I know that I’m horribly OCD about organization and cleaning… I’m actually OCPD. It’s a real disorder and I’ve been diagnosed with it. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is sort of like OCD’s wimpy cousin. It means that I still obsess and agonize about stuff, I still lose sleep if things aren’t in the right place and I still have anxiety associated with it, but I don’t think people will die if I don’t touch the door knob five times and then spin in a circle.
It doesn’t impact my life nearly as negatively or as significantly as having OCD can either. But, since I’m big on looking at the bright side, a lot of good things come out of my little compulsive habit, such as blog organization and research. When it comes to trying something new, you will never meet a more prepared, well researched person in the world. And when it comes to finding better ways to do something, I’m your gal.
When what started as a journal, blossomed (much to my surprise and happiness) into a full time hobby and part time profession, I had no idea what I was doing. But I quickly learned that all that takes work and boy, does it take organization!
The first time I submitted a guest post, I had no clue if I would ever do it again. It was stressful to write about my life for another person and a totally different audience. It was also scary. What if they hate me? What if the host emails me back and tells me she hates what I wrote and that she won’t publish it? Of course, as time has continued in its forward movement, as it tends to do, some of that has worn off. But what has taken its place is utter chaos and confusion. I submit guest posts to other blogs, the odd website, and am now a contributing writer for USMClife.com. This means that the hobby that started as a little journal, has turned into a mess of who got what post, when did I submit it, have I heard back, and has this already been published? And the list goes on and on. So, I did what any hyper organized, slightly neurotic person would do. I created spreadsheets.
I’ve seen A TON of blog organizers and the likes for download, but I’ve never really understood them. I don’t need to know when I plan to write what. I write what I want to when I want to. My blog, for all its organization, is surprisingly unstructured in that manner. I want my topics to be genuine and that means I have to write in the moment, hence my mess. I can have a day where I write six posts before breakfast and days where I do nothing blog related at all.
This all translates into a lot of word documents sitting in a file with no discernable order. And it means that I had to try to keep mental track of all of those pre-written posts, where they went and if I have used them yet or not. So, instead of spending another year telling myself to create a system, but not creating a system, I created a system. I now have Excel sheets for EVERYTHING! And I made them for a few years in advance for good measure. I highly suggest you consider doing the same, or you can download the ones I’ve kindly shared with you by clicking on the title of each section. What can I say, I’m a nice person.
Guest Posts: This tracks your post, who you submitted it to, when and if it was accepted or rejected, and what date it was published.
Published Posts: This tracks the posts that you write (if you are like me, you often write your posts in Word and copy and paste them later), if you have published it yet, and where (your blog vs guest post).
Edited Posts: I use this to track the posts I have sent to my editor, when I sent them, when I got them back, if it’s been published (date too) and if it was a guest post or not.
All of these documents might seem a bit silly at first, but consider this: I write A LOT of guest posts and some websites can take months to respond with a “Yay” or “Nay”. This means that, at any one time, I can be sitting on five or more posts that have been written and submitted and are still pending. These sheets help me ensure that I do not double submit things. It also helps me keep track of who published what so that I can easily update my own site. (If you don’t already have a page that lists your featured posts, I highly suggest it!!) Instead of spending an hour sifting through my emails to see who I emailed what to, when it was published and blah blah blah, I can just look at my sheet. I’m telling you, being obsessively organized can have its benefits.
**** And just for good measure, here’s all the links again: