My favorite analog tool for staying on track with my writing.

Shaunta Grimes
Jul 21 · 4 min read

I’ve been using Asana lately, to help me stay on top of projects and as an editorial calendar. And it’s great. But I find myself needing something distinctly analog, too.

I need to physically write things down. That’s how my brain processes. If I write it down, I remember it. I’m not happy without an analog planning system — even if I also use something digital.

So, in addition to Asana, I use a notebook that has monthly calendars followed by notebook pages. (Think a wall calendar, in notebook form.) It’s called the Deluxe Monthly Planner and it’s made by Erin Condren.

Here’s how I use it.

The start of every month has a two-page planning spread. That helps me to focus on what it is I want or need to focus on for the upcoming month.

I’ve found this actually really helps me with Asana, because sometimes I just kind of stare at that calendar and I’m completely overwhelmed by the idea of trying to think about what I need to put into it.

I used to actually schedule posts into the monthly calendar, but I’ve been using Asana for that lately and I’m happy with that. So now I just record the big things in my paper planning notebook.

Things like themes or deadlines or classes I’m teaching that have an actual time that I‘m expected to show up.

There are five pages after the calendar spread. I use four of them for my four main projects — right now, that’s Medium, Ninja Writers Club, Write Already (the newsletter I write with Shannon Ashley), and Fiction. I use the fifth to keep track of that month’s finances.

I paid $5 extra to have a nice thick notebook added to the back of my planner. I had thought that I’d use that keep a list of post ideas, but I’ve found that Asana works better for me, for that.

One habit that I have that I really, really love is keeping a log. Just a list of things I did during the day. It’s cathartic for me to end my day updating my lob. The back of my monthly planner works perfectly for that.

I also use my editorial notebook to keep track of my daily writing goal and to hold the preliminary planning for novels.

Finishing what I start doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m so right-brained. But I manage to do it. A lot. It’s kind of my thing. The only reason I ever finish anything is because I always know what the next thing is that I have to do. The next post to write, the next scene to write, whatever.


Here’s my secret weapon for sticking with whatever your thing is.

Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation and The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.

The Write Brain

Posts about productivity, business, and systems for right-brained creatives. Ideas aren’t enough. We actually have to do the things!

Shaunta Grimes

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Learn. Write. Repeat. Visit me at ninjawriters.org (My posts may contain affiliate links!)

The Write Brain

Posts about productivity, business, and systems for right-brained creatives. Ideas aren’t enough. We actually have to do the things!

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