Monday, March 5

Making a list, checking it twice...



On her Weighty Matters blog http://marysweightymatters.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/more-about-the-promise-list/ and also over on Re-Inventing Fabulous http://reinventingfabulous.com/, Mary Stella—who recently had bariatric surgery—has been writing about her Promise List.

Jenny Crusie wrote today, also on Re-Inventing Fabulous, about taking note of three things that make you happy. Others list things they’re grateful for. Some of us watched The Bucket List and immediately started our own. (Some of us, it must be admitted, just watched The Bucket List and thought about starting our own.) In church, people list the names of the people who ask for prayer.

No, I’m not a list-maker. But it’s like being a plotter when I write: I wish I was.

My friend Debby starts each day with a To-get-done List. I remember looking at one that had 60-some items on it. I needed to go home and go back to bed because just reading it exhausted me. But Debby almost always gets everything on her list accomplished. “If I didn’t write it down,” she says, “I’d never get anything done.”

Well, there is that.

Lots of people I know use a grocery list. It keeps them from buying a cartful of groceries when they truly only need a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. It also keeps them from forgetting the milk and bread.

Yup, there’s that, too.

Writers use lists. So they won’t call Sarah Jane by the wrong name a few chapters down the road. So William won’t start out with blue eyes and end up with steely gray—although they might turn that color when he’s angry. Oh, another list.

I have notebooks everywhere, even on my cell phone, so it would be easy for me to make lists if I would just do it. Maybe someday I—

And there it is. The reason I wish I made lists. So that I’d stop saying, Someday, I will—and write down, Today, I will—

I know I write a lot about aging, and I really don’t mean to beat it to death, but the truth is that along with bad knees, wrinkles, and a splendid ability to have a Good Time no matter the circumstances, age brings certain little pieces of wisdom. One of those is the knowledge that Someday is now.

So, today I will sew because I love to, and I will cook chicken for my husband because I love him, and I will…where’s that notepad? I know I wrote it down.

15 comments:

  1. I confess to being a list maker, but not nearly so frequently as my spouse, who makes endless lists all day long. I mostly make grocery lists, to-dos on days that seem like they might be hairy, and of course I do make lists when I write. I am the writer who'll forget names and eye color and whether characters have met...it's not age, it's the Diet Coke.

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    1. LOL--I never thought of blaming the Diet Coke. I've been on a stead caffeine diet most of my life. Hmmm...

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  2. Love this, Liz! I'm a sometimes-list maker. I used to be really amazingly great at making a list - whether for my books or life or whatever - and getting it all done. But then a little thing called a toddler came along...and i started *not* getting everything on the list done. And that would set me back for days. I'm still a list maker - one of my joys is making a thick, black line through a list item by item - but I try not to beat myself up when I don't stick to it.

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  3. I make lists and set daily goals when I'm really busy. And they help. I usually stick to them and I find I get a lot more things done during the day. I also, try not to kick myself in the behind, if I can't finish all the tasks. That's the hardest part, realizing that some things take more time to do than I originally thought.

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  4. Not really a list maker for day-to-day things, but I am a list maker for stuff to do with my books. Check back tomorrow to find out what I list.

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  5. I have a good friend who does a "three things I'm thankful for today" list on Facebook. And it's become one of my favorite things to read. Especially when I make the list. LOL. But, it's just such a positive way to look at life.

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    1. Margie, I love this! I've always been one to verbally list the good things in my life. Gee, wonder if she'd mind if I snatched her idea and ran with it...

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    2. Vonnie,
      I'm sure she'd be fine with it. I think she heard about if from someone else or another website. It sure makes you think about the good in your day and not the bad.

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  6. Getting ready trips, like Charlene, when I'm really busy, but with my writing,also. I have lists of names, lists of traits, plot lists, chapter lists, even event lists. Does that destory my love for the story? No, and I have to guess it's because I learn to love (or hate) my characters before I begin to write.

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  7. I don't make list because I know I won't follow it. I do, however keep a list of secondary character names. In my very first story, a secondary character changed names twice.

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  8. I make lists when I travel; there's always so much to pack. Grocery lists are a must because I will always forget what I'm out of.

    Also, I open two files when I start a new story. One is for character names, appearance, habits, and speech patterns. My agent requires this. The other is for all copyrighted material or trade names used in my book. My publisher requirement.

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  9. Great post! I'm a list maker. And I've even made lists of lists!

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  10. It sounds as though nearly everyone makes at least SOME lists. I like those files, Vonnie, though it sounds way too organized to be something I'd do. :-)

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  11. Oh, no, Isabella, that sounds too close to OCD!

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  12. LOL! Great post! I'm not a list maker either. I think I can remember things but I never do. You'd think I'd learn. And like you I have a notepad on my phone. Perfect! Not so much.

    I admire people who make lists. Just like I admire plotters. But I'm neither one of those people.

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