I tend to have a very structured way of thinking of things. Even when I’m letting my creativity flow, I visualise my thoughts in lists or columns and put ideas down in logical order before mixing everything up again for dramatic flair. And from this logical way of thinking, I’ve come to love the art of list-making. A good list can solve all your problems. If you spend the time needed to compile a list properly, the largest of concepts can be broken down and tackled without the usual anxiety that comes with keeping your ideas bunched up in your head.
Whenever I make a list, I write a draft and a finished copy – what good is a list if you can’t decipher between the mistakes you’ve made, what you’ve scribbled out and what you’d actually like to read. If my finished copy needs updating (as it so often does), I write out a whole new list. It doesn’t have to be super neat if you’re not into that thing, it just needs to be laid out in such a way that makes sense in your own head.
I’ve made tonnes of lists. Lists for future purchases, books to read, place to travel, dishes to try – but I also use lists as a form of soul-searching and self-improvement when journaling just won’t cut it. Things like how to be more organised or how to have a happier day. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to make a list of lists I want to create.
Most importantly, I always make my own. I might google the topic for a few ideas, but I never settle for generic answers that aren’t directly relative to me. If you come up with the points for your own lists yourself, your lists become just a wonderful way of keeping your own, original thoughts in order.
The following is a list of “writing goals” I made for myself a few months back. I’ve ticked off one, two and three but I am always thinking of more ways to work these goals into my daily life, to keep on top of my plan and to make things happen for me.
My WRITING GOALS for the next six months:
- Submit to a few competitions or magazines
- Touch up previously written pieces and submit
- Write new pieces specific to competition guidelines
- Buy a new laptop
- Make it easy to start writing every day
- Have organised folders so you never lose drafts or plans
- Look into blogging
- Read a few blogs, look at their content – is this something you could or would like to do?
- Look into the logistics, costs and time consumption of regular blogging
- Complete (at least) three plans
- Make them detailed; they should be able to expand into full-length stories
- Keep adding to them so when the time comes, you have these stories in your back pocket, ready to go
- Set your personal bench-mark
- Spend the first month discovering a reasonable amount of writing to complete in a week based on available time and energy
- Make it a habit to stick to this amount of writing as a minimum each week
I don’t think I’ll ever stop updating this particular list and that’s something I feel really good about. Are there any lists you always have on the go? Or any list you really need to make?