how to use an editorial calendar for your blog.

do you remember when i rebranded this blog? do you remember how little i posted prior to the rebranding, and how much more regularly i post now (i mean, with the exception of december…holidays, am i right.)?

that’s because when i rebranded, i also implemented a little thing called an editorial calendar. and it completely changed how i planned and published my posts. the silly thing is that it’s so easy, i’m not sure why i didn’t start using one earlier. i always had “versions” of an editorial calendar, but i never used an actual calendar method, and that’s what made the big difference for me.

in this post i’ll explain the benefits of an editorial calendar, how to make an editorial calendar for yourself, and how to use it to make your blogging easier. i’ll be showing you my calendar to give you a visual, but you can feel free to use your own method and make it work for you. if you’re a blogger looking for a new way to get organized, or you’re new to blogging and getting everything set up, read on!

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benefits of using an editorial calendar

without an editorial calendar, you might have a method where you use lists or reminders to plan your blog posts. and there is nothing inherently wrong with that, but it’s not as efficient as it could be. one of the benefits of an editorial calendar is that it lets you easily see when you need to have posts written, as well as the status of those posts (whether they’re written, scheduled, or published). another benefit is that if you ever have a large chunk of time to blog, you can use the time you would have spent thinking of post ideas to write your posts, because you’ve already planned out your posts on your editorial calendar.

an editorial calendar also lets you be flexible when you need to be. if you didn’t write a post in time, or weren’t able to take the necessary photos over the weekend, you can look at your planned posts and decide where that post can be moved to later in the calendar, and if there is anything ready that can easily be put in its place. this has been a lifesaver for me…sometimes my life does not follow the schedule that i want it to, so the ability to be flexible with my blog posts has allowed me to post more regularly than i ever have in the past.

one of the most important benefits of an editorial calendar is that it gives you accountability with your posting as well. you can easily see what posts you’ve told yourself you wanted to write, which makes it harder to say that you don’t have ideas, or that you lost track of time. accountability can be a huge factor in your success in posting.

  • allows you to plan and easily see posts as far out as you need to.
  • allows you to easily see the status of your blog posts.
  • saves you time when writing your posts, because your future ideas are already planned out.
  • gives you flexibility in your posting when you need it.
  • provides accountability or your posting.

how to make an editorial calendar

now for (what i think is) the fun part! making your editorial calendar. if you’re a straight-forward person who doesn’t like a lot of fluff, your calendar will probably look a lot like mine. if you are more on the artistic side, your editorial calendar might look prettier. if you’re into bullet journaling, you can include a spot in your journal for your calendar. or you might want to keep an electronic calendar! there are so many ways to make this tool work for you and your blog.

the main thing you need to make an editorial calendar is….a calendar! whether it’s on paper or electronic, you need a calendar template that allows you to easily record and track your post ideas. once you have your calendar, the next step is identifying when you will need to have posts. my posting schedule is mondays, wednesdays, and saturdays, so when i print off my calendar, the first thing i do is highlight all of those days. that way i can easily see when i need to post and what days need ideas.



my next step is to fill in any regularly occurring posts that i know i’ll have. most of my recurring posts happen on saturdays right now (monthly goals, coffee dates, #lifelivedthoughtfully, etc.) so i write those in right away. this lets me see if i have any gaps for saturday posts and i can start brainstorming what to write for those. once the recurring posts are recorded, i start to fill in the mondays and wednesdays. because i can clearly see which posts i’m planning to write, it’s easy to spread out my recipe posts and my parenting posts so i don’t accidentally have two recipe posts next to each other. i can also leave a few days open to give myself some flexibility like i mentioned above.


the last step in making my editorial calendar for my blog is to make three boxes next to each post – one marked “w” for “written”, one marked “s” for “scheduled”, and one marked “p” for “published”. this is my favorite part of my calendar because it lets me keep track of where each of my posts is at in the posting process. i get so excited when i can see how many posts i have written and scheduled, because i know i’m creating good, regular content for my blog, in a way that doesn’t stress me out. your method for this may be different. maybe you only care about scheduled posts or published posts. maybe you want to add a checkbox for “photos taken”. make this step work for whatever your needs might be.

  • get a calendar!
  • identify what days you need to write posts.
  • record any recurring posts.
  • brainstorm additional posts for remaining days, leaving some open spots for flexibility if you need it.
  • create checkboxes for your tracking and accountability needs.


how to use an editorial calendar for blogging

now it’s time to go and write! once you’ve spent the time making your editorial calendar, you can spend your time writing instead of brainstorming. which is why you blog in the first place, am i right? once my calendar is done, i try to grab a long chunk of time, either at home or at a coffee shop, to write or at least set up some future blog posts. i don’t like to write full posts too far ahead of time, because i feel like it makes my writing feel stiff, but if i can at least get outlines written, it helps me write a lot faster once i’m ready.

if i know i have recipe posts i want to do, i use my calendar to help me plan when i’m going to make and photograph the recipes so i can ensure i have them done when i need them. this way, i can even plan my recipe posts into our weekly meals so i kill two birds with one stone! and if i find that i don’t have time to write one before it’s due, or i like the idea of posting one early, i can just record any adjustments on the calendar. for example, this month i didn’t post on january 2nd, because i was sick with a terrible cold. i moved the post i was going to have for that day, along with the one a week after and just shifted them both a week later. and while i planned on having this post go up two days ago, i decided i wanted to swap it with my last post, so i recorded that change on the calendar.



and that’s how it’s done!

  • schedule time to write your posts.
  • spend less time brainstorming.
  • write your blog posts like crazy!

if you blog, do you use an editorial calendar? what’s worked well for you? if you’re new to blogging, or thinking about starting, let me know if this was helpful!

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the liebster, little darling.

oh hi. just me, on a monday morning, trying to recover from the AMAZING time we had at #sariweddingweekend. it was so exciting to celebrate the start of a wonderful marriage between two of my dear friends. you both were radiating pure joy, thank you for reminding Mister Man and me what a gift from God marriage is.

now on to today’s programming.


last week, i was notified by little miss amber over at mr. thomas and me that she’d nominated me for the liebster award! what you need to know is that amber is blond and has (awesome) tattoos, but that’s where the differences between us end. she’s kind of my soul twin in every way. and that girl has the best attitude around, do yourself a favor and visit her.

(full disclosure: haley over at les petites joies nominated me for a liebster award a while back, but i didn’t have time/didn’t have enough blogs to link to, so i never actually paid it forward. haley, consider this a joint passing on of the liebster from you, and also, is it weird to link back to you now? you don’t have to answer that.)


now. what is the liebster award?

“liebster” is german and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.  basically it’s like calling someone a little darling. and isn’t that just the nicest?

to me, the award is not only a way to say you appreciate new bloggers writing and efforts, it’s also a really good way to find and connect with a larger community of bloggers in the same place in their journey as you. and i love me some community. also, FYI, i find all my favorite blogs through other people, so these are the best.

once you have been nominated for this award, there are a few rules that you have to follow:

  • you’re required to answer 11 questions that the blogger who nominated you has set.
  • you then need to state 11 random facts about yourself.
  • you then need to mention other bloggers/blogs that inspire you or that you enjoy reading and nominate them.
  • once you have nominated other bloggers, you then need to set your own 11 questions for them.
  • once you have been nominated, thank the person that nominated you and post a link back to their blog if you feel so inclined.

amber’s 11 questions for me

  1. your all-time favorite book….and why? 
    this is hard, because i have so many books that i love, but little women has to be one that i could read over and over.
  2. did you have an imaginary friend as a child? if you did, tell us about said friend. 
    you guys, this is so boring, but i did not have any type of imaginary friend. i did not need one, because i had siblings for as long as i can possibly remember. i ran around the living room in circles with them and read books to them, and i was too busy to have any friends in my imagination.
  3. what song is you? 
    this is maybe weird, and not that deep, but “you make my dreams” by hall and oates is one that just feels like it matches my energy and my positive outlook on life. plus i love singing it to Mister Man.
  4. if you had to live in a decade other than the current one, which would you choose? 
    oh gosh. this one is tough. i would say the 1940s, but later on in the decade once the war was over. people were just so GOOD back in that time.
  5. beauty product you can’t live without.
    concealer. no debate. funny story: when a friend of ours was entering the religious life, mama hools and i made her ask her mother superior if the sisters were allowed to wear concealer, because we can’t live without it and wanted to know if we could have been nuns in another life. the answer was no, and now my mom and i are confident we are in the right vocations. the end.
  6. are you a morning person or a night owl? 
    i am a total night owl, but am practicing (LIES!) to be a morning person. did you hear that sound just now? that was my husband laughing.
  7. what is your favorite season of the year?
    fall is my favorite. minnesota gets a bad rap for just being cold all that time, but you guys, our summers are REDONK. humidity, heat index in the 100s, it’s no joke. fall is my happy place.
  8. your favorite meal. 
    i have way too many. but if i had to choose, it would be the cajun jiffy blucy (a burger with peanut butter, mayo, pickle, bacon, pepper jack in the middle) with buffalo tater tots from the blue door. it’s like a heart attack on a plate, but i dream about it sometimes.
  9. three favorite online shopping websites.
    i’m on a shopping freeze right now, so i’ve almost forgotten what my favorites are. i’d say etsy, zappos, and target (free shipping!)
  10. which justice league hero are you? 
    i had to look up which heroes were part of the justice league. i seriously had no idea. probably the flash? because i’m incredibly slow in real life.
  11. post it notes or push pinned papers? 
    post its. local invention represent!

11 random facts about myself

  1. i am the oldest of five children.
  2. i have had the following random ailments, all before the age of 13: shingles, whooping cough, and an appendectomy.
  3. in high school, i lettered in academics, choir and golf (for being on the team for three years) before i lettered in tennis, the only athletic sport i played.
  4. i secretly signed a 9-month lease the summer before joe and i got engaged, because i wanted to be able to get out of it if we got married within the year. whoops.
  5. i speak (almost) fluent spanish and have my certificate in spanish-english translation.
  6. my favorite movie in the whole world is the little mermaid, and i wore out the vhs we had at my parents house.
  7. the scariest thing i’ve done in the last year was sign my name on the dotted line when we bought our house; i’m pretty sure that i didn’t breathe the whole time. (a close second scary time was announcing the hooley with a ‘z’ facebook page to the world. pure terror. please head over and like it if you haven’t yet, it will make me feel better.)
  8. cats freak me out.
  9. my second and third toes are longer than my big toe.
  10. i changed my middle name to my maiden name when we got married.
  11. i strongly believe that babies will be easier to take care of than dogs, albeit with more middle of the night wakeups than dogs.

my nominations for the liebster award

trisha from the dish by trish || haley from les petites joies || etley from etley enlightens

my questions for you

  1. what is your favorite feature on yourself?
  2. what is your honest opinion – complimentary and/or critical – about my own blog?
  3. tell me your go-to recipe for dinner!
  4. do you have a guilty pleasure tv show?
  5. pie or cake?
  6. sweet or salty?
  7. what is your favorite grown-up movie?
  8. do you have any favorite words of wisdom?
  9. what is your most worn piece of clothing?
  10. do you have a favorite season? what is it?
  11. give me one piece of blogging advice.

woohoo! thanks for being you kids!

(if i didn’t include you, it’s because i don’t know about you yet! come out of the woodwork and participate too!)


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these days.

oh where oh where do the days go? i feel like i blink and it’s friday already every single week. i’m still planning on doing humpday happy lists once a month, but obviously last month got a little out of hand so i skipped it (and also obviously, my happy was our house!). but they will be coming back. i am thinking about starting a weekly post that is a little less labor-intensive than those were too.

“these days” posts are going to be a little more flexible, a chance for me to wrap up what’s been going on this week, talk about anything fun happening on the weekend, even though life will probably be much less exciting after wedding season is over. homeownership responsibilities and whatnot.

i’m even thinking we could make it a link up. i’ve seen a few of my blogging friends do similar posts, what do you girls think? if we want to make this a regular friday thing, we could link up our posts in each other’s comments and invite the rest of our little communities to do the same. (but let’s be honest, i need to get to know some other smaller bloggers so there is clearly an ulterior motive here!) let me know if you have any interest!


these days i’m…

eating caprese salads like they’re going out of style. there is nothing like a caprese made from homegrown veggies to make you feel like you are being extra healthy and also deserving of that glass of wine.

planning for 5 (or maybe now 6?) friends to stay with us this weekend for the wedding. i am convinced that i have everything ready, but must confess that my brain has been scattered due to work travel, so be patient with me my loves!

reading real simple magazine, but wishing it was better homes and gardens, because i have the interior decorating bug, and i have it bad.

praying for my little sister to have the best first week of freshman year in the whole history of everything. even though you’re going to be a bennie, i think you’re going to have an amazing time!

watching “dr. who” with my husband. if any of you are particularly nerdy like we are, please please please start watching it. it’s on netflix, i will probably need to do a whole post on it because it’s too awesome to only give it one sentence.

drinking vinho verde. it’s a white wine from portugal, usually around $4 per bottle, tastes like a slightly fizzy sauvignon blanc. i’ve been drinking it since i discovered it in portugal 5 years ago, and if it gets popular and makes the price go up, i will be furious.

loving bare nails and no makeup. something about summer coming to an end makes me want to go as bare as possible. i’m all about the lipstick and nailpolish in the fall and winter, but it feels good to be free right now.

not loving my hair. it’s been about, oh, 3-4 months since my last haircut/color and it is not looking hot over here people. the words that come to mind are mousy, scraggly and unkempt. need to book that appointment asap.

working on getting back in shape. jillian michaels, i can’t quit you. but i hate you so much at the same time. do right by me lady.


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finding the balance.

this post brought to you from 10,000 feet above the midwest in the middle seat of a delta airplane. 

it can be really hard to find the balance with social media. [i’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, for whatever reason. maybe i don’t have enough to do with the new house? (hah. jokes.)] there is either too much involvement with too little thought, which makes you unbearable to follow, and kind of defeats the purpose. or there a complete disregard for it, which is unrealistic for where the world is heading. i go back and forth with how much is right for me, and i’m not sure what the right answer is yet.

for now, i’ve landed somewhere in the “only post something when it makes sense and is of a quality worth sharing with others” camp. just like you wouldn’t share every sketch in your sketchbook or every word in your journal with all your friends, you probably don’t want to share a photo of every single outfit you wear…just the good ones. you probably don’t want to tweet every semi-entertaining thought in your head…just the really funny ones. you get where i’m going with this.

i know that everything up there sounds like common sense, and believe me, i wish it were, but it’s something a few million people could take a class on in my opinion. because we all know someone who just can’t figure this piece out, right? think photos of diaper content and twitter rants that span a 34 tweet arc. give me the shivers just thinking about it. and i’m sure i’ve gone through phases where i’ve broken my own rules before too.

so my goal is to find the right balance for me. i want to share quality content that is fun and that people think is worth reading (or looking at). and that might be a little bit of trial and error. which is super scary to me, because i will be trial and erroring in front of hundreds of people. *gulp* but i guess risk is part of everything worthwhile, that’s what they say, right?

thank you for listening to today’s session of “deep thoughts on unimportant topics by erin z”.


on a different yet slightly/pretty/actually extremely related note, i’ve decided that hooley with a ‘z’ is old enough now for its own facebook page. and so i made one. (sidebar: it was way more difficult than it should have been, but i’ve been through enough technology fails to know that it was user error.)

there are a couple of reasons for this decision.

one: most people get to my blog through facebook, when i post my blogs to my own timeline. i feel like facebook is a main place that people go for their overall news/updates, and so i want to give that option to the people i’m not friends with on my personal facebook page.

two: i would like to be able to have one spot to communicate with people about posts/ideas/etc.

i don’t want to force anyone to “like” my page (although i wouldn’t hate it if you did 🙂 so please like it if you feel so inclined to show your support), so i will continue to share my posts on my personal facebook timeline for a while. i may remind you now and then that the facebook page exists, but it will be in the same way that i remind you about my instagram, pinterest and twitter.


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anatomy of a translation.

years ago, i got this wacky idea in my head that i wanted a way to keep my spanish skills semi-intact, because my job didn’t have anywhere that i could use it. plus i love the spanish language. plus it seemed like a waste to have a degree in the damn subject and never use it.

so i started researching online translation programs and ended up getting into the spanish-english translation certificate program through NYU. this would be a cooler story if i actually went to NYU for this, but, you know, things happen, you meet your future husband and he moves to iowa for a while, and moving to NYC just isn’t in the cards. you do what you have to do for love, people! including online classes.

so for the last 3.5 years i’ve been slogging through financial and literary and journalistic translations. teaching myself, doubting myself, hating myself for making this decision. and now i’m just four short weeks away from having a piece of paper that says i’m good enough, i’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me! and they should trust me with their translation work.

i actually really like translating, but sometimes most of the time homework is the last thing i want to be doing. so i thought i’d give you all a little peek into what it’s like to do it. the anatomy of a translation, if you will.


anatomy of a translation

monday: print out assignment. read the title of the document you need to translate and set aside.

tuesday: think about opening a new word document to start your translation. don’t do anything about it.

wednesday-friday: forget you are even taking a translation class and do nothing.

friday, 10:00pm: remember that you have a translation due in two days. set your alarm for 8:00am on saturday.

saturday, 8:00am: snooze.

saturday, 8:10am: snooze.

saturday, 8:20am: snooze.


saturday, 9:20am: drag your bootie out of bed. splash water on your face. don’t brush your teeth because it will ruin the taste of the coffee you are about to make.

saturday, 9:25am: make 12 cups of coffee. four of these are for your husband when he finally wakes up, the other eight are for you.

saturday, 9:30am: boot your computer up. not your old trusty mac, but the new pc laptop you had to buy because the translation tools you need to use don’t work on macs. hope you’re doing it right, because you have no idea how to work windows 8.

saturday, 9:35am: read through the 568 forum posts your classmates have left in the last two days. scream obscenities in your head. stop reading after about 20.

saturday, 10:00am: tell yourself you have two hours to translate 750 words. tell yourself that you have to work consistently through those two hours with no social media distraction. start translating “selig tiene luz verde en MLB”.

saturday, 10:17am: check twitter on your phone. lose track of where you are in the spanish article.

saturday, 10:21am: resume translating.

saturday, 10:52am: make it almost to the end of your first hour without checking facebook. wonder how many mutual friends you and your work friend have. get sucked into looking through a wedding album of someone you don’t know.

saturday, 11:08am: resume translating.

saturday, 11:39am: check all of your social media for the two updates that have occurred in the last hour. wonder why more isn’t happening, and then realize it’s saturday morning.

saturday, 11:44am: resume translating.

saturday, 12:00pm: proofread your translation. become okay with the fact that you only translated 680 words, because you still meet your quota. decide not to watch the lectures from the past two weeks because you can do it later.

sunday: okay, fine. watch one lecture online.

monday: remember at 11:14pm that you haven’t turned in your assignment yet. scramble to proofread it one more time and get it sent to your professor. hit send and immediately regret two-thirds of your word choices and wish you had spent more time on it.

return to beginning and repeat for 10 weeks. celebrate at the end if you haven’t lost your mind.


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