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Feeding Creativity

2012 June 6
by Jill


I had the opportunity to attend BEA (Book Expo America) this afternoon for a few hours–I was so lucky to be able to go, as the event takes place every year in NYC and it’s not easy for many people to make it here. It’s held in a GIANT exhibit hall, where nearly all the major presses, bookstores, and distributors comes out from all over the world. There are signings with authors (a friend saw Stephen King yesterday and Joe got to meet Ian McEwan today), giveaways, and tons of free swag. There are also panels. While I didn’t have too much time to explore (I only had access to a badge for a couple of hours), I did attend a panel on social media…which Joe happened to be speaking on.  All bias aside, it was a really great panel! While I don’t do much with social media for my job right now, I know I will use it in the future, and it definitely applies to my blog.

One of the things that Joe said that really resonated with me is that analytics and stats can only show you what you’ve done that already works–they can’t show you how to go beyond that. I think that’s a trap that I get caught in all the time–I get discouraged by the numbers and I get caught in a rut of not believing it’s worth the time or effort to expand the blog. But as long as I still enjoy creating the content, why not go the extra mile and try new things, find new readers, engage the audience more?

A crucial part of that, according to the panel, is scheduling posts and keeping track of ideas for content. I am really bad at doing that. I tend to post on the fly, whenever I can squeeze in a little bit of time, usually about any random topic that occurs to me that  day. The blog could be so much more substantial if I took the time to keep track of ideas and implement them in advance! My friend Raquel sent me a link to printable blog planning pages–I can’t wait to print them out and get brainstorming! It’s such a great idea!

Do any of you blog or work on other creative projects where you feel stalled or get in self-destructive ruts? Do you use any kind of scheduling or other methods to combat that? What are your secrets?

*image via

8 Responses Post a comment
  1. June 6, 2012

    Ooh, thank you for the link to those blog planning pages!

    I post everyday, but I don’t have my posts written ahead of time. I keep meaning to do that…and then forgetting. My blog doesn’t have a very specific focus, so I can get away with writing about whatever I want, which helps. Also, I like having three days a week that are themed (Trix Tuesdays, What I Read Wednesdays and Link List Fridays) , because it’s sooooo much easier to have a built in prompt.

    • Jill permalink
      June 7, 2012

      Yes, I absolutely find that having features for certain days helps a lot! But even though I typically only have Mondays and Wednesdays to fill with “new” ideas, it’s still a struggle.

      I hope the blog planning pages help out!

  2. June 6, 2012

    Such a great reminder that stats and numbers aren’t the whole picture behind online creative work. I hate days when I get low views and I think “Why didn’t people like this material?” It’s not a constructive way to think about blogging.

    • Jill permalink
      June 7, 2012

      The numbers don’t lie…but they also don’t tell the whole story! I’m glad that I had the session to remind me that stats shouldn’t dictate how I run the blog.

  3. June 7, 2012

    Wow, that looks like an awesome expo!

    I tend to get creative in spurts, so I’ll type up a bunch of drafts and then let them sit for a rainy day (like Mandy, my blog isn’t very specific so that helps).

    Instead of printable pages, I found a “Blog Editorial Calendar” on Google Docs that I’ve modified for my own use. I’ve added some additional tabs and a color coding scheme to make it work for me, and since it’s online, it’s easy to access from anywhere.

    The template:

    • Jill permalink
      June 7, 2012

      Thanks for the link to the Google doc! That’s really helpful. I find that I tend to do better writing things down (I know, what am I from, 1976?), but it’s nice to know there are other options out there too. Strangely, Google templates are new to me, which is funny because I use Google docs for everything!

  4. Sandy permalink
    June 7, 2012

    I was listening to a commentary today about Ray Bradbury who passed away a few days ago. He was quoted as saying, ” Jump off the cliff and build wings on the way down.” I think that says a lot about trying new and creative things. By the way, his
    beautifully lyrical “Martian Chronicles” was a popular with Young Adults when I was a YA Librarian many years ago. if you want to read retro-YA books just let me know.

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