Monday, October 31, 2011

To-Do Lists

Happy Monday slash Halloween!! Firstly, an announcement:

**FUN ALERT!!** For a special Monday treat that I had absolutely nothing to do with, I'd like to direct your attention to one of my favorite blogs for a SERIOUSLY COOL contest! Prizes included signed copies of super-fabulous books. And the best part is that the contest rules are incredibly easy. Now, go HERE to check it out! And also, you should follow this blog because it's awesome.

Now on to the regularly scheduled program:

I guess today might be slightly more fun for some of you with costumes and candy and festivities and such, but generally, Monday's have a bad reputation. You know, the whole work week, stress, and responsibilities thing. I get it. But Monday is quite important to me because it's the day that starts my weekly To-Do list. And I heart my To-Do list.

Some people have asked me how I managed to finish my first draft. Writing really looks different to everyone, and all writers have their own way of pushing through the draft. There's no "right" way to write a novel, but one thing is common in all writers: Persistence.

I mentioned in my profile that I'm obsessed with To-Do lists, so I figured I'd explain why. As a writer, I DEPEND on my list. I need it. I love it. Maybe that's a little too "structured" for some people, but it's how I do what I do. If I didn't have a To-Do list, my novel would never have been written. And without it I will never complete my revisions. Why? Because my list is comprised of GOALS, and goals propel me to keep a forward momentum. I like to work toward things. I like to complete tasks. I especially like to see check marks next to said tasks. It's like a signal to my brain that says, "Good job!" And it gives me the warm fuzzies. :)

My To-Do list is actually broken down into four separate entities. My yearly goals are the largest part of the cumulative "List". These are generally made around December of the previous year, kind of like New Year's resolutions. I break my yearly goals down into monthly goals. This makes them easier to tackle. My monthly goals, as you might imagine, are written on my monthly calendar which hangs on the wall by my desk. The monthly goal is then broken down into weekly goals, which are written in my weekly planner. This sits on my desk. Finally, my weekly goals are broken down into daily goals, which are on an app in my iPhone. With this app you can check off tasks as you complete them, and it actually shows little check marks! Those check marks are like PRIZES. I want to collect ALL the check marks! It's like a game! Sort of.

I know this sounds a little OCD, but if I didn't do this I would probably never get stuff done. I'm one of those people who suffers from the PROCRASTINATIONS. My lists help me overcome this debilitating disease.

So that's my "secret". That's how I keep myself going with my writing. I set goals, I break them down into smaller goals, and I DO THEM. I don't always get everything done on my To-Do list. Sometimes life happens and I fall behind. Sometimes I get lazy. Sometimes the motivation is just gone and I need to take a break. But the point is that I don't take a break forever because my list is waiting, and the satisfaction of completing it far outweighs the temporary satisfaction of being lazy.

With that said, it's time to get stuff done. I hope everyone has a wonderfully productive Monday!

How YOU do keep yourself moving forward?


  1. I love to-do lists, too—and I'm about to (FINALLY) get an iPhone, so I'm totally going to need the name of that app! ;) Right now, I'm lucky if I get enough sleep and get laundry and dishes done (new baby = NOW I understand why people with kids are so busy all the time), but I'm sure to-do lists will one day re-enter my life, lol. :)

  2. Ohhh, you'll love the iPhone. The app I use is called Things, you MUST get it! There's so much you can do with it. Congratulations on becoming a mommy!! Your son is PRECIOUS, I saw his picture on your blog! I really don't know how writers with kids do it'll have to let me know if/when you figure it out :)

  3. I'm like that feather in Forrest Gump, just drifting around and around....Seriously, I am not a lister, but maybe I should be. And I think my blogger update thingy is broken. I'm seeing all these things pop up today (Tuesday) where the writers are saying 'It's Monday, and...' I feel like a man out of time!