Lists are a Writers Bestfriend

So I wouldn’t call myself a type-A personality, but I definitely have some tendencies. For one thing, I love lists. I will make a list of things I’ve already completed just to cross them off.

Oh yeah, that hits the spot.

And you know what I’m talking about. Very few things rival crossing a harsh line through a finished task. I’d say such things would include popping plastic packing bubbles, making a cocoon for your feet at the end of a blanket, and blowing a perfect bubble. I felt satisfied just WRITING that.

So, as of late while I’m trying to finish my first novel, I have been harnessing the power of the list. Because lists don’t just line up, in a neat order, what’s left you have to accomplish, they also hold you physically accountable for what you don’t do. When you date a list you have no defense when you don’t finish what you started.

So, that’s what I’ve done. I made up a to-do list of what I wanted to accomplish in my novel for the next two months. Word count, time frame, the works. And so far, I’ve stuck to it. And crossing off that first week was sweeter than a spoonful of honey.

Will I complete the whole thing? Hell if I’m not going to! I want that feeling of accomplishment EVERY week. And the key to this short lived success thus far was the achievability of the goals. I told myself to write 2,000 words (or one chapter) a day for every weekday, and I could take the weekends off. No more guilty Sunday writing to make up for my lack of dedication Monday-Friday.

No way, no how. I write all week, make my 10,000 words, then have to weekend to revel in my greatness. And to think about where I want my book to go on Monday. Personally I think the five on, two off, strategy is a great one. It’s not for everyone, but lists are.

So, fellow writers, if you find yourself in a funk, whether it be writers block or lack of dedication,  write down your goals, throw on a couple of deadlines, and then think about the euphoria of crossing those niggling to-dos off your list.

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