The Case for Making Lots of Lists

Sometimes all you can do is make lists and check them twice

Sometimes all you can do is make lists and check them twice

Originally published on June 29

This post is week ½ because I haven’t had time to read the books on self-organizing (they’re loaded on the Kindle for the plane) in the rush of organizing – there’s that word again – everything to attend LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN, this coming weekend.

This convention, which was very welcoming to us from the first time I attended it eight years ago, has become a family thing every year.  We have friends there, the children have friends there, my publisher attends, and the fans know that’s the place to find us.

Only this year, it’s two weeks earlier than usual, and it seems to have rushed in on us, partly because of the Colorado wild fires and how they affected my ability to concentrate (it’s hard to think clearly when you’re breathing in smoke).

So since I turned in the last post on organizing, I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off and making lots of lists.

My husband got into the act, both because he’s afraid I’ll misplace my head and never find it again, and because he thinks I should make lots of lists.

He has installed at least three apps for daily activity tracking and scheduling on my Kindle Fire, and he has tried to discuss their pros and cons with me.

For a while in the late nineties, I was a faithful user of Franklin planners. At the time they were a very expensive system for someone who was not even technically working. Well, no, scratch that, I was working, but not making any money.

However, the ability to prioritize tasks and carry forward those that hadn’t been fulfilled, as well as the ability to keep track of different types of lists, allowed me to separate home and work (I told you separating seems to be important in this organizing thing!).

But even the Franklin planners never fit quite right. After all, creative endeavors are not like any other sort of business, and most planners are geared towards business.

Most planners for writers at that time were either geared towards journalists or to the sort of terminally poetic soul who has no intention (and no hope) of ever doing this for a living.

The first ones made me feel like I was impersonating a grown-up, with their whole sections about “people talked to today” and “gas, food and hotel expenses” and “information gathered.” The latter made me feel like I was a grown-up looking down on teens playing dress-up as novelists.

There was nothing for someone like me, who needed to keep track of where she was on three different long-term projects, and time-manage herself and not a team. (I could create a team of characters, and it would be amusing, but writers are at best unsteadily poised in reality, and that would just be inviting trouble.)  In fact, the problem with those business planners and the planners for writers is that I had an often-irresistible urge to fill them in as though I were a character in, oh, spaceship salvage, or a pet shop devoted to the sale of frogs who might or might not be princes.

There still isn’t anything that will specifically keep track of multiple creative projects, at different phases, for a single writer/artist/creative.  Part of my work these thirteen weeks is to figure out what my ideal planner app would look like.

Meanwhile, the books on organizing will get read on the plane, and I’ll post the other half of this article later.

For now I’m back to lists: lists of people to see, lists of things to discuss with my publisher, lists of things to take, lists of things to do before I go.

When I come back, halfway through next week, I shall write a more detailed post on my plans for organizing myself.

There has to be an easier way to do this.

And no matter how much I like his work, this is definitely the wrong kind of Liszt!

And no matter how much I like his work, this is definitely the wrong kind of Liszt!


Images courtesy shutterstock /  Dan Kosmayer