With your permission, I’ll touch on each theme with a sentence or two.
- Women: I write to them because they are stressed and overwhelmed.
- Family: Without women, families will not exist.
- Menopause: Every woman over 50 will go through it.
- Love: Women are in it or out of it. We need help both ways.
- Caregiving: Women are traditionally the caregivers of the world.
- Podcasting: I started a podcast for women by women and about women. Those who are too busy to sit and read but can listen to a podcast.
- Writing: Women have written in diaries, journals, and scrapbooks, from the beginning of time. We are the voices of the world.
On to the last phase of this post — brainstorming. It felt just like the word sounds. My brain was in a storm. I decided to brainstorm 7 blog posts for each theme.
Things started clicking at this point. I got all excited and couldn’t write fast enough. Wow, I need to speed this up by writing my drafts on-line instead of long-hand. I bet you can guess my age!
Anyway, I’ll only list 4 blog post topics, one for each week of the month. Out of those 4 topics, I’ll write 3 posts for each one.
- Self-care: We need to learn to take of ourselves. We put others first and neglect our bodies, emotions, and spirit.
- History: Women have changed the course of history, i.e. Cleopatra, Golda Meir, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
- Aging: We are all doing it. Women have specific issues related to the aging of their bodies, faces, etc.
- Incarceration: The U.S. incarcerates more women than any other country. Women of color are disproportionately represented. The rate of females over 50 is increasing.
You can make your editorial calendar as detailed as you want. For instance, you can schedule 3 posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
These are examples of my creative process thanks to Shaunta Grimes, the founder of Ninja Writers. The important thing is to create an editorial calendar. This is probably the one tool that you need as a creative writer.
The calendar helped me immensely so far this year. The pressure to come up with ideas for posts almost dissipated. But I must admit I’m not perfect. Neither are you.
We will stumble and fall.
However, you can maximize your time and unleash your creativity by planning your themes and content ahead of time. Make it yours. Do what works for you.