I’m a list maker from way back. The only way I can get through life is to keep a daily to-do list. Actually, I keep two.
List A is a grid I make using Word’s “table” function. The items on the list rarely change. They include grooming my four cats, riding the stationery bike, and writing blog posts. These items get checked off when accomplished.
List B is written on a legal pad, and the contents change as work comes up. Sometimes the list has 50 or 60 items I need to handle. My goal is to keep it down to ten, but that rarely happens. Once in a blue moon I can scratch off the last item–and scratch I do because this is a scratch off list, not a check off list. Because I am constantly adding new chores and completing others, every few days I have to copy the “open items” to a new sheet of paper and throw away the old, messy one.
What do I like about living by these lists? The main benefit is that once I add something to my list, I relax just a little bit inside. Carrying around daily chores in my head is very difficult for me. I find it stressful. I certainly can’t think about writing if I keep my head filled with the mundane. So, instead, I put it all on my lists and then just pragmatically work my way through the lists.
The other benefit is that I love scratching off and checking off chores. As I check or scratch, I say to myself in a very satisfied tone, “Yes!”
For the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of extra business work and personal work, so I haven’t been able to get in much writing. When I went to write yesterday, I found I couldn’t get one word on the screen–and that is really unusual for me. I need to prime the pump again . . . somehow.
I’m going to try using my list making to help me get started writing again.
Here’s a preliminary list:
- Go through all my stories and scenes to sort for the book. I hope to find a few scenes I’ve forgotten that I wrote.
- Find two poem exercises that inspire me and write two poems. One has to be a doll poem.
- Finish the long play scene and do a first revision.
- Write a CNF short story that doesn’t take place in my childhood or youth.
Like all my lists, there is no deadline on accomplishing most of these items.