|Photo by Marit's Paper World|
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?