Behind the Curtain: My Blogging Routine

Posted on February 12, 2015 «
Categories: 2015 Discussion Challenge, Behind the Curtain «
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Earlier this month, in anticipation an incoming snow storm slated to drop 4 to 9 inches of snow on eastern Iowa, I did much of my Sunday routine (grocery shopping and lunch prep) on Saturday before the storm hit. Usually on Saturdays, I wake up around 6:45 AM, head to the kitchen, make a cup of coffee in the Keurig, head into our office and begin working on upcoming posts for Second Run Reviews. I thought, then, on Sunday I could just enjoy a lazy morning watching GMA and Sunday Mornings on CBS as I had gotten everything done on Saturday including my weekly blog work.

However, as I settled in front of the TV around 7:30 with my cup of joe half listening to the Super Bowl chatter, I couldn’t sit still. There must be something about my routine, that even though it was Sunday, my body and mind must write in the morning hours before my husband starts stumbling around, coaxing me to watch silly YouTube videos as he becomes fully awake. So there I sat, in front of my screen, cup of coffee in hand, thinking about my blogging routine and how I manage Second Run Reviews while holding down a full time job.

My Blogging Routine

Wake up on Saturday at the same time I do Monday through Friday. 6:45 am.

I’ve heard for ages that a consistent sleep routine (getting up and going to bed at the same time every day) is healthy. Now this doesn’t mean I get up and shower and eat the same healthy breakfast on Saturdays as I do during the week. This just means, I’m rolling out of bed around 6:45/7:00, stumbling to the kitchen for coffee and into the office.

Review my upcoming posts for the week.

  • Log into WordPress and sort my scheduled posts by date.
  • Turn on some music. I recently moved things around in my office so our spare surround system/stereo is now positioned by my desk. I love, love, love this setup.
  • Read each post, revise and proofread as needed; adding pictures, links and editing the Publicized details to include hashtags and Twitter handles.
  • If it is a review, making sure I copy, paste and update the review in the GoodReads area of the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin so it displays properly when it posts.
  • If the review/post is for a book tour, I add in the necessary tour elements provided by the tour company. Because of my experience with HTML and CSS, I try to format the posts myself rather than using the company provided HTML.
  • Review Categories, Tags, Authors, etc.
  • NEW! Using the WordPress SEO by Yoast plug in, make adjustments to the posts to improve Search Engine Optimization.
  • Read the post again and either marvel at my genius or fret about the stir it might cause or lament that no one is going to read it.
  • Update/Publish the post.
  • Update my Google Spreadsheet to indicate the the post has been proofed and published.
  • Schedule my Social Media pushes for the week using Hootsuite.

Usually I only post 3 to 4 times a week. So if I get started on these steps right away, with a cup of coffee in hand, I’m usually done reviewing my scheduled posts by 9:30 AM or so. Depending on the status of the natives (my husband), I may work ahead on writing reviews, discussion posts, or the occasional meme. I’ve found that once my husband gets up and enters the office, my distraction level increases and I lose the ability to focus.

If he is starting to stir, I’ll start surfing the web, looking for interesting posts, leaving comments, and making tweaks/updates to my blog and learning something new. Later in the day, if he decides to game on the Playstation 4 out in the living room, I might go back to what I was drafting before he woke up.

Why My Blogging Routine Works for Me

Kitty snuggles. Perfect end to a rough day. my blogging routine
  1. Most Saturdays, I’m done with my blog work by 11 AM and I can spend the rest of the day doing fun things with my husband if we feel like venturing out of the house.
  2. If the scientists are right, I’m creating a healthy sleep routine.
  3. It allows me to work ahead. This routine happens almost every weekend without fail. As a result, I’ve got reviews scheduled out into April.
  4. I feel less stress about taking a weekend off or going on vacation.
  5. Leaves time to read, nap and snuggle with the kitties.

So what’s your blogging routine? What food or beverage do you need to have at hand to get the creative juices flowing? Do you have a playlist you like listen to while writing?


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29 responses to “Behind the Curtain: My Blogging Routine

  1. Tanja

    LOL Saturadys are when I end up writing most of the posts. It seems to me that tomorrow will be a busy one. But yeah. I don’t have a routine really. I just end up writing anything when I feel like it. Which is strange considering how I keep everything organized. Great post 🙂

    • It’s so weird because this week, I had to do all my prep on Friday night because I will be busy all day Saturday. I do have one review to write so I’m hoping I can at least wake up and write that before I need to head out.
      Have a great week, Tanja.

      Terri M., the Director
      Second Run Reviews

  2. Bec

    Breaking routine is THE WORST. It always leaves you feeling strange.

    As for my routine, I don’t really have one. It’s more of a “blog when you have time” thing because I have to study 6 out of 7 days of the week. Usually I reply to comments in study breaks, in the morning after I’ve had breakfast, or late at night after I finish studying and don’t want to read. Late at night is also my post writing time. Reviews are written as soon as I finish a book though (if I don’t write it straight away I struggle to put my thoughts into words)

    • I often finish books right before bed or over my lunch hour so I’m not able to write reviews right away. I do make notes and mark the books up with post it notes so waiting isn’t usually an issue for me.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Terri M., the Director
      secondrunreviews.com | @2ndRunReviews
      facebook.com/secondrunreviews

  3. Ardelia

    What an awesome routine! I’m working on a better routine to make things less hectic. Right now, Saturdays are my blogging days because my husband is home and can watch our daughter, but I would like to have my posts mostly ready to go by the weekend. 🙂 I enjoy drinking coffee (with lots of sweetener and creamer), but it’s not always necessary.

    • I have found, for me, the routine is so important. I wish I had more energy during the week to do more blog related things, but after 8 hours of work in front of a computer, I’m toast when I get home!
      Terri M., the Director
      secondrunreviews.com | @2ndRunReviews
      facebook.com/secondrunreviews

  4. Julie S.

    Good routine! I don’t have one and my blogging is all over the place. I do try to catch up on sleep on the weekends since I don’t get enough sleep at night on work days with the baby heh.

    • Thanks! I don’t know how you manage with a little one, Julie. Will he be a co-blogger soon?
      Terri M., the Director
      secondrunreviews.com | @2ndRunReviews
      facebook.com/secondrunreviews

      • Julie S.

        Well he’s usually attached to me when I’m doing blog stuff, does that count? Lol

        • Wait till he starts banging on the keyboard. One of my cats has taken to sitting on top of my closed laptop when he thinks I don’t need to work any more. He also will sit on my chest between my eyes and the book.
          Terri M., the Director
          secondrunreviews.com | @2ndRunReviews
          facebook.com/secondrunreviews

  5. Nicole Hewitt

    I am in AWE of your routine. I have none. Literally. None. I don’t do well with routines, so I’m not even going to try to follow one. I AM going to go check out that SEO plug-in, though!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • I like the SEO plug in so far. I’m not sure if I’m getting more traffic (yet), but it provides some good tips on improving the posts so that’s a plus!

      • Nicole Hewitt

        I have to confess that I’m absolutely clueless when it comes to SEOs. I installed the plug-in, but I have a no idea at all what to do with it. I’ve even tried searching on the web for SEO basics, but for some reason, it’s all gibberish to me. I’m not usually so dense! Anyway, I haven’t found anywhere in the plug-in where it gives you tips on how to improve, but I will have to look at that. Thanks for pointing the plug-in out – maybe it will help get some of this stuff through my thick skull! 🙂

        • The part of the plugin appears on each post right below the formatting box. Once you fill out the first tab and save, the second tab populates with suggestions.
          I haven’t found a good SEO tutorial yet either.

          Terri M., the Director
          secondrunreviews.com | @2ndRunReviews
          facebook.com/secondrunreviews

  6. My goodness, I am in awe! I mean… how!? I seriously have no words, except that maybe you should teach a class on this stuff or something 😉

    My “routine” looks like this: Spend 12 hours alone with the children, who are too small to let me get anything done. Children are both asleep by about 10-11. I check email, social media, etc. I try to write a post by midnight. Then, as soon as that is scheduled, I visit other blogs and respond to comments and such. Then around 2, I go to read. Around 4-4:30 I call it quits, and worry myself to sleep. Then my son wakes up around 7:30 or 8. Repeat. I think the furthest out I’ve ever scheduled a post is like, 5 days away?

    Bottom line: You and your April reviews are my heroes.

    • Hi Shannon! I probably should have prefaced this post with…I’m a project manager by day. Routine, checklists, timelines are all second nature to me. After 10 years, I find it difficult to not do something with a checklist!

  7. You have quite a routine! My routine consists of making the time at any time to get on post and visits other blogs. I really wish I did have a routine though. I think it would make it a little easier to get posts up. Like right now I am trying to write my top ten tuesday yet I keep messing around doing other things!

    • It is so easy to get distracted! 🙂 My problem is that while I’m writing one thing, I get inspired with another idea and can’t focus on the task at hand. It doesn’t happen very often, but I find it annoying when it does.
      Terri M., the Director
      Second Run Reviews

  8. Wow, you’re so organized with your blogging routine! School usually makes things pretty finnicky for my schedule. Sometimes I’ll have a ton of homework, and tests to study for, and other times I barely have any homework, so my free time varies. I still think I’m getting a bit better at being more organized with my blogging, though. I’ve gotten into this habit of binge writing and scheduling a ton of blog posts at the beginning of the month so for the rest of the month I can focus on commenting.

  9. Lisa

    I haven’t really created a “schedule” yet…after four years of blogging. But I usually try to find some time every day to write. I really should do something a little bit more organized, but I feel like my schedule changes so often that it wouldn’t truly be possible.

    But you look like you’re doing amazingly! Awesome post!

    Lisa
    http://www.turningpages94.blogspot.com

  10. Bookworm Brandee

    Terri, I’m impressed! I’ve often wondered how bloggers who work full-time can do it. Well, you are a prime example of great time management! 🙂 And I’m also seeing that WordPress can make life a lot easier. I’m on blogger. *wah* Thanks so much for sharing your incredibly efficient blogging routine!

    LOL I just read your reply to Shannon about being a project manager. Well, that explains a lot! 😉

    • I had a spreadsheet when I was on Blogger and I’ve always used HootSuite to schedule my Social Media posts. So don’t think you have to move from Blogger to WP self-hosted to get organized!
      Terri M., the Director
      Email: secondrunreviews@gmail.com
      Website: secondrunreviews.com
      Twitter: @2ndRunReviews

  11. You go girl! That’s awesome! I can totally relate to being distracted when the hubs start moving around. I’m going to have to make a point to try your approach and see how much I can knock off my blog to do list before he wakes up. I’m also going to try out the Yoast plugin.

    • It’s become such a habit for me now, Ginny, that I don’t even think twice about getting up and working on my blog. Good luck giving it a shot. Let me know how it goes.

      Terri M., the Director
      Second Run Reviews