List Mania!

list1.jpgI love lists.  I have them all over the house–on the refrigerator, on my desk, in the bathroom, in my head.

I write fulltime, but I also work fulltime outside the home, so I need lists to keep track of all the things I must do.  I *feel* better knowing I’m organized.  Or at least thinking I am.  And I feel gratified in seeing all those little tasks that I’ve completed being crossed off.

As I write this, I’ve just agreed to a new three-book contract with my publisher.  The very same day brought the arrival of a new granddaughter.  We’re in the process of building a new addition onto our kitchen.

And here we are–starting a brand new year.

Time for another list.lists2.jpg

With all these changes going on, I have to keep my writing foremost.  And since I’ve got the urge to stretch, try something bigger, I have to keep myself focused, super-organized and motivated.

I know many of you out there are writers.  Here’s a few ideas I use to keep focused on writing:

*Write every day.  It’ll become a habit.  You’ll see a boost in your creativity.  You’ll develop more ideas, too.

*Read, read, read.  But do so slowly and pay attention to word choice.  Study dialogue and character development.  Consider the techniques your favorite authors use and then apply them to your own writing.

*Resist the impulse to overdo.  This is a big one for me.  Learn to say no.  Cut back on distractions like email or computer games.  But also take the time for relaxation and fun.  The mind needs to replenish itself.

*Acknowledge that none of this is easy.  Your family will have to pitch in and help you.  Sacrifices will have to be made.  You’ve got a lifestyle change to make!

*Find resources to help.  Support your need to write with how-to books, your very own writing space, and a community of other writers doing what you’re doing.

My list sounds like a New Years Resolution list, doesn’t it?  What better time to make resolutions than right now?  Start a list of goals–or make just one big goal!

list4.jpgA good plan, right?  Unfortunately, fewer than 10% of people who make resolutions keep them.

I intend to be part of that 10%.  How about you?

Here’s another list that might help.

*Write your goals down. It’s a proven fact that doing so will help you succeed.

*Commit. Make the decision to write (or whatever you want to do) and stick with it.  Consider a goal-making ceremony to symbolize that commitment.

*Tell people.

*Get accountability.  See above.  Share your goals intentions with a group of someones who will ask you on a regular basis how you’re doing.

*Do a Goal Check-In. Before you decide what you’re going to resolve for the year, make sure you can answer an enthusiastic “YES!” to the following list of questions:

–Am I the real reason for setting this goal? (And not your husband, kids, mother, boss?)

–Do I feel alive and energized by this goal?

–Will this goal help me ahieve my life purpose or mission?

*Take a second look at your goal.  Is it the same one you resolved last year? Or the year before? What makes you think you can accomplish it THIS year?

*Keep focused with reminders. Post them on your bathroom mirror.  Or computer monitor.  Or your palm pilot.  Or your cell phone.  Whatever works for you.

*Believe in yourself. Visualize yourself as successfully achieving your goal.

What about all you non-writers?  Does a new year compel you to be more organized, too?

*Make a list! Here’s a fun site where you can print off all kinds of colorful lists.  Best of all, they’re free!

Is your goal to have a cleaner house? Here’s a fun site that will give you tons of motivational tips. You can even sign up to to receive weekly emails–and yep, it’s all free!

*Have over-stuffed closets? Go through them and keep only the clothes that fit, that you love, and that bring your compliments.  Get rid of the rest.

*Have too much make-up and toiletries cluttering your bathroom?  Instead of buying multiple products, buy moisturizers, cleaners and creams that do multiple jobs.  Toss expired medicines, old brushes and sponges.

*Use colorful baskets to organize office space, play areas, mudrooms.

So go for it, my friends.  Make lists!  Stick to your goals!

Let us know if you’re feeling motivated!  Are you ready for a fresh start in 2008?

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Pam has written 30 romances, most of them historical westerns, but her newest releases are contemporary sweet romances featuring the Blackstone Ranch series published by Tule Publishing. Stay up on the latest at

23 thoughts on “List Mania!”

  1. I’m a list maker from way back when and not just for things to do or goals. I have alphabetized lists of movies and oldies songs I like, baby names/character names and so forth.

    I also tend to jot lists when I know I have a lot to do around the house, or things to take to my mom when we go up to visit.

    As for goals and motivations for this year..I’m already on my way. I finished (the 1st draft) of the novel I started during November’s NaNo on January 3rd. I’ve decided to let it simmer a bit before I get back to it and the very next day I started my 5th novel, which will be part 1 of 4 about 4 sisters. So far so good, since the 4th of January, I’m already over 12K into it and loving how my characters are developing.

    I’ve basically carried over my goals from last year as far as my writing goes- I hope to write at least 2-3 more first drafts, more if I can manage it. Last year was full of all sorts of problems outside my writing, but “knock on wood” this year is getting off on good footing and I hope that it bodes well for how the rest of this year will play out.

    I’m definitely feeling motivated!

  2. Phyliss, you’re a writer so you know how it is!

    To help myself stay organized, I bought a spiffy bright red daily planner, half-price from Barnes & Noble. Believe it or not, I’ve never had a planner before, so I feel myself getting dependent on the thing already. I bring it with me to work, and when I’m at home, it’s sitting right there on my desk.

    Now’s the best time to get a 2008 planner/calendar–you’ll get a great deal!

  3. Fundamental writing goal.
    A thousand words a day and a charming note to someone.

    Also: Lists may be how ADD afflicted people cope. I consider that to be true in my case.

    And, my seriously ultimate organizational tool that has, in fact, saved my life numerous times because I am a forgetful flake…like I make lists then LOSE THEM.
    A Yahoo Group with only ME as a member. I put everything in the calendar and have the ‘group’ email me reminders. Payroll due. Book due. Blog interview due. Booksigning. It’s really worked for me because I check my email many times a day. Plus I have about five email addresses (don’t ask me how, it just HAPPENED!!!!!) So I have ALL my email addresses as members of my group and so I’ll get the reminder to five different places, so I’m reminded over and over and over again.

  4. Wow, this is great everyone!

    I too am a list maker and I love seeing those items crossed off as they are accomplished.

    Writing goals this year…complete at least 1 more short story, at least work on 5th Tempered novel or something totally new, get more articles posted at Associated Content, if possible, finish script for The Inheritance…oh boy, I’m feeling overwhelmed so I’ll stop there LOL!

    GREAT topic!

  5. Pamela,

    Your goals are all writing-related. Good for you! You sound focused and ready to go for the New Year.

    You’re right, tho, in stopping when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed will be the first step to failure if you take on too much, which is so easy to do when you’re fired up for the New Year.

    Keep us posted on your accomplishments!

  6. Pam, what a great blog topic! I make lists too, lots of them, but not because I want to get organized. Well, maybe a little is because I want to keep stuff straight and orderly I admit. But, the main reason I make lists is so I’ll “actually” remember what it is I’m supposed to do from day to day. I have a horrible memory. It’s like a giant vacuum where things go never to be seen or thought of again. Now you know how forgetful I am. Maybe I should’ve kept that a secret and let you think that I have a mind like a steel trap. lol So far, I haven’t forgetten my blog day, my writing deadline, the place where I keep my keys, and especially my name that I tend to misplace now and again. It’s all because of lists.

    Here’s to New Year’s resolutions and getting (and staying) organized!! I wish you a lot of success with it. I know you’ll make it. You’re a smart cookie. 🙂

  7. I’m not so much a list maker as a sticky note paster! LOL

    There are so many sticky notes on my desk it should grow wings and fly away! I jot down ideas, websites I want to look up, events, names, what I need to do next. A list would probably do much better since it would all be in one place, but then my desk wouldn’t be near as colorful!

    Intersting blog!

  8. Pam, awesome stuff here. I am a list-maker and try to keep a daily journal but organizational skills are soooooooo hard for me. I need to simplify too. We always go for a “new look” each year after taking down Chritmas decorations and this year involves buying nothing new, just keeping decor et al to a minimum. Less dusting too LOL….but I’m still not done revising my website and I still need to update a blog. How do you write AND WORK full time both, Pam? Whew! I admire you so.

  9. Linda, now see? You shouldn’t have said anything. You’re one of the most efficient little fillies I know. I had no idea you have a terrible memory. LOL.

    As I read your comment, I thought, duh! Forgetfulness is a huge reason I have to make lists. And I never used to be so danged forgetful until the Big M hit.

    I’ve made a concentrated effort to eat more omega 3–salmon, which thankfully, I love. And I’ve been taking a fish oil supplement, all in the hopes of being less forgetful. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it works!

  10. Paty, oh, yes, those loveable sticky notes.

    I’ve made myself cut back on using those. I’ve had some up around my monitor for so long, the ink has faded. And then they lose their sticky and flutter right onto my desk top or the floor, and then forget it. It’s gone.

    But they have a huge advantage in that once they remind you, they’re easily thrown away.

    Thanks for chiming in!

  11. Tanya,

    Hi, there! I’ve never had much luck with a daily journal, but I do love my planner more and more.

    So do you *totally* redecorate every Christmas? I have an uncle who’s like that–he really gets into his trees. But I can’t imagine having all those decorations to store. Or throw away. And the money he must spend!

    As far as writing and working fulltime and how I do it–some days, not so well. But there’s this annoying thing called a 401(k) plan at my job that my husband is insistent we have to have. And my job allows me to do personal stuff (like blogging) in my spare time.

    It’s hard to give those things up.

  12. I’m so not surprised you’re a listmaker, too, Cheryl. You’re always able to accomplish so much in a limited amount of time, and you’re one of the most focused busy persons I know!

  13. LOL- I had to comment again-

    When Paty was describing her desk with all the sticky notes all I could imagine was a giant tropical bird with colorful post-it note feathers squawking!

  14. You work and write and do all the other things you do, Pam? Wow, you’re amazing!
    I used to do that–write, hold down a full time job and raise teenagers on my own. I must have been younger and more energetic then. Or maybe it’s just that you do what you have to. But I’ve always been a believer in lists. Without one, I catch myself wondering what I’ve done at the end of the day!
    Thanks for the wise words

  15. Hi Pam, I could have used a list today. Lots of stuff got done, but none of the things I intended, like working on the new proposal.

    Mary, what a nifty way to use Yahoo! I might give it a try.

  16. Pam – I love lists too. I make mental lists all the time and because my memory isn’t what it used to be (though I’m not THAT old, just constantly busy) I write things down. I don’t think I could live in today’s world without my calendar of lists and what needs to get done when. I have a “honey do” list that makes my hubby cringe, but he’s soooo good about accomplishing things for me, I don’t complain if they are done in his time frame and not mine!

  17. Hi, Vicki! Glad you stopped by, and I hope by the time you read this, you’ve had a much more productive day.

    Hi, Charlene–ah, yes. The Honey-Do list! That’s a good one, too. I’m so thankful my husband can do lots of things around the house. He’s so talented that way.

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