How I Use Scheduled Posts

So, this post from Lois Elsden has me thinking about how and why I schedule blog posts.

I do schedule posts, especially if I know I won’t be available on a particular day. For instance, I can tell you right now that I’ll be gone on my mother’s birthday. I don’t know what I’ll be doing to celebrate, but whatever it is, it’s a priority for me. So, I’ll put in a post ahead of time.

I also schedule posts in advance for blog-hops and events where there’s a topic, or a short story to be covered. I have A-to-Z coming up in April, and I’m already looking at filling in some of that time. (Last year, I did a lot of ad-libbing to cover the space.)

The other way I use scheduling–and I’m not completely predictable about this–is that I schedule posts to go live about an hour before I get off work. That way, the post is out there, and I can respond to the first round of comments as soon as I get home. (Hypothetically, not an actual skill I have. Not always, anyway.)

Well, it beats the crap out of getting home, writing like crazy, and letting the post hit right before supper or bed, or whatever other thing’s going to keep me away from the wi-fi.

Ideally, I’d like the blog post to be a part of the writing day, and far enough ahead that I have some wiggle room, if the fiction writing runs over, or if something unexpected shows up.

I’d like a stockpile of “schedule-able” posts for those last minute surprises, and I’d like to be a day or two ahead, in general. No “oh, shit, what am I writing about now” posts. I’m getting there.

I’m still feeling out the kind of posts that work well as scheduled, vs. the kind of posts that need to be absolutely fresh. For instance, nobody really cares if that short-story is from last week or last year. And that reupholstery project? I’m sure it’ll be in fashion for years to come. But, if I’m writing about a current event, it kinda helps if the event is still current.

It’s not hard to tell the scheduled posts. They’re on the hour. The rest of them are on Karen time. (two thirty seven, anyone?)

So, what about you? How do you use post scheduling on your blog? Any tips? Horrible warnings? Let me know.

Momentum on the Internet; or, I Choose To Celebrate

I’m about ten views away from hitting my 5,000 view milestone with this blog. That’s taken me two years–give or take–but the first year was pretty much practice.  For the first year, or so, I only posted very sporadically. I was trying to post the Lepterians  novel, and the total number of posts was probably in the neighborhood of three or four a month.

I mention this because I really don’t know whether that’s a good record, or a bad record, or if there are people laughing at me from behind the internet while I celebrate something miserably pathetic. I know, of course, that it’s still microscopic in the grand scheme of things.

What I don’t know is how it compares to other writers’ experiences. Objectively, there’s a big question mark there.

I feel behind. I feel as though two years should amount to more than that, or that maybe, I just haven’t hit that magic formula of personality and content, yet. I feel like I need a podcast, a YouTube channel, and maybe some guy in a big chicken costume, handing out brochures on the street.

And, at the same time, I feel overwhelmed and grateful that that many people are paying attention. I’m celebrating. Of course, I am. It’s taken me a long time, and most of that time was outside my comfort zone.

So, tell me about your experiences. Are there certain milestones you celebrate? Achievements you weren’t expecting–that a-ha! moment–that I should be looking forward to? Are there things you’d do differently, if you were back where I am now, looking to do it over again?

Presenting My 200th Post

Let’s be honest. Getting here took me a lot longer than it should have. There’s something huge about blogging. It’s the whole combo-platter of anxieties, and an empty page to boot. So, yeah… about a year and a half. Five months, once I decided to sit down and do it.

That’s probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned. Whatever you want to do, get out there and do it. Get moving! The goal is a whole lot closer than you think.

The next part–I’m relieved to report–is that people have been a whole lot more encouraging than I would have guessed at the beginning. Everyone I’ve come into contact with has been completely respectful and positive. Everyone. I haven’t had one single negative or abusive comment.  This is a good community to be part of, and even when we disagree, it’s in an incredibly warm and inspiring way.

Thank You!

And I’ve met some incredible, brilliant, and talented people along the way.

I had a lot of trouble, at first, figuring out what I was going to blog about. Writing, mainly. Goals. I wanted a space to share some of my WIP, and that’s what this was going to be.

I don’t revise that fast, and no one wants to hear about my writing statistics. Writing isn’t a spectator sport. And also, it needs more explosions.

Later on, when I decided to write about whatever came into my head, things got easier. A little less focus on the writing, but more humanity in the blog. It worked for me.

So, here I am, 200 posts later.

I haven’t died of exhaustion.

And I haven’t completely embarrassed myself.

And I’m going to keep going. Because you guys make it worth it.

Thanks again, everyone!

Unexpected Milestones in Blogging

When you start doing something, there are milestones you expect. Evidence of progress that is predictable: A particular number of views, or followers, or posts. For instance, I’m approaching my 200th post. There’s nothing particularly surprising about that. You just write the first post, and then, keep going.

In addition to that kind of milestone, you have the kind of milestone you weren’t looking for until you run into it along the way. Things like the callous on my big toe. I didn’t think about it before I started dancing, but there it is. Proof I was there. A nice souvenir.

I’m talking about the milestones that come with their own aha moment and announce themselves when you get there.

Today’s milestone?

My readers started talking to each other.

Yeah. In the comments on my blog. There are people… and they’re talking to each other.

Oh!

Didn’t know I was looking for that.

In hindsight, it seems obvious that it would happen eventually. I mean, I have a blog. It has a theme (Specifically: Pretending this blog has a theme.) It makes sense that the people who read it would have enough in common that they’d start talking eventually.

Surprise!

It’s like the first time you run into someone who looks just exactly like your character running around on the street.

So… what are the milestones that took you by surprise? What accomplishments did you reach without knowing they were there?

Goals and Blogs and Measuring

I’m having a bad week on the blog. My numbers… my numbers are down. Not horribly, not catastrophically, but just a dismal little dip from what I’ve had the past couple of months. And, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.

In general, my numbers tend to be a little erratic. They jump when someone reads the Science Fiction Experiment, and then… well, they fall. Last month was a really good month. And then, the numbers fell.

I’m looking at graphs, and reminding myself that I have an upward trend, over all. I’m on track to be well ahead of where I was in… June, for instance. Long term, not to bad.

I’m not sure numbers–particularly the kind of numbers I’m thinking of–constitute goals. Sure, they’re measurable, but they aren’t exactly in my control, even if they’re the result of things that are.

SMART Goals are supposed to be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Right now, my primary goal with blogging is to post something every day, except for Sunday. (or at least average 6 out of 7 days.) I can do that. It is within my control.

I could see “Contact at least (number) of similar blogs per day” as a goal, or “leave comments on (number) of blogs per day” as viable goals. I could also see variety based goals–add a podcast on Tuesday, or a read-along video on Friday as working well.

Does anybody else have ideas for SMART blogging goals?

 

R is for Repetition and Results

Click to Visit other Participants!

Click to Visit other Participants!

We’re getting on toward the end of the A-to-Z Challenge–only nine more letters to go–and I’ve done well with it. It’s April, and I’ve already gotten more traffic than I did during all of last year.

I want to keep the habits I’ve started to build up here. I want to get to the end of the challenge, and keep going. So, now, I’m beginning to think about what happens after Z. I thought about blogging all the countries in the world, but considering how often I’ve gotten up and forced myself to make a last-minute post, that sounds like a lot of research. And probably a lot more diplomacy than I can muster, most days.

Whenever I’ve done something repeatedly, I’ve gotten results. I may not have wound up at the Olympics, but I do wind up with something better than I had before.

So, most of what I’ve done on the blog is from my novel. I’m revising as I go, so that’s a little slow going. I don’t think I could ever build up much of an audience from novel posts, although the people who like the novel really do seem to keep coming back for more.

And I’ve done some short stories. My concern on short stories is whether posting them here is really the best way to go. Sometimes, when I’m writing for a blog hop, I get to a point where I’m looking at my story, and thinking “Hey, this is really good. What if I–” but I’ve already decided to use it for the blog.

What I haven’t done–up until A-to-Z–is a Regular, Reliable schedule. Admittedly, there have been some times this month when I’ve felt like I’m chattering away at the Universe, but I have results to show for it. Good habits. A few new friends.

So, what’s going to come after Z for you? Any plans? Suggestions?