I tried to make an editorial calendar in January; I had it all figured out in my planner. On Martin Luther King Junior day, I would write a post based on one of his quotes. On the day of Donald Trump’s Inauguration, I would write about supporting people in these precarious and uncertain times. The next week, I’d write about education and civics. After that, I’d write about freedom of speech and the importance of conversing with people who share different opinions than you.
If none of these posts sound familiar to you, it’s because I didn’t write them. I wrote other posts in January, about being on the right side of history, people’s reactions to Donald Trump, my thoughts about studying journalism in this political climate, and opportunities that arise in life. I’m really happy with the posts I wrote in January. I think it’s funny, though, that my editorial calendar did not work out.
In all other aspects of my life, I use my planner religiously. Some mornings, I really don’t want to go to the gym, but if my planner says “Gym” with a checkbox beside it, I’ll find myself lacing up my running shoes. I get so much satisfaction from crossing things off my ever-growing to-do lists, and I love making new lists, planning out my life in a series of checklists. And yet, I’ve already made it clear that my editorial calendar for January didn’t work. Why?
I think part of the reason is that blogging isn’t like the other things I put down in my planner. My reminder to write a blog post is often written beside a plethora of other tasks: to work on my politics essay, to finish reading chapter seven of my textbook, to take my weekly news quiz for journalism, to read a book, to read the newspaper. Those tasks aren’t terrible, but in fulfilling them I don’t exactly get to be as creative as I wish I could be. So when it comes to the task of writing a blog post, I don’t really see it as a task, the way I would view something I need to do to pass a course; it’s more like a fun thing that I’m passionate about (of course, this isn’t to say that I am not passionate about my school work, because I am. There is, however, a difference in my mind as my blog is completely separate from any other responsibilities).
To me, this distinction is important — it is, perhaps, the key reason why my editorial calendar failed. I don’t see blogging as a rigid, structured task. Although my blog does directly relate to what I want to do in life (to be a journalist) blogging is not my job. And so, I relish the opportunity to be creative, to stare at a blank document on my computer and try to fill it with words. The way I view blogging isn’t compatible with a strict schedule of what I will post and when I will post it.
That doesn’t mean I don’t plan ahead, though. The “Sherinaspeaks” folder on my computer is filled with documents, some containing half-written posts that I’ll polish up, some containing mere dot jots of inspiration. I have lists — in my planner, on my phone, in my head, on sticky notes littering my desk — of posts that I want to write, topics I want to explore, questions I want to delve into. In other words, I have passion for blogging. Beyond aiming to write one post a week, and interacting on the blogosphere on what I aim to be a daily basis, I don’t want to plan out anything else.
Looking back on the calendar I made for January, and the spreadsheet I created in hopes of reconciling the experience with yet another editorial calendar (spoiler alert: I’m not using that one, either) I am kind of glad my calendar failed. Because, although the calendar failed, I didn’t. I still wrote posts I am proud of, and I still made lots of lists of future blog post ideas. From my failed calendar I simply learned that, for this specific blog, for this passion which is not a job, I enjoy being spontaneous and creative with my posts. And who knows? I’m sure someday in my writing career I will need to make an editorial calendar. But until that day comes, you can find me blogging sans calendar.