"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Just Ask Jen...Your Reader's Questions Answered


Today's question comes from writer, author and  follower, Maribel Steel....

As some of you "regulars" may remember, some time ago, I opened the "floor" for questions that my readers might have regarding blogging, the writing business, time management, etc.
I've gotten some great questions thus far; keep 'em coming.

Maribel writes:

"Hi Jennifer, a year later...but may I still ask a question? I would be very interested to know how you plan and deliver your blog posts - do you write up an editorial calendar ahead of time, work out all your topics and then have a deadline? How do you work behind the scenes? Such a lot of great articles here on pen and prosper, have really enjoyed and learned a lot, thanks!"

Thanks, Maribel. I love your question!

I think it would surprise you guys to know that not only do I maintain this blog site; I actually "ghost" blog on a monthly basis for several other writers and businesses.
So things can get a bit hectic.

The good part about it is that I really enjoy writing, teaching and connecting, so the task is not laborious or boring. And I rarely run out of ideas, thankfully.

But to address your questions more specifically:

1. No, I don't have an editorial calendar.

My ideas are generated in the following ways:
  • Experience---I will often share lessons learned through trial and error, in order to provide guidance and direction for my readers ( who range from beginners to credentialed experts).
  • Entertainment based---I am a big fan of "quality" T.V. and believe that there is much fodder for today's writer; if one is able to see important correlations. For example, I use shows like "Dancing With the Stars," "Shark Tank" and "American Idol" to illustrate how writers can be better "entertainers," compete more strategically, and become more astute in business affairs.
  • Reading based---Some of my ideas manifest from reading other writers' blogs. In other words, I may have a different "take"on a popular topic than a fellow blogger. Or I may disagree "respectfully" with a position they maintain about the business. In other instances, I even feature some of the best posts that I find through linking to their sites and featuring them.
  • Theme based---Keeping a blog updated becomes easier when some of the posts are tied to a monthly theme, awareness day, or celebratory holiday. I like to do this with activities and special days like National Poetry Month, New Year's resolutions, or Mother's Day. Remember the K.I.S.S. principle here.   

While I don't have an official calendar, I do "shape" my future posts by jotting down ideas weekly, for myself and my clients. I never miss a deadline. :-) I also like to mix things up by sponsoring periodic contests, conducting books reviews, and sharing fun stuff-- like my celebrity crushes and recreational interests.
I think diversity makes a blog interesting, no matter what the subject matter.

2. What happens behind the scenes?

Let's see...most of my creative projects are "fueled" by herbal tea and some form of chocolate.
Matter of fact, I'm drinking tea right now. And though many writers find it to be a distraction, I often listen to music while I write. I enjoy everything from Beethoven to Billy Joel.

I usually take a bubble bath first. I'm not sure why....but it seems to help the creative process, relax me, and release my muse.

Well there you have it. Thanks so much for reading Pen & Prosper.
I hope this answered your questions.




  1. I would add nibbling some milk chocolate or sipping on a glass of port to the bubble bath experience myself, Jen.\

    Thanks for sharing some behind-the-scene tidbits.

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksMay 5, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      Thanks, Sioux; I'll drink to that. :-)

  2. Love your "fuel', Jen. I'm on board with the chocolate but prefer coffee to tea. And I write by the seat of my pants for my blog and almost always in the morning before the day crowds out what my mind has been working on all night. Great question, Maribel.

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksMay 5, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      Hi Sue,
      Always lovely to hear from you. Thanks!

  3. Jennifer, thank you so much for answering my question - I am surprised to know you also ghost write for other blogs as this takes up a lot of time and head-space, and you are always on time with your posts - admirable! Ok, so a bubble bath sounds like a great way to go...SPLASH!

    1. Maribel,

      It was a pleasure! You are so right; blogging does take up a lot of time and head-space. For me it's a "labor of love." :-) Thanks again.

  4. Thanks for writing this post, because while I thought that for my own blog(s) I wasn't really working with any specific Editorial Calendar or something of a 'System',

    Reading your post made me realize that - having a File Folder for collecting my Blog post ideas - at least does suggests having somewhat of a System.....,

    Only it it's a good idea to also have a look at the Starting Points for generating ideas, so that I can get a better focus and align blog posts with my blogs motto.