Discussion: To Schedule or Not

Posted March 7, 2016 by Emily in Discussion / 12 Comments

Talk Laurel

I love to schedule my posts ahead of time. I love knowing that my post are ready to go up and I don’t have to worry about it. On a good day, I have the entire month scheduled and I’m working on posts weeks ahead. I got started scheduling FAR into the future during the Blog Ahead. It really helped me create a habit that I have stuck with. I love the illusion of freedom that being scheduled makes me feel. Like I don’t have to worry about the blog because it takes care of itself (even though we all know that’s not true.

However, lately, I’ve noticed that there are real negatives to this habit. It’s not all roses and I get annoyed with myself about it.

The first negative is an inability to be spontaneous. Sometimes things come up in the blogging community. A big event happens or some drama. Something that EVERYONE has an opinion about. Unfortunately, these community kerfuffles happen with some regularity. When I’m scheduled so far ahead, I don’t have the free space to just whip up an opinion post about it. There have been times this year that I was envious of people who said on twitter, I’m upset about something, I’m going to write a post and then they did! These people had a post about what was upsetting them up in an hour, not a week. This is something I’ve never done.

Another big negative is about having to reschedule and post shuffle ALL. THE. TIME. Even if I’m scheduled a month ahead it always seems like there is something that I forgot I needed to post and I have to shoehorn it into the existing schedule. I’m always shuffling my posts around and rescheduling what is posted when. It’s such a pain in the butt because I have certain things that have to be posted certain days, so I can’t move those. Then I have to adjust all my prescheduled posts both in wordpress and all of the corresponding promos for the posts. It seems like I am forever rescheduling everything. If I didn’t write stuff so far ahead, I wouldn’t have this problem.

Just like everything in life, it’s a trade off. Which do you choose? Are you scheduled months out just for the convenience that it affords you? Are you a fly by the seat of your pants kind of blogger who is always open to talk about anything that may arise? Are you some combination of the two options? I want to know! Maybe your way is better than mine.

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12 responses to “Discussion: To Schedule or Not

  1. I WISH I could schedule a month ahead of time. Currently, I’m only scheduled 3-5 days ahead and that’s difficult enough to keep up with.
    For me, it wouldn’t be hard to simply write another post if I was immediately inspired to do so by an external event. I’d just post it that day in addition to any other post previously scheduled. That makes sense to me.

    Blogging can be so demanding and all-consuming sometimes. If only I could get paid to blog full time! 🙁

  2. I have book review posts scheduled out into part of next year, and I’v allready moved one post back to this year. I don’t have the content inserted until Mom has a look. I’m willing to grab opportunities for artists and blog about them as they come, so I don’t just have a monthly blog. I also want to put poems up there and convert them into an ebook to give away for free. I’ve tweeted this post in the hopes that it will generate lots of traffic for your blog.

  3. I just got started in this blogging business in January. I like to post ahead of time because I do go to school and work and don’t always have time to write blog posts. But I sometimes do like to write a spontaneous blog post, as well, and the reshuffling is hard. :/

  4. I’m a combo. My podcasts are scheduled in advance (I’m through April, I’d really like to get 2 full months ahead though). Some of my other posts I’ll do a day or two, but mostly I write and publish. It gives me the flexibility. Downside is that if I have a rough week and can’t get anything up, nothing goes up.

  5. I’m definitely more of a post-when-I-have-time kind of person, but that’s mostly because I just started blogging and I haven’t really had a chance to sit down and think about scheduling. It definitely requires a lot of planning, but I’m hoping to come up with a vague schedule for the summer. I don’t plan to post everyday though. That way if something exciting happens I can always post on one of my “other” days. I also love spontaneously posting rants on my blog and not having a scheduled posted up everyday allows me to do that as well ?

  6. I used to schedule all my posts, but found the same thing you did. Then, I would just schedule reviews for Monday and Friday which left the rest of the week open and worked pretty well for me.

  7. I know what you mean. I love being able to a have it all scheduled out, but your points hit home too. I used to have it all planned out a month in advance too. Now I pencil the schedule in and only schedule up to 2 weeks. Halfway through so I can still add a post. I don’t normally do opinion posts, but incorporate my thoughts further on a review. One thing for me is how I see others ‘ reviews are rather short, but mine tends to be very long!

  8. I love that you did this post! I’m really interested to hear other perspectives on this.

    My target is to have two weeks of posts written and scheduled. I work further ahead on recurring series, like my monthly favorites/re-cap, monthly book club, etc. Only about one post a week is really committed to that time slot – that might be a recurring post that always goes up on the same day, or a holiday-themed post. That gives me enough flexibility that I can push a post back to a later date if something really urgent/exciting/inspiring motivates me to write something new.

    I have four writers that also contribute to Imaginary Book Club, so I think scheduling in advance is essential. If it was just me, I might feel a little more flexible, but as it is I think I need the structure at least through the end of the month to see where I might slot in different posts.

    I’d also be curious to hear how others work with guest posts and contributors – how much advance time you require on posts, and how you manage that process.

    Whitney @ Imaginary Book Club recently posted: Author Overview: John Steinbeck
  9. I did Blog Ahead over the fall and was super excited about it, I love scheduling but I have found that I need to leave a few days open for the reasons you stated – random events, opinions, a review that I really want to get out to the world. So I schedule but do give myself a good about of wiggle room. Although at this point I am only pre-scheduled for about a week or two ahead, not months and that seems to be working best for me.

  10. Hi Emily!

    I like to have posts scheduled, but I rarely work very far ahead. I love the feeling of knowing I have something coming up that I don’t need to worry about because it’s complete.

    I recently decided to try and shift the focus of my blog from books to writing/editing, and in doing so have been trying to feature my own helpful content once every other Monday. That and my Stacking the Shelves posts are really the only ones that get scheduled much more than a day in advance.

    I write and publish my book reviews right after* reading because if I don’t a) I’ll forget what I thought about the book, and b) if my review might help someone decide whether to read the book, then I don’t want to delay it.
    *Depending on the day and the amount of posting I already have planned, this may get scheduled for a day or two later than when I draft it.

    I would love to have content scheduled for up to a month in advance, but the truth is I don’t have that much content in me to crank out in order to get ahead. I have lots of drafts though, little pieces that need putting together and bulking up.

    I can see how being scheduled could be irksome, though, for the reasons you listed.

    I think it would be perfectly acceptable to post something in addition to your scheduled posts if there was something that merited immediate attention. I think it would bring in a personal aspect that’s immediately palpable that might not be available a month or two after the fact of whatever has happened.

    I barely post three times a week, on average (I guess). You know what I did yesterday? Posted three separate entries. One was supposed to be posted two weeks ago that I found lurking in my drafts, and the others were unrelated but needed to get out there.

    Well I feel like I’ve been plenty long-winded and unorganized for the time being, thanks for the discussion!

    Julia

  11. I like scheduling. Simply put, I never know when life might come up, and it’s nice to know I have at least two weeks of stuff ready to go on without me.

    When I did a month long feature to F/F fiction last month, though, I had to turn down some great cover reveals and books to review because my month was booked solid. That did make me sad, but I know it’s not a regular thing.

  12. I have a similar sort of method. I schedule but only a couple weeks at a time. My reviews go live on Thursdays, so I have reviews scheduled from now to mid-April. I’m liking being this far ahead because it allows for personal reads that really fit into the blog criteria i.e. adult books/Star Wars Extended Universe. With feature posts and discussion posts, I only schedule one or two weeks ahead. That way I have some room from spontaneity, but I also don’t feel like I’m unprepared. In addition to scheduling posts, I have a monthly planner that I schedule posts with. I write in pencil so I can erase and move things around. I find it works great for me. I hope this was somewhat helpful to you.

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