Creating an Editorial Calendar With Trello

When I started writing this blog, I had no plan. I didn’t know what I will write or when I will do it. This lead into a situation that is common for many bloggers:

My blog seemed abandoned because I didn’t write on a regular basis. This bothered me because I wanted to write, but I just couldn’t find time to do it.

Then I realized that getting started is the hardest part of writing a new blog post. I knew that I needed a method which:

  1. Helps me to transform my ideas into a to-do list.
  2. Helps me to keep focused on my next blog post.

In other words, I needed an editorial calendar.

Trello to the Rescue

When I was looking for a way to create my editorial calendar, I found the action method which argues that everything is a project and can be reduced into these primary components:

  • Action Steps are concrete tasks.
  • References are project related notes, sketches, websites, or discussions that might be useful to us in the future.
  • Backburner Items are not actionable right now but they can be in the future.
If you want to learn more about the action method, you should read Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky.

Because the action method made sense to me, I decided to use some of its ideas for creating my own editorial calendar. I use a Trello board and follow this simple process:

  1. When I have a new idea, I add a new card to the Backburner Items list. I don’t filter any ideas at this point. This list can have a lot of cards and it will have a lot of silly (or stupid) ideas. I read all cards found from this list on a regular basis and discard silly or stupid ideas.
  2. When I decide that an idea is worth doing, I move the card to the Action Steps list and assign a due date to it. This is my to-do list and every card that ends up on this list symbolizes either a blog post or an other task (update WordPress, create a resource page, answer to a comment, and so on).
  3. When I start writing code, I move the card to the Example Application list.
  4. When I start writing a blog post or recording a video, I move the card to the Text / Video list.
  5. When the task is done, I move the card to the Done list.

My editorial calendar looks as follows (if you want to see the full width image, click the thumbnail):

If you took a close look at my Trello board, you probably noticed that some of my blog posts are long overdue. I think that this is normal and there is no reason to worry about it as long as this doesn’t happen to every blog post that ends up on my to-do list.

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

I have been using this method for over a year now, and I have noticed that it has helped me to stick to a regular writing schedule. I think that there are two reasons for this:

  • I can split larger projects into smaller tasks that are easier to start (and finish).
  • I can finish these tasks because I know what I should do next and when should I do it.

What kind of an editorial calendar are you using? If you don’t have one and you are having trouble to hold on to a regular writing schedule, do you think that something like this could help you?

3 comments… add one
  • Shakil Sep 4, 2015 @ 1:18

    Trello is new to me & I might have to explore it fterhur. I've not heard of it but am a huge fan of Wunderlist. I was very excited when Wunderkit was launched but I haven't really warmed to it at all. I found your blog post by Googling an issue Wunderlist is having right now by not displaying the tasks set for Tomorrow'. This is one niggling glitch of Wunderlist, together with some tasks jumping into other lists randomly.

    • Petri Sep 4, 2015 @ 18:31

      I have heard that Wunderlist is pretty good (I have never used it myself). The main reason why I use Trello is that I have to use at work and I want to use the same tool in my own projects as well (I have different account for private stuff though).

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