Want to Publish? 5 Books You Should Read First

If you’re wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you’re in the right place.

5 Books You Should Read If You Want to Publish a Book. If you're wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you're in the right place. These are my top five book recommendations.

These are my top five pics for laser-focused, practical advice for everything from finding your story to deciding what type of publishing to pursue. So yeah, that’s why I think these are books you should read if you want to publish a book.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Books you should read if you want to publish a book

I’ve arranged my “books you should read” recommendations into a bit of a road map: figuring out what to write, outlining and drafting, deciding whether to self-publish or pursue traditional publishing, collaborating with other writers and influencers and getting book reviews. It’s the publishing journey if you will. The actual writing, that’s up to you.


The Creative Compass

The Creative Compass: Writing Your Way from Inspiration to Publication

This book could be for the writer who isn’t exactly sure HOW to write a book. Yes, it’s that practical. It could also be for the writer who has an idealistic outlook on what writing and publishing will be like.

Kind of a reality check without being a jerk about it.

When it comes to writing, we can develop our skills and boost our talent through thoughtful practice…. By continuing to write, we build stamina and patience, eventually exceeding our own standards to the extend that we can raise them.

The Creative Compass (117)

What I learned: every idea starts with passion, meets with discouragement and must be battled with persistence.

When writing the most important thing is to find a way to keep going despite the hard work, stress, lack of confidence and insecurity.

DREAM, DRAFT, DEVELOP, REFINE, SHARE

I spent a lot of time in the last third of the book. I underlined, wrote notes, even wrote “Amen!” beside especially good quotes (“If a sentence expresses an essential idea, advances plot, reveals character, or conveys relevant sensory detail that contributes to emotional effect or atmosphere then it’s probably worth keeping…. If not—snip, snip” Amen! [175]).

Fast Fiction

Fast Fiction: A Guide to Outlining and Writing a First-Draft Novel in Thirty Days

Even if you don’t call yourself a writer you might want to write a book. There are so many stories waiting to be told and, who knows, you might be the person to tell it.

What’s great about author Denise Jaden’s latest book Fast Fiction: A Guide to Outlining and Writing a First-Draft Novel in Thirty Days is she makes you feel like digging out the story deep inside you is possible.

And the 30 days thing? Bonus.

I’ve wanted to write a book for a while now, maybe forever. As a kid I drafted a 100-page Choose Your Own Adventure of twin girls who get lost in Mexico while trying to find an orphanage (scary part—I experienced this trip IRL 10 years later with a friend…) and for the last two years I have felt like it’s time to try for real.

And I have. Tried that is. But I keep getting stuck and I have never known why.

Fast Fiction tells me why: I didn’t know how to write a book. I didn’t plan it beforehand, I just sat down at the computer and expected it to come together.

After reading Jaden’s book I finally get it. I do have a book in me I just didn’t have the tools to dig it out.

self-publishing versus traditional publishing Review Header

How Do I Decide? Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing (A Field Guide for Authors)

Although the title aptly summarizes the six chapters, I wanted to add it’s not just for those wondering which method of publishing to pursue.

This book works to change the question from “Which one should I choose?” to “How can I utilize these tools best to support my goals?”

I loved Rachelle Gardner’s straightforward approach to this complex question. She spends time analysing the pros and cons for both traditional publishing and self-publishing. As well she works to dispel common self-publishing myths and makes it crystal clear that self-publishing should not be an excuse to publish poor writing.

This short read is packed with material and is perfect for people who aren’t quite sure where to start with publishing, people who want to understand all the different publishing options, and people looking for credible resources to get started.

Did I mention chapter six is all about resources?

In my opinion, this is where the real value of this book comes in. It lists further information on self-publishing, how to get an agent, where to look for editors, reputable book cover designers and more.

Creative Collaborations

Creative Collaborations: How to Form Lasting and Lucrative Partnerships without Being Smarmy

The Internet says collaboration is the action of working with someone to produce or create something. OK, that makes sense.

And Kirsten Oliphant says it’s like roller derby. I had to think about this for a bit because I don’t know anything about roller derby but I think I get it: you stop being a lone wolf and instead become a teammate.

You work with others to achieve a common goal.

That sounds nice in theory, but isn’t setting up creative collaborations with your competitors risky?

The risks: You could get burned, you could have your work stolen, you could be let down. All of this could happen when you work with others.

However, there are also potential benefits:

  • You could grow strategic partnerships that bring you further than you could go on your own
  • Also, you could make new friends
  • Another possibility is you could join a tribe where you feel encouraged, strengthened and inspired to keep moving forward

Throughout Creative Collaborations, Oliphant overviews different types of collaborations, builds an argument for why we need creative collaborations, teaches the difference between good and bad collaborations, cautions about legal implications when collaborating, and gives tips for creating life-changing collaborations.

If you’re wondering how collaborations can change your business (and maybe your life), you will love this book.

How to Get Great Book Reviews

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career (HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers) (Volume 3)

Why you need reviews (I’m borrowing from the book’s argument here, but I hold it as well):

Reviews are platform builders

Regardless of negative or positive, stars or lattes, reviews give you the chance to be a better writer, learn more about your genre, and know your target reader better.

Reviews are resources for endorsements

Blurbs, praise, bullets, whatever. Need some nice quotes? You can get them with book reviews!

Reviews can be networking tools

Both getting and giving reviews gives you contacts with editors of review journals, contacts with other reviewers who are potential reviewers of your books, contacts with other authors who need quotations for their books or referrals.

Once you’re convinced you should get book reviews, then you’re ready for the rest of the book. It walks you through alllllllllllllll the things you need to think through and plan for.

It’s a lot, but they payoff is worth it. Not only that, but once you have the reviews the fun is not over! You can reap the benefits of past reviews for years to come.

If it’s time to do marketing, get this book.

These are my top five books you should read

All five of these books you should read recommendations are quick and practical with a ton of actionable advice.

The big idea is you’ll read through them and then apply what you learn. My hope is you’ll move the needle forward as a result of reading these books.

5 Books You Should Read if You Want to Publish a Book. If you're wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you're in the right place. These are my top five pics for laser-focused, practical advice for everything from finding your story to deciding what type of publishing to pursue.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
5 Books You Should Read if You Want to Publish a Book. If you're wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you're in the right place. These are my top five pics for laser-focused, practical advice for everything from finding your story to deciding what type of publishing to pursue.
5 Books You Should Read if You Want to Publish a Book. If you're wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you're in the right place. These are my top five pics for laser-focused, practical advice for everything from finding your story to deciding what type of publishing to pursue.

How to Write an Outline for Anything

Here’s where I’m at: I don’t believe outlines cut off creativity, which is why I’m advocating for outlines and showing you how to write an outline for anything.

How to Write an Outline

If you’re a writer then perhaps you know the term “pantser.” It was new to me. Pantser is a type of writer—one who writes by the seat of his pants.

Right?

The other type of writer is an outliner. Now that one’s a bit more familiar to me. In my heart I’m an outliner. I like having a plan and making it come alive.

I like knowing where I’m going rather than discovering it along the way.


How to write an outline for anything template worksheet

Do you want the worksheet that goes with this training?

I’ve created worksheets to complement this training, available for download. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the writing section and look for “How to Write an Outline for Anything Worksheet.”

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Now, on to the training.


What is an outline?

In case you didn’t have to write an outline in school for some reason, this is a formal way of arranging and developing your ideas.

Don’t let the word “formal” trip you up—this isn’t rigid, it can be adjusted at any point in your writing.

An outline can be broad strokes of big/main ideas or detailed and in-depth, depending on your approach.

There’s no right or wrong way to outline, and it can be added to and changed as you go.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Why write an outline?

I sat in a workshop with author Anne Perry (by the way…you should read her bio, I had no idea when I went to the workshop. Wow!) who has written like 100 books or something in her career. It was a fascinating argument for outlining from a prolific author.

Here are the benefits of writing an outline. Keep in mind she’s giving advice for book outlining, but I think it can be applied to any type of writing.

  • You own the plan
  • It helps with plot clarity
  • Outlining gives your story structure
  • Outlining helps the reasons your characters do things make sense
  • You know your character growth/development from the beginning rather than figuring it out as you go
  • Outlining prevents your story from sagging in the middle
  • Outlining cuts down on the amount of rewrites
How to Write an Outline for Anything

What’s the purpose of an outline?

An outline helps you organize your project (article/blog post/book/anything) by helping you check how your ideas connect to each other and discover if anything’s missing.

No matter how long your writing project is, outlines help you see the big picture.

How to write an outline for anything

If you’ve read anything I have to say about content strategy, you may find this a bit familiar. The bones are the same but you get a bit more meta when you write an outline.

Here are the broad strokes in five steps.

  1. Identify your topic
  2. List your main points
  3. Structure your argument (put your points in order)
  4. Add sub-points (make connections between main points)
  5. Evaluate and adjust as necessary

See? Not so intimidating or limiting. You’re just getting it down on paper and making sure what you have to say makes sense.

Make sure to grab the outline template worksheet that goes with this training

This fillable PDF template is available for download in my resource library. This is a free resource but you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the writing section and look for “How to Write an Outline for Anything Worksheet.”

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A few tips for when you write an outline

Identify your topic. This should be short but still a complete sentence. This will be your anchor throughout the writing process, keeping you on topic.

List your main points. Your main points are the things you want your audience to know after reading your work. All the main points should be a building block towards your thesis.

Structure your argument. This needs to both flow and make sense to your reader. What do they need to understand first? Second? Third? As you get into writing you may need to change the order of your points, this is normal.

Add sub-points. Sub-points go under the main points—makes sense, right? To have a balanced work, the sub-points for each main point should be somewhat equal.

If you have seven sub-points for one main point and two for another, it might be time to reconsider your main points as the one with only a couple sub-points may not be a strong enough argument for your overall topic.

And my final tip

Evaluate and adjust as necessary. Read through your outline. Does it flow? Does it make sense? Is it missing anything? Are there gaps in logic? Is there extra stuff?

I hope this is clarifying and will help with your next project.

Remember, outlining is your friend!

  • It take the guesswork out of what to write
  • It keeps your project on track with relevant content
  • Outlining sets you on a strategic plan that moves you forward
  • It helps you avoid burning out
  • It keeps your project on topic

Thoughts? More tips? Pantser push back? Let me know!

If you're a writer then perhaps you know the term "pantser." It was new to me. Pantser is a type of writer—one who writes by the seat of his pants. Right? The other type of writer is an outliner. Now that one's a bit more familiar to me. In my heart I'm an outliner. I like having a plan and making it come alive. I like knowing where I'm going rather than discovering it along the way. And I don't believe outlines cut off creativity—which is why I'm advocating for outlines and showing you how to write an outline for anything.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. You can grab the worksheet that goes with this training and more. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
If you're a writer then perhaps you know the term "pantser." It was new to me. Pantser is a type of writer—one who writes by the seat of his pants. Right? The other type of writer is an outliner. Now that one's a bit more familiar to me. In my heart I'm an outliner. I like having a plan and making it come alive. I like knowing where I'm going rather than discovering it along the way. And I don't believe outlines cut off creativity—which is why I'm advocating for outlines and showing you how to write an outline for anything.
If you're a writer then perhaps you know the term "pantser." It was new to me. Pantser is a type of writer—one who writes by the seat of his pants. Right? The other type of writer is an outliner. Now that one's a bit more familiar to me. In my heart I'm an outliner. I like having a plan and making it come alive. I like knowing where I'm going rather than discovering it along the way. And I don't believe outlines cut off creativity—which is why I'm advocating for outlines and showing you how to write an outline for anything.
If you're a writer then perhaps you know the term "pantser." It was new to me. Pantser is a type of writer; one who writes by the seat of his pants. Right? The other type of writer is an outliner. Now that one's a bit more familiar to me. In my heart I'm an outliner. I like having a plan and making it come alive. I like knowing where I'm going rather than discovering it along the way. And I don't believe outlines cut off creativity, which is why I'm advocating for outlines and showing you how to write an outline for anything.

How to Write a Book | 4 Steps to Get Started

If you want to know how to write a book you’re in the right place.

is it time to write your book | 4 steps to get started

If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next, you’re in the right place.

And if you know you need a solid plan in order to write your book then I’m your biggest fan.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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So you’ve decided to write a book

For better or worse, I’m results-driven more than idea-driven. I love finishing.

Therefore, when a great idea comes up, the first thing I do is break it down into smaller pieces and figure out how to make it happen.

I know this approach isn’t as exciting as allowing adrenaline to fuel your writing passion. But what’s the goal here, to feel good or to finish writing your book?

Over the years I’ve helped organizations and individuals publish many, many pieces (articles, books, magazines and more) on deadline. Which is more difficult than you may think.

More often than not the writing part of the process comes down to four steps:

  • Find your why
  • Choose your theme
  • Find your genre
  • Schedule writing time

You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet

Do you want the worksheets that go with this training?

I’ve created worksheets to complement this training, available for download. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re in the resource library, navigate to the writing section and look for “You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet.”

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Now, on to the training.

How to write a book

Step one: Find your why

Think about why you want to write a book and also why you’re the right person to do it. If you take a few minutes to figure out your why you may find you have many reasons. Try and choose a main (primary) reason. This primary why will help you create the rest of your book-writing (and marketing) plan.

Here are examples of possible why’s:

  • Build an audience or platform
  • Be known as an authority in your area
  • Make money
  • Tell an important story people need to hear

There are no wrong answers here. One person’s why isn’t morally superior to another’s why. Be honest and figure out the primary reason behind why you want to write a book.

Write it down.

This will help keep you motivated when it stops being fun and starts being hard work.

Elements in a well-rounded author platform

Step two: Choose your theme

The next step is choosing your book’s theme. Every story has a theme—an overarching point. In her book Story Sparks, author Denise Jaden asks writers to review seven simple themes and choose the one that they’d most like to read a book about.

  1. Love
  2. Faith
  3. Forgiveness
  4. Trust
  5. Survival
  6. Honour
  7. Acceptance

From here, once you have a focus word, you can take it deeper. Instead of “love” your theme may become “love conquers all” or “love comes at a price.”

Find that driving point behind your story an write it down. This will help you develop your story line and characters down the road.

Step three: Find your genre

This step is super practical. You need to know which genre your book fits into so you know what your word count should be. Because, yes, there are rules and the word count change based on your genre.

In general, the main objections I hear to this step are around following the rules or choosing just one genre. Trust me when I say, in general you should follow the rules. Please. For everyone’s sake. Also, this step will help you SO MUCH with step four.

Once you know your genre then you’ll have a word count range for your book. If you’re at this stage, check out the genre/word count list I’ve curated.

(Psst it’s also in the worksheets in my resource library.)

You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet

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Step four: create a writing schedule

Once you know what genre your book is you’ll know more or less how many words you need to write. See? Super practical! Your next step is decide when you want to complete your first draft. This can be arbitrary but it should be realistic. Once you have a date in mind, work backwards, breaking your word count goals into months and then days.

A few things to keep in mind

First, figure out how many words per day you can write. It’s different for everyone so learn what works best for you and build your schedule around it.

Second, build a realistic writing schedule. To write a book you need blocks of focused time. How much do you have available? What do you need to put in place to protect it?

Third, create strategies so you stick to your schedule. There will be days you don’t feel like writing. Find ways to write anyway.

When creating a writing schedule make sure to answer these questions:

  • What’s your deadline for finishing your first draft?
  • How many words is your book going to be?
  • Break it down, how many days per week are you going to write?
  • How many words can you write per day?
  • How many words per day do you need to write to meet your deadline?

If you want more on this, check out my training on creating a writing schedule.

if you want to write a book, following these four steps will help you accomplish your goal

I work as a project manager for my day job, which often looks like bossing people around and saying no to things.

In reality, a project manager brings big ideas to life and organizes tasks in a way that makes it possible for the team to get things done.

This role helps people prioritize and keeps an eye on the big picture. It’s a thankless job but an important one, nonetheless.

When I first took on this role it took me a while to realize most people don’t think like I do. Motivated by enthusiasm and emotion, people tend to dive into exciting tasks without thinking about how it will go or when it should end.

Then, when it becomes cumbersome and less fun…and other projects come up…it gets put aside, unfinished.

The people I’ve met at my workshops and speaking events are much the same.

They get a great idea for a book and dive into writing with little (or no) regard to when they want to finish or how long it’s going to be. And then, when the project becomes messy or other ideas crop up…the great idea gets left behind on the hard drive, unfinished.

My goal is to help more people finish their big, exciting projects by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable and realistic steps. I hope this training has helped you! Please let me know how you fare.

By the way, I taught this workshop from June 13 to 15, 2019 at Write Canada.

If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next, you’re in the right place. This workbook will guide you through the four steps you need to take BEFORE you start writing.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next, you’re in the right place. This workbook will guide you through the four steps you need to take BEFORE you start writing.

How to Create a Blog Content Calendar

There’s so much value in a good plan. I built my content calendar a few years ago and I’m keeping to it today.

Content Calendar

Here’s what I did and how you can do it too.

A content calendar helps you out!

  • It take the guesswork out of what to write
  • It keeps your blog on track with relevant content
  • A content calendar sets you on a strategic plan that moves you forward
  • It helps you avoid burning out
  • It aligns your blog with your core goals
Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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I’ve been a professional writer for a long time, but up until this year I didn’t put together a blogging content calendar.

Why?

A few reasons I suppose.

First, because I create content calendars for everyone else so my blog was the last thing I touched in an average freelance day.

Second, because I was a bit paralyzed in overwhelm. So many ideas. Too many things to write about. You know, the usual blogging problems.

#bloggerproblems

But I knew the value of a good plan—there’s nothing like a calendar to tell you what to write and keep you on track.

Long story short, I told myself to quit stalling and created a sweet content calendar. I built it last fall, I implemented it in January 2017, and I’m keeping to it today. Here’s what I did and how you can do it too.


How to create an editorial calendar

1. Get clear on who you’re talking to (your ideal reader) and what you offer (what’s your goal? what are you trying to achieve?)

I spent a few months figuring this out. Here’s what I came up with: My ideal readers are creative freelancers. I help busy people do marketing.

To get clear on my blogging goals I took tips from people I trust but I found the most practical help from Denise Duffield-Thomas’ Planning Process. In this post she outlines her step-by-step planning process and links to her simple business plan. I filled it out and used the plan I came up with as the foundation for my content calendar.

Discover your idea reader worksheet

Is it time to refine your ideal reader?

I’ve created a free worksheet for just this purpose! It’s a free PDF but it’s in my resource library and to access it you’ll need the password.

Pop your email address into the form below, confirm your email subscription and I’ll send you the password to my free resource library. Once you’re in look for “Discover Your Ideal Reader Worksheet” in the writing section.

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2. Decide what your topics are

Once you know what you offer, it’s time to brainstorm what topics you want to cover.

For example, my ideal reader struggles with time management, marketing/digital strategy, organization, and overwhelm. Look at that, I have four main topics.

I used these topics as headings, then brainstormed blog post ideas for each one.

From a short session I had 17 ideas. If I decided to blog once per week I all of a sudden had 17 weeks of posts lined up. Wow. OK maybe I could do this.

Want to know more about brainstorming? Here’s my process: How to Brainstorm Ideas for Writing

And third

3. Put everything into a calendar template

There are a lot of options when it comes to editorial/content calendars, everything from paper planners to cloud-based task systems. You need to use what works for you.

After some trial and error I found Trello works for me. If you haven’t heard of it before I’ll give you a little overview of how it works and how I use it.

Trello is a cloud-based visual project management tool. It took me a while to understand how to use it but after a few video tutorials (I watched how other people used Trello) I figured out a system.

How I plan content using Trello

First, I started different boards:

  • Content Calendar
  • Goals
  • Article Ideas
  • Articles in Progress
  • Blog Post Planner
  • Newsletter
  • etc.

Next, I populated the boards with lists. In my Content Calendar board I started with my four main themes and put them on a list of their own.

I have found this keeps me focused on my big ideas when I’m brainstorming individual blog posts. In my Article Ideas board I created 12 lists for the 12 months and put 10-20 ideas/prompts under each list.

For example, my August prompts are back to school, Labour Day recipes, beach crafts, scheduling, planning, gardening, canning, autumn, etc. These aren’t topics I’ll write about per se, but it’s a place to start.

I have different lists in each of my boards. Some are tasks with due dates and some are just lists of ideas, links to articles I want to come back to, or goals for this year.

This is what is working for me. Having a visual plan laid out holds overwhelm back. In fact I haven’t sat down and wondered what to write in months.

Months!

I also like my content calendar because it keeps my blog ideas separate from my freelance work or anything else I’m working on.

Oh yeah, and it never gets lost on my desk.

By the way, if this is something you want to set up I’ve outlined my process in a short (super short) video in case it’s helpful.

Here’s how I plan each month of blog content using a content calendar

I try and plan at least three months of content at a time. When I say “plan” it’s not like I have draft posts written up, but I have a blog topic and maybe a few notes of the direction I want to go with it.

I also have coloured labels for my different types of content and I label it right away.

All the blog topics go in a list I’ve called Articles in Progress. Then when I go to plan a new month I create a new list with the month name and pull the different brainstorms from Articles in Progress to the month blog lineup.

From there I look to see each theme is covered (easy to tell when they’re colour-coded!) and assign dates.

Of course, none of this is set in stone so if a sponsored post comes up, I’m able to swap my calendar around to make room.

Oh, and how awesome is it to actually know when you can post something when speaking with a client? I mean, how pro!

Once a month is over I archive the list and set up the next month of content, so I always have a rolling three-month plan.

And when I have a new idea? I add it to the Articles in Progress list. A sponsored post comes up? I figure out when is the best time to post and move my calendar around.

It was a lot of initial set up but now that it’s rolling I don’t know how I blogged before this. Not only am I keeping on track but it is an enjoyable experience. No more stress!

If my story isn’t enough to convince you to build and keep to an editorial calendar, I don’t know what will. You can’t be strategic without a good plan.

How to Create a Blog Content Calendar

To create a content calendar you’ll need:

  • Some sort of calendar template
  • Themes
  • Monthly topics
  • Blog post ideas

One last thing

Before I could plan what to write I decided how often I would write. I decided I’d post each Tuesday at minimum. I want to write more, but deep down I knew once per week was even asking a lot.

My blog hadn’t been priority for a long time and I needed to get back in the habit of posting with consistency before I could do anything grander.

Create a Writing Schedule Worksheet

Want to create a writing schedule for yourself? Grab the free PDF from my resource library. Put your email in the form below and I’ll send you the password!

Once you’re in the library navigate to the writing section and look for “Create a Writing Schedule Worksheet.”

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I also made posting on Tuesdays the priority over posting on topic.

Weird, I know. I spent all that time coming up with what and who and why and how and all that. But here’s the thing, all the topics I came up with were things I’m also struggling with.

Some of them needed to simmer on the back burner while I figured out what I have to say about it.

Some ideas needed testing.

Like this topic for example. Can a blogging content calendar help a busy writer who doesn’t have time for a personal blog? Six months ago I wasn’t sure. Now I know.

So sometimes my posts aren’t 100 per cent on topic. And I’m good with that. Because I am still posting every Tuesday.

Need help cutting through the paralysis of analysis in order to get focused on what you want your blog to do for you? Let’s chat!

There's so much value in a good plan. I built my content calendar last fall and I’m keeping to it today. Here’s what I did and how you can do it to.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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There's so much value in a good plan. I built my content calendar last fall and I’m keeping to it today. Here’s what I did and how you can do it to.
There's so much value in a good plan. I built my content calendar last fall and I’m keeping to it today. Here’s what I did and how you can do it to.
There is so much value in a good plan—there’s nothing like a calendar to tell you what to write and keep you on track. I built my blogging content calendar last fall, I implemented it last January, and I’m keeping to it today. Here’s what I did and how you can do it too.

Stuck? 5 Content Ideas for When You Don’t Know What to Post

Do you feel stuck for content ideas? Whether it’s social media or website or marketing content, it’s easy to feel like you have nothing to say.

And yet, the need for content doesn’t go away!

Stuck? 5 Content Ideas for When You Don't Know What to Post

The entire goal of this post is to give you at least five content ideas for when you don’t know what to post.

Secondary goal? To prove that there’s always something.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Content ideas for when you don’t know what to post

I don’t know about you but I do a LOT of writing. All day, every day.

But I do it for other people and most of the time, they’re telling me what to write.

So, I guess that’s easy in a way. Like, it has it’s own challenges but I never wonder what on earth am I going to write?

It’s more like…OK…um…how am I going to make this random topic somehow interesting?

Anyway, I think freelancers and writers find they don’t have ideas when it comes to writing for themselves. On their blog. On their social media. In general.

I’ve been here. I feel you.

BUT you can break free cause this is one big mental game. And you’re probably overthinking it.

No shame, you just need a system.

I’ve shared my personal system before (How to Create a Content Calendar) so you can check that out if you’d like a refresher, and I’ll summarize it quickly below as well.

Since I implemented this system in 2017 I haven’t had a single moment where I didn’t know what to write. Dead serious. It has changed everything!

For my blog content I have organized everything into six topics, also called themes or content pillars depending on what industry you’re in. Or who you’re talking to.

Here are my personal content pillars

  • Writing
  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Marketing
  • Podcasting
  • Publishing

I start with these big topics, then I brainstorm ideas for what could fit within each one. I write them down and do my best to keep breaking down those ideas into smaller and smaller pieces.

Why? Because the more pieces, the more posts.

The more posts, the less I have to figure out later. I just look at my article ideas and get writing.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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What to post on Instagram

Alright, let’s get specific about Instagram, since that’s where I feel like the most people get stuck. Maybe it’s because we’re words people in a visual medium…maybe.

Honestly, I don’t know. I feel like it’s just difficult!

We see what the cool influencers are doing and feel like we need to do it to. But…do we? I mean, our goals are different, aren’t they?

(They are.)

I know you’re going to be shocked beyond shocked but…I systemize my social media posting too.

Here are my Instagram content pillars. I used to keep them the same as my blog topics but this fits a bit better visually for my brand:

  • Tips and tricks
  • Books and stationery/coffee
  • Nature (especially my home/safe space/refuge)
  • Establishing myself as an expertise (helping people get to know me)

And here’s an example from one of my clients, to help you see how topics/themes help demonstrate your unique personality and skills:

  • Writing quotes
  • Humorous quotes
  • Dogs (specifically French Bull Dogs)
  • Gardening/Mushrooms/Quilting/Canning

But let’s say themes or topic just doesn’t work for you. Fair! Here’s another idea from another one of my clients.

In this case, they have thousands of resources on their website and publish content every day. There’s a lot to work with. Like, an overwhleming amount.

Four or five topics just wasn’t cutting it, so here’s what we do instead.

  • Illustrations from existing content (articles)
  • Quotes (text overlaid on stock photos)
  • Graphically branded post
  • Flat lay products

The big idea with this strategy is to showcase the huge range of resources available on the site, and to continually provide encouragement and inspiration through regular, consistent social media posting.

Content ideas AND MORE for those who are still stuck

We’ve reviewed a lot here, but it’s all high level so I understand if you’re still feeling a bit stuck coming up with content ideas.

So here’s what I recommend. Steal this content strategy I wrote for Sage Media & Marketing and stop stressing about it. Do it. Just take it.

The content strategy reviews five different types of content you can write and rotate through for a well-balanced, cohesive feed.

It’s truly awesome and if you do the work, you won’t run out of content ideas. And it will give youa fresh, well-balanced feed!

And when you’re ready to uplevel, check out this how-to guide: How to Create an Instagram Strategy.

If you’re honest-to-goodness stuck on the visuals then here’s who I recommend to help:

Do you feel stuck for content ideas? Whether it's social media or website or marketing content, it's easy to feel like you have nothing to say.

And yet, the need for content doesn't go away!

The entire goal of this post is to give you at least five content ideas for when you don't know what to post.

Secondary goal? To prove that there's always something.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
Do you feel stuck for content ideas? Whether it's social media or website or marketing content, it's easy to feel like you have nothing to say.

And yet, the need for content doesn't go away!

The entire goal of this post is to give you at least five content ideas for when you don't know what to post.

Secondary goal? To prove that there's always something.