Google Drive and I have a long history. I’ve know it since it was called Google Docs and I’ve been using it since my college years to keep my life in order. It seems that order has become even more important as my blogging gets more serious.
If you have a Gmail account, you have Google Drive. It’s great for creating and storing documents you’d like to be able to access and edit from anywhere. I use my Drive account for a lot of things, but I find it especially useful for blogging. I don’t always do my work on the same computer all the time and it’s nice to be able to access information on my phone.
The type of file I create most often in Drive is a document. A Drive document is just like any other word processing document- you can edit it, format it and add photos. You can download the documents and print them or share them with other people through Drive.
- Post Drafts – I have 2 draft files in my Drive account. One is general post drafts, which are sometimes as short as a topic idea and sometimes entire posts. I always have several posts in various stages of development in that document at any time. I also have a separate Highlights draft where I save potential topics and links for upcoming Highlights posts.
- Collaboration – One of the best things about Drive is the option to share files. Sharing files allows me to collaborate with other bloggers by sending or receiving guest posts. I’ve also used the power of document sharing to coordinate travel plans and other activities with other bloggers, especially around the Healthy Living Summit. If your blog has 2 authors, you can both work on a single document at once.
- To Do Lists – I’m sure it’s clear by now that I am a serious list maker. One of the many places I keep lists is in Google Drive. Again, these lists can be shared with anyone and accessed anywhere.
- If This Then That – If you haven’t looked into IFTTT yet, you really need to.
I want to write an entire Tech post about it sometime, but please don’t wait for me to do so. Update: My IFTTT post is up! Drive is one of the many channels available on IFTTT. You can use Drive and IFTTT to send Instagram photos to your Drive account, automatically save your Gmail attachments as files in Drive, create a document of tweets with a specific hashtag and more. For a while, I had IFTTT sending Reader items with a specific tag to a document to help streamline the process of writing my Highlights posts. I was very sad when Reader and that function disappeared, but IFTTT has recently added a Feedly channel, so I’ll be setting up another recipe to save links automatically soon.
Google Drive also has a collection of templates that you can use and edit for your own purposes. They can be accessed by creating a new document, spreadsheet, presentation or form, clicking the “File” menu, then “New”, and then selecting “From template…” This will open the template search page. Chances are, if you need something it’s already there. One of my favorites is the 2013 Yearly Calendar from Vertex42.
I have one of these calendars that I use as an editorial calendar. It’s easy to add post ideas to specific dates, move them around as needed or delete them when I change my mind. I realize that there are plugins that do similar things, but as I do all of my writing outside of WordPress and the function of the calendar is to help me plan ahead, the plugins don’t really work for me.
I also use the same template for my menu planning. Just like the editorial calendar, I can move things around easily. I can also add events that will affect my menu (evening meetings, vacations, etc.) and schedule meals using recipes I saw and want to be sure to try out.
Who doesn’t love a good spreadsheet? Or is that just me? Despite my love of them, I currently only have one blog-related spreadsheet in use. My Blogging Contacts spreadsheet helps me keep track of the businesses I have relationships with, including the names of my contacts and other reminders. Within that spreadsheet I have another page that contains contact information for my closest blogger friends-those I’ve sent Christmas cards or swap items to.
I’m sure there are a million other ways to use Drive to help my blog, but these are the ones that have helped me the most. Without Drive, I don’t know how I’d stay organized or accomplish as much as I do. Feel free to post your ideas or questions in the comments below!