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Creating a Plan B

Every blogger–or other writer who’s actually expected to produce something regularly–should have a plan B for when things hit the fan. Rather than a small white pill, the plan B for a writer should be a back up of writing: a collection of spare blog posts, article drafts, half-finished fanfiction chapters ready to be rounded out at any moment, or whatever else you’re expected to publish on a regular basis.

I haven’t always been the greatest at this. For the last two weeks I’ve missed blog posts due to crisis situations–and because I didn’t have a plan B. I should have had at least three spare blog posts on hand. I didn’t, and therefore my blog sat unloved for a day.

So last week, instead of beating myself up over missing a post, I started creating a plan B. Nevermind that it’s too late for my most recent crisis, it will be helpful in the next one.

Today I’d like to help you create your own plan B. This exercise was designed specifically to help create a backup of blog posts, but with some modifications should be able to fit whatever kind of writing you need it to.

And now, let’s make our plan B:

Step One: Prepare a list of categories. The first thing you should do is write the name of your website/blog at the top of a large piece of paper. Then, every four or five lines down the page, write down a category of potential posts/articles for your blog. For me, these categories include novel planning, revision, character development, and dialogue. List the things that you talk about most often which can be divided into subcategories if you can’t figure out what your proper blog categories are.

Step Two: Brainstorm for each category. Now, in the space between categories, I want you to brainstorm post ideas which fit within each category. For example, when I did this exercise most recently, under revision I had a post about staying motivated through the edits, and under the dialogue section I wrote out a series of writing exercises which I plan on sharing with you later this month. Just put in whatever comes to mind, whatever can be written about each sub-topic.

Once you have each category filled, it’s time to move on to the next step…

Step Three: Give each idea its own space. Depending on the size of the notebook/paper you’re using and how detailed the posts/articles you usually write are, you can give each idea either half a page or a full page. Write each post idea you’ve had in big bold letters over its own section with enough room to brainstorm. Then start figuring out how you’re going to fill in each post. Ask yourself questions: what can I mention to prove my point about this? How can I help my readers learn more about this? How can I get my readers to reach up and out for their goals?

By the end of this exercise you should have a handful–I usually aim for about a dozen–back up blog posts outlined with point-form notes, ready to be made into complete blog posts at a moment’s notice. It’s always a good idea to draft a couple of these posts, too, so that they’re ready and waiting for when your next crisis hits.

Do you have a plan B for when crisis makes it hard to write?

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