Whether you write for a women’s magazine (Like the Grit & Grace Project), are a full-time writer, write books, write poems, write love notes, journal, or are rocking that side-hustle, here’s a few tips our writers have given to help you stay focused, and get work done.
Recently some of our writers were chatting in our writers community, sharing tips and tricks that help them produce their best work…we thought their ideas could help you too!
The conversation started with a question from Kelsey Adams:
Hey ladies!! What are some systems that you use when it comes to organizing your thoughts and getting your mind focused on the specific topic you are writing about?
Do you get up super early in the morning?
Go to a coffee shop?
I don’t know if it’s just because I am overcoming being sick or the horrible heat here in Arizona (120 degrees today????) but I feel scatterbrained so I would love to get some advice from y’all if that’s okay.
Here’s what some of the women had to say in response:
Jordan Hawkins– I keep notes in my iPhone. For example I’m working on 2 pieces right now. If I have an idea come to me while I’m out I open up my notes app and get it down and saved right away. Some of the best inspirations to add the meat and potatoes to your writing will come to you throughout your day. Then once I get ready to build the body of the piece I always sit down and ask try to figure out what I want to say. And I just ask myself: “What is the goal of this piece? To leave the reader encouraged? Intrigued? Pensive? Reactionary?” Then I work to build it around that.
Megan Miller– Every night before I fall asleep I write a little itinerary for my morning (sounds uptight but I always seem to accomplish more when I have a plan).
Then I plug my phone in on the kitchen counter and I have a little alarm clock plugged in across the room so I wake up the first time! Grab my coffee. Sit down. And get to work on whatever I’ve planned for that day. It always starts the night before for me. I set up my little quiet time / work desk station, make sure my coffee maker has water, and the whole 9.
Whitney Hsu– I do all of my drafting in the WordPress app (or website if I’m on my laptop but that’s much less often). It’s organized well and I can blast out a few sentences or keywords anytime- enough so that when I’m uninterrupted I can remember what I was going for. I LOVE to drop everything and write an article right when it comes to me if I possibly can- it’s less laborious that way.
Darlene Brock– I use Evernote. When I have an idea I drop it in, then as I find supporting concepts or quotes I throw them into the same note until I’m ready to write. It becomes a great resource when I need to write something and I go back to discover ideas I forgot I had. Also, when I sit down to write it has to be with no distractions because I have the attention span of a 5 year old. And I don’t expect to get everything written or even written well in one setting. Coming back to a piece always makes it better.
Clare Marlow– I do the same as Jordan, keeping a list of ideas in my phone. If my brain starts writing when I’m away from my computer, I open a new note and just dictate into it. I also snap pictures from social media to remind me of topics I want to tackle.
Rachel Graham– if you’re talking practical (how to get focused, clear your mind etc.) ideas, I am that weird crunchy lady that rolls on some oils, turns on a diffuser and breathes deeply before starting. Maybe that because with a little one running around I need my mind to shut off for a bit to turn back on and write. Sometimes as well, voice memos are all I can handle because I just need to close my eyes for a bit (promise I’m not sleeping!) so I sit down at my desk, or lay back on my bed and close my eyes, breathe deeply for a sec and hit record. Sometimes I just ramble off ideas, sometimes I’m rambling off a whole article. Talk to text/memo is also a life saver! May seem a bit fragmented when I come back to it but its super helpful! (I should add I’m mostly a verbal processor, so following stream of consciousness really helps me piece together all my thoughts.)
Jennifer Greenburg– Get enough sleep and drink a lot of coffee. That’s my system. Haha! Also, my kids get naps or “play time” in their rooms from 2PM to 4PM. That gives me 2 hours, give or take an hour, every day to kill it.
We hope these ladies’ great advice helps you produce your best work in whatever you tackle next! Want to become a Grit and Grace Writer? Apply here!
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