Wednesday, March 7

Staying On Track

Photo by Marit's Paper World
Isn't this list pretty? I suspect if I had a board like this for every season, month and week I'd keep it filled...just so I could play around with the design from time to time, add in new to-do's and . . . well, mark up the listings on each page.

I'd attach a list like this to the wall in our utility room...and I'd have another for the refrigerator in the kitchen - yanno, for meals. Oh, and I'd have to have another for grocery lists. And then, in my office, I'd have a pretty list frame for each WIP and music playlist and...Oh, the list goes on.

Which is why I don't do a lot of listing anymore. There was a time in my life when I lived by the list. If something wasn't on the list I didn't do it. Which left very little room for spontaneous stuff...and, for a closet lister, I do like going for a last minute picnic or something.

But the real reason I stopped making so many lists, especially where my writing was concerned, was that...I was always making the list. But rarely completing the list or even accomplishing much that was on the list. Instead I'd add items and items and items - Start WIP, change heroine's name, change hero's family history, add this twist, delete that angsty moment...but very little of it would move. Some call that plotting but I found myself frozen by Chapter 2 too many times to count. It wasn't plotting for me because I kept thinking of ways to tweak and things to add and not being able to move forward - even though some of the things on the list were waaaaay in the future of said manuscripts - so I'd stop. Stand still.

And that, of course, brought on the doubt crows. 'You can't really write a book,' they'd say. 'You should stick with non-fiction,' another would echo. And they were right. I couldn't write those books because I wasn't allowing myself the freedom to write. To create. To play around with ideas and thoughts and themes. I was too concentrated on The List.

So I stopped listing. Oh, I keep a spreadsheet of names and relationships and past events and physical descriptions. But lists of events in the book? Or ideas of twists and turns? Nope. I outline the general points, I note my characters and then...I start writing. Call me a pantser, if you will. Not following a list or a trend or anything except my vision for that book. Don't get me wrong, that vision by the book's end is rarely close to the vision at the beginning. But without those lists weighing me down, I get much more done.

But I'd still like one of those list boards for my groceries....

What about you? Do you list?

25 comments:

  1. We know I don't list, but I wouldn't mind having me one of those pretty boards! Great post, Kristi.

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    1. I could so list with a board like that! Thanks for stopping by, Liz!

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  2. I love lists, but I don't over-list...it would mess me up and I think I'd end up not getting anything done. LOL

    Fun post Kristi!

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    1. A list can be a dangerous thing, Christine!

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  3. Well,I suffer from a bad case of CRS. If I don't write it down, its as good as forgotten. I don't go overboard with them though, but a grocery shopping list is a must for me!

    Nice post,
    Neecy

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    1. I've been known to forget things *on* mt grocery list, Neecy!

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  4. good insight. I don't list while writing either. just let it flow and fix timing or character description discrepancies later.

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  5. Only a shopping list. Which I have to have or I forget to buy stuff. I've never been one to make lists for my writing. Like you I find it too confining.

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    1. Even the light outlining I do is flexible, Sharon!

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  6. That's it exactly, Liz...it has to flow.

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  7. I write out grocery lists, I outline a story when it pops into my head(but it is always flexible) and in a busy week I will write down what I need to accomplish to keep a handle on things. As I finish a task I check it off and move onto the next item--this keeps the day flowing. Marian

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    1. One of the joys of my day is marking items off the grocery list...or a busy weekly to-do list, Marian! Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. Thi is funny. I've been wanting one of those, even though I never make lists, except for the ones mentioned yesterday.

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  9. I am a list addict and I'm looking for a support group to get me through my 12 step program. :} I agrea that you spend so much time making lists that you forget to finish some of them. Then you make a list to remind you about the list. See what I mean, addicted. I will stop first thing tomorrow, I'll put it on the top of my list. lol
    Thanks for the great post.
    Lynda

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    1. LOL, Lynda! I had list about my lists...it was painful. Even my overly organized husband agreed. Good luck with that 12 step program!

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  10. Very rarely since I never follow them.

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    1. I always knew you were smarter than me, Jerri!

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  11. Yes, I list. I love my lists! My name is Sheri, and I'm a list maker. I need a constant reminder of what to do next. So many things pull me in different directions at once: livestock, kids, business, household, writing. If I didn't have my lists, I'd be lost.

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    1. Sounds like lists work for you, Sheri! Good for you!

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    1. do you have another organization technique, Brenda?

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  13. If I could have a list like the one in your picture, I'd be a listmaker in a minute!

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  14. Good post, Kristi. I never make lists--at least not written ones. Not even for groceries usually.

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  15. I find I do get more done if I have a list to keep me focused. But I can't do it for anything more than the day. I also know if I go to the grocery store, I do way better with a list. BUT if I start writing down everything in my head for tomorrow or next week or what I think (and I admit I do do this)- I just end up eventually tossing them and never looking at them. So short-term lists do work for me. Wow - this is a revelation - I think I will work on this.

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