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Free Blog Planner Printable Pages!

Free Printable Blog Planner - Melly Sews #blogging

So as I admitted in Monday’s post, (in case you hadn’t already figured it out) I’m a bit of an organization geek, so today I’m sharing my blog planner for this year. My previous blog organization has consisted of a monthly calendar with posts and deadlines filled in hanging on my studio wall, and a running to do list that remains on my desk at all times. On the to-do list I’ve gotten in the habit of putting a star next to 2-5 things to accomplish in a day (depending on how much time I knew I’d have) and focusing on crossing those things out.

How to make a custom blog planner for the year - Melly Sews

I recently read Ruth Soukup’s ebook  How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) (affiliate link) and was inspired to make a custom blog planner like she does. I liked a lot of what she had, but I also knew I needed to customize for my own organizational habits. So, I pulled up InDesign and made a bunch of my own pages, then like she does printed card stock front and back covers and had the covers laminated and the whole thing (all 166 pages of it!) spiral bound at Kinko’s. It cost me $8 and will hopefully take me through the year.

Be intentional - plan out your blog year using this free printable blog planner as a guide

So what’s inside? Well, for each month I have a page for major goals for the month. At the bottom of that page I have a place to list out all the projects I need to sew and work related to my patterns. Limiting myself to 3 site improvements only has proved useful, because sometimes I get into tweaking my site and that can be a total time suck. And reminding myself to connect with people helps me compose those emails related to projects and/or business goals that I keep putting off.

Printable Blog Planner - Melly Sews

I followed that with a calendar page to plan out my posts – which is what I’ve always used –  and a lined page to keep my running to do list for things that don’t fall under the category of writing blog posts or sewing.

Calendar and To-Do List - Printable Blog Planner - Melly Sews

Since I tend to post 5 times a week and send out a newsletter, I made my weekly planner pages reflect that. I put in a checklist for the common steps I follow for each blog post, and also checkboxes to make sure I shared it on some social media. I’m playing with that part – I may decide I want to add to/take away from the particular social media I listed. When I’m sharing a post that isn’t actually sewing, I just substitute “Project made” for “project sewn”. I printed the weekly post planning pages for each week – these are what take up the bulk of my planner.

Weekly Blog Post Planner - Printable Blog Planner - Melly Sews

Because I know I’ll be going to a few conferences this year, I also added blank pages in the relevant months for notes from the conference.

Another of my goals this year is to be more strategic in my advertising for my patterns, as well as to keep a record of relevant stats. It’s nice to look back on those things, which I already do in Google Analytics – but I want to be more intentional about it. I track my income through Outright software, but I don’t really look at their month-to-month stats and charts. So I want to look more clearly at where income is coming from and how much, and where I’m spending it in advertising to be more strategic overall with my business. I hope the monthly tracking page I added at the end of each month will help me with that. Delving in, if you will.

printableplanner_Page_6

To fill in my lovely book, I started with a big sheet of my drafting paper and a bunch of colored markers, then went into an old fashioned bubble brainstorming session. I received Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (affiliate link)  and one of the things he advocates is making sure to bring your body into your work. While I love the digital world, there’s just no substitute for analog when it comes to creativity. And I get more ideas spilling into ideas when I’m physically writing – with pretty colored markers! – than if I’m listing things on a computer screen.

Brainstorming for blog planning

After my bubble brainstorming, I took another day and then have started to fill in my calendars and posts for the year. I’m up through March already with planning – hopefully now I can execute in a timely manner.

planner

I hope I can work smarter instead of harder this year because I really, really, really want more scheduled time off – just to be able to have free time with all my boys when they’re home. This past year has been really hard in that regard since I’ve needed to work mostly when my husband was home so he could watch the boys. Which kind of meant that whenever they were all free I wasn’t. I got better about taking Fridays mostly off this fall, just due to the necessity of football season, so my new goal is to have a weekend day off each week at least – I want to delve into fun with my family just as deeply as I’m delving into work during the week.

So, I hope this insight into my organization helps. And if you’re looking at my pages and you think to yourself, “Eureka! This is EXACTLY what I need to start doing my own planning!” you’re welcome to print my pages from here.

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Comments

  1. says

    Awesome planner Melissa! I use those bubble charts all the time! There’s actually a giant one hanging up in my dining room listing all the different things I need/want to accomplish for the Kids, Blog, House, Shop, Family, etc. It’s a great way to organize your ideas, and it’s just fun to use all the different colors!

  2. says

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! While we have notes in our calendar reminding us of pertinent info, tracking and dates, you’ve taken it to a whole different level. I especially like your checklist for each blog post. You’ve inspired me to work toward creating a planner specific to our needs. THANK YOU!

  3. says

    I love the new planner and I am definitely going to make one for myself as well! What conferences are you going to this year? Maybe I just don’t know where to look, but I feel like sewing bloggers have this secret club with meetings that no one knows about until after they happen, when they post fabulous photos and write about fabric and seam finishing and meeting other bosom sewing friends. :)

    • says

      Ha! I’m going to ALT and SNAP so far this year; I may or may not go to Sewing Summit. It’s great to meet people , but I’d like to go someplace other than Salt Lake City. I didn’t find out about any of those until I read about them on the blogs I follow and saw their fabulous pictures, then I googled and got on the mailing lists for those conferences.

  4. says

    Wow! When you said organized you meant organized! I think it’s so cool that you were able to design and print your own specialized planner.
    I too find myself much more creative when I write with pencil and paper and then transfer to the computer!

  5. says

    Thank you Melissa!

    This is exactly what I have been scouring pinterest for! You nailed it!
    Brilliant design and very functional! Bring it on 2014!

    Work and Family is such a fine balance, especially when you work from home. You would think you have more time to spend with the kids and hubby but it can be far from the truth at times!
    If you find a balance that works, I would love to read about it!

  6. says

    This is a great planner! Thanks so much for sharing it! I am totally an on paper planner. I like to write things down on paper before ever going to the computer. When I’m writing my ideas flow better using a pen and paper. I think I just might do your old fashioned brainstorming idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

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