I sat down this morning to write a list of ideas for my upcoming blog and was a few lines in when inspiration struck – I didn’t NEED this list, because I could write a blog ABOUT lists and how fabulous and essential they are. Brilliant! And I can even relate it to writing because so many of my lists are about writing!
I LOVE lists. I do, I really do. I always start the day with at least one list, and nothing beats the satisfaction of ticking things off that list. I don’t wait until New Year to write lists of resolutions – I tend to do this on a monthly basis, a never-ending list of things I’m convinced will result in a perfect life if only I could put a tick next to them all…
I don’t think it’s just me – everyone loves a good list, don’t they? A love ingrained from a very early age, I realized, as my five year old made me sit down with her the other day to help with the spelling on her Christmas list – she’d seen something on an advert on TV and just had to write it down immediately (it was a Barbie Puppy Play Park in case Santa is reading this, and she’s been a very good girl this year so definitely must be on the good list).
This week, and it’s only Wednesday as I write this, I have written the following lists:(apologies in advance for the mention of the C word. I can’t help myself – ONLY 15 WEEKS TO GO!)
List of short story competitions
List of short story ideas
List of chapter ideas for new book
Daily lists of scenes I want to write
List of potential titles for new book
List of blog ideas
Daily work lists for the day-job
Weekly task list for the day-job
List of things to buy in lunch-hour at day-job
Food shopping lists
Menu plan for the week
List of children’s school activities I need to pay for/complete forms for
Christmas present lists (sorry)
Everything I want to buy for Autumn/Winter lists
List of new books I want to buy
List of ingredients for recipes
List of chores to be done in house (long)
List of chores to be done in garden (longer)
List of exercise I WILL do this week (short)
Lists of very expensive things I would buy if rich
List of very expensive places I would go if rich
I think maybe I have a problem. But I definitely work better if I have lists. Take food shopping for example – send me shopping without a list, I’ll spend twice as much money and come back with nothing edible. It’s the same for writing. I’m not a huge planner – I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in a book when I start writing. I know my characters, how the book starts and how it ends. In between I write a lot of lists, lists that change regularly as I go along. Some are abandoned, some are expanded, some are ruthlessly cut. I start with a vague, unnumbered list of what might happen, then a less vague list of chapter numbers and what might happen. The first lists might only have a dozen chapter ideas – the rest of it tends to spring from the characters’ actions. But I always go back and update my lists because if I didn’t, my poor characters would just wander around, getting lost and being generally useless.
Do you know, reading this back through, I sound like I should be quite organised, don’t I? Almost… efficient. Hmmm… not sure where the lists are going wrong for me. Maybe it’s the lack of things actually ticked off those lists that’s the problem?
Still, never mind – can’t stop. Lists to write, stories to finish.