If you have a long-term comic or blog, coming up with content on a regular basis can feel overwhelming at times. “I wrote a good post today, but what about tomorrow?” “Ugh, I missed an update yesterday and no one seemed to notice…why bother making one today?” It’s easy to get discouraged. I can’t create content for you, but I can help you out by showing you how to set up an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is basically a way to plot out your ideas or tasks ahead of time so you don’t have to scramble for content on a day-to-day basis.
Open up a spreadsheet. I use Google docs since it’s accessible from anywhere. Create a column for every day of the week that you schedule your content on (mine is Monday – Friday, but yours could be Mon-Weds-Fri or Tues-Thurs, etc.) Below that, each row will represent a week. Now all you have to do is plug in your topics!
You see? That wasn’t so bad.
You can even add a column for ideas that you’re not sure where to fit in (see above). The point is that these little calendars are flexible. They’re not set in stone! Don’t feel like you have to obey whatever’s in there. Have fun with it. As you move along, you’ll find other material that is better/more urgent to post. What is important is that you have something you can glance at for ideas – you already did the brainstorming previously, so now you just gotta do the actual work. It takes the mental strain off of figuring out what to do.
Applying Editorial Calendars to Comics
For comics, I find this system helpful because I can see how far along in the chapter I’ll be by the end of the month. I can also add in littles notes to myself to remind readers of special events coming up. Visually, this just works better for me than if I were to plug everything in my calendar, where it will compete with my other events. Sometimes all you need is a simple text field without the bells and whistles of “is this reoccurring? do you need a reminder? who else is attending?”
This system also coincides with my theories about having small goals alongside big goals. You can create a new column for simple to-do tasks to get done each week. Have a convention in a few months? Mark out what you need to get done on a weekly basis leading up to the show. No more scrambling last minute, and you’ll have ample time to figure out if you’re missing anything (which you can then plug right back into your spreadsheet!) Yes, you still need to do the actual drawing/writing/printing/promoting, but everything else is set up to be an easy guideline for you to follow.
I hope these little calendars helps others out. They’ve definitely helped take a load off of my mind – it’s feels much better to be able to check a spreadsheet and just start writing/drawing. This editorial calendar idea is an example of how you can employ a system to help work towards your goals. (What’s the difference between a system and a goal? Find out on Thursday…!)