Sunday, September 5, 2010


I'm a list maker. It's like my little daily road map, and without it I'm lost. Actually, I'm a lists maker. I have a large, lined Post-it on my (cheap little) portable events calendar. Next to (or, actually, sort of underlapping) that large, lined Post-it is another large, lined Post-it that has a list of things I have to remember to buy. In the kitchen, attached to the side of the refrigerator, is a magnetic pad of paper where another list builds. Usually it says DOG FOOD and MILK. I should just get a pad printed that starts with DOG FOOD and MILK. We go through a crazy amount of DOG FOOD and MILK. What I like about lists is how they make my brain feel. It's so relieved to have a list because once an item's on the list my brain is excused from having to remember it and lets out a happy little cerebral sigh. (Is sounds like, Ahhhhhh, thank you!) So my brain loves the lists, but I--the whole of me--love the ch-check! that I boldly deliver when something on the list is complete. Ch-CHECK! Oh, yeah! I will go so far as to add things to the list after the fact, just so I can go ch-check! I will also use The List to force completion of a task I've been avoiding. See, once the task makes The List, I've got to face it. There it is, amidst a stack of other tasks, and as the ch-check!s mount and I'm left with only a few items remaining, I will finally bite the bullet and do it.

How can a list be so powerful? I mean, it's not a law, or anything, that you have to do everything on your list, but--at least on a day-to-day level--there is nothing more glorious than a list fully checked.

People often ask me how I manage to do so much. Well, I'm not Superwoman or one of those people who don't require much sleep. (I need eight hours minimum.) What I do have, though, is The List. The key is to make your list manageable. Don't write Paint The House on your list. Write: Decide on Color. (next line) Buy the Paint (next line) Mask the Windows in the Living Room (next line) Remove the Switch Covers in the Living Room.... You need a separate line for each semi-major step in each room or you're not getting enough ch-check! therapy. (It is therapy, too, excellent for your soul and your productivity, so don't deny yourself.) Writing a novel is like painting the house. You need to break it down into manageable steps and give yourself ample ch-check! therapy along the way. And since most of us spend our days juggling more than we can really manage, it's easy to have Write Three Pages (or whatever a reasonable goal for your circumstances might be) never make it onto the list. So put it there. Somewhere between Water Plants and Soccer Practice put Write Three Pages. Somewhere between Take Out Trash and Call Landlord put Write Three Pages. If it's something you want to do, add it to the list of things you have to do.

If you're anything like me, it's the only way you'll get it done.



Eleanor said...

I always make lists but then I always loose them......

Anonymous said...

I'm not much of a list maker but my older sister has over 100 notes on her iPhone with lists on EVERYTHING. Like, what bass he needs to listen to, what mcies she wants to see, what colleges she might consider applying for, And what-not. Lists don't help me as much because I've always been the type of person to start something and never finish it so then a few months later I'd look back and think about the millions of things I'd forgotten to add... :0
Anyway this was previously xxcammyloverxx ad xxAARxxATLxx3OH3 (or whatever). Now my username stands for my two favorite boys ever. :D Casey and Peeta of course! Peeta is just SO AMAZING like Casey, and I can't even decide between the two books for which one I like better... :P I think it's still SK, and this is just a fad but maybe not. I can't believe there's not an SK movie yet but there's already a Hunger Games movie...!? :(
Maybe I should start making a list of why it would be a good idea to make an SK movie? :D

Jinnyd said...

I love lists! Even thought I usually put them on scrap pieces of paper that get lost. Anyway.

Lists are also wonderful for school projects (which are looming in the future, just like the first chapter of Moby Dick. Call me JinnyD).

How's the next Sammy book going? (hintidy hint hint hint hint hint hint)

Stefunny said...

You speak to my soul. I need to get crackin and use my time wisely.

Pooja Dimba said...

Like everyone else here, the lists I make end up somewhere under my bed or in the trash.
Even though I never put it there.
Nice post!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

I used to have the same problem with losing lists, but since I started using the big Post-its on my calendar, I don't. They're like 4x6, not huge--just right.

Things are going great with Sammy, thanks for asking. I'll post more about her soon.

Former xxclxx -- Casey's got competition? Impossible! :-)

N3WYORKD3VIL said...

1. Go to school and suffer. Ch-check.

2. Find out that someone had chicken pox and came to school. Ch-check.

3. Go home. Ch-check.

4. Christopher taunts me about being in France. Ch-check.

5. Watch Full House. Ch-check.

6. Be bored. Ch-check.

7. Change my cat's litter

I'm gonna do that from now on. Ch-check! That's fun. =]

Evil cat...I have to change the litter box every half hour. I think he does it on purpose. Its revenge for giving him a bath.

But I still love him...He's only fifteen weeks old.'
lfhm ejhjfui4j3uf45t5tggergrjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj

I'm teaching him to type. He's doing great...I need to teach him how to spell his name...C'mon...type it...

He's tired. And has no fleas, thank you very much.

Haha. I named him Dorito =]

frances said...

Wow, I should really make lists so I don't forget to do important things like homework, which I do do. But I'm talking about those things that sort of slip your mind once and a while when you are in a hurry and are focused on something else. You know what I'm saying?

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