Thursday, 27 November 2014

How to use One Note as a blog planner

Hello there,

As you may have noticed over the past few week, due to a number of reasons, my blogging consistency has dropped. So for most of this week I decided to take a few days off to re assess how I was planning everything. Before I took these few thinking days I was only using scraps of paper, the odd phone reminder and my memory to do my blog planning. It was definitely not working. The first thing I attempted was having an actual folder with sections for blog posts, general diary, social media and link parties. Some that I saw looked so beautiful but I just didn't have the patience for that level of detail, I needed something that I could chop and change- I needed something computer based.

While pondering my thoughts I found an application, pre-installed onto my tablet called 'One note'. At first I was skeptical as it just looked too small on my little tablet screen but when I attached my key board I become hooked! I now use it for all sorts of planning, blogs, college, work… everything. In this post I explain the basics of One note and then show you how I use it for blogging.

*I am not being sponsored for this post, these are all my own opinions.

What is one note?
One note is an application that is found on Windows 8 and is touch screen compatible. The basic premise is that you have notebooks within one note that are then broken down into as many different sections as you like and each section has as many pages as you like.  You can add charts, text, small drawings, pictures, links and other documents form windows applications, you can put them anywhere on the pages so you can organise all your notes however you like.
Probably the best way of explaining it is using the Microsoft video introducing the application.

Setting it up for blogging

I started off by creating a new Notebook named 'Enjoying Today Planner'. When I open One note I go to the drop down and select the notebook I'm after.

Then I can choose any of the sections I want to see. Currently I have 5 sections:

  • Dairy
In here I have a page for every month, in each of these I have one simple, it is a calendar that tells me what to post, when to do certain things that may not be routine and when to link up to parties, it also gives me notes on what social media activities I need to be carrying out. Even though the tables are very basic, it still always me to quickly plan blog posts months in advance of their publish date.

  • Post Ideas
In this section I have pages for a whole list of post ideas, all the series I am doing or planning and any posts that I am working on because I find it easier to write them here and then paste them into Blogger- It's easier to type it here and it means I can develop it offline and in a place where all my other blog related notes are kept.

  • Quote of the week
This section is currently just one page. My past Quote of the week have been pretty rushed and last minute, so having a list with the quote picture and the ideas for the writing that should go with it will really help me. All I have to do is pick one from the list and alter it to fit that week.

  • Link up parties
This section has got a page for each day of the week. On each page is a table that tells me what parties are on, where they are, what time they open and the content that they are looking for. Using this I am able to keep track of all the places I can link up to and hopefully use most of them.

  • Contacts
This page has a table with the name, their contact details and any notes about them and why I may need to contact them. It's useful to have a master list and I find it is better than a contact book as it is in the same place as everything else blog related so the contacts are there when I need them and the section is there to remind me to add new contacts to the list.

  • Stats
I am currently looking at having a section for statistics about page views, comments etc. but as google analytics and blogger to a pretty good job without me also directly keeping track I am going to add this section at a later date.

How do I use it?
It is brilliant to have this fully configured blog planning notebook, but if it just sits on my tablet and never gets touched then it was a pointless task, so how do I make it useful?

  1. I keep my tablet on me when I know I'll have time to use it- if I know I am going to have to get on a bus or a train, I'll take my tablet with me so I can do a little bit of work on the blog. It is unlikely I will have any wifi connect when taking public transport so I can't be distracted by browsing Pinterest or online shopping, it is just pure work time.
  2. Lay out a specific time and place to do blog work- I find that once I get home my productivity crashed dramatically, but if I'm out I can do loads of work. The solution is, get the early bus to college so I can spend an hour in costa with a cup of tea doing some planning. I quite often do something similar at lunch and after college if I have to hang around for a while to wait for my bus home. To say the least, I am now a costa regular!
Insert costa picture here
  1. Be strict with yourself when finding inspiration. It is no good having all these laid out times for work if you have nothing inspiring you to blog. I find all sort of inspiration from all sorts of places. I am getting my stricter with myself about writing down all my light bulb moments in a relevant section in my notebook so I can use it later. 
    Early Morning Costa and with tea in a Santa cup

And to conclude…
This has been quite a long post, but it is now drawing to a close. The main points I want you to take away from this post are:
  • Blog planning is absolutely necessary, if you don't have a system that suits you in place then you blog will being to fall apart quite quickly.
  • Although I write my blog because I enjoy doing it, I have to stay on top of all the maintenance tasks, otherwise no one will read the blog.
  • Blogging is all about technology- you don't have to use pen and paper for all your planning

I hope this post helps people who are just starting up a blog or who are getting stuck in a rut like I was, however I know that a lot of my readers are very experienced bloggers so I would love to know how you do your planning and if you have written a post on it then why not leave a link, I would love to see how we all handle our planning.

Enjoy your weekend

Claudia x