The Importance For Authors of Keeping a List

The habit of maintaining a list of items to be addressed is something which I feel has helped me tremendously in keeping, and staying, organized in my writing. As there are always many things to do in our writing endeavors, such as ideas for new stories, posts for blogs, interviews with authors, to name but a few examples, it is good to be able to keep a record of future ideas, and tasks, someplace which we can refer back to at any time.

The Importance for Authors of Keeping a List

In my case, I have a little notepad near my computer on which I have a numbered list of things which I wish to do over time, and which I consequently mark off once I have completed. Once the majority of the items have been addressed, I dispose of this page, and complete a fresh page of tasks. Each writer works differently, and other people may, for example, employ the use of an Excel spreadsheet, or some other such method – whatever works for each writer in their individual way.

I have found that without this, I am a little, as the saying goes, ‘out at sea’, as I may miss out on doing things which might be important in the overall scheme of things at some stage. And now, as I have provided my thoughts on this subject, the discussion is over to you, for your opinion, on the importance of keeping a list for authors.

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8 thoughts on “The Importance For Authors of Keeping a List

  1. Up to now I have managed without making lists but as my ‘projects’ begin to pile up I think it would be beneficial to do so. I was thinking a notebook with sections/tabs would be best. Each tab will be for a different project/blog post/idea.

    • I did the same in the beginning, but, there was a moment last year when I was forgetting to do things, and I wasn’t happy at all with that, and started with my notepad. What you say sounds very beneficial, very organized; a great idea.

  2. I agree with you completely. My problem is that I have too many lists on the go. I need to work on getting to the part where you consolidate all the little lists. But this post is a good reminder to get my act together.

    • I know what you mean, it can get that way sometimes, especially as there’s so much else going on besides writing. I try to keep my list to one little note pad page, but some of the little jobs are things which I do over time, added to the jobs which are more one off. Everyone works in such different ways, but I try to keep it to one page so it looks less stressful, and so that I won’t look at it and become horrified!!!

  3. I have to agree that writing split-second ideas down so you can’t just forget them is a great way to prevent any inability to decide what to write about. I’ve had ideas for how to make my plots run more smoothly occur to me at middle-of-the-night times like 2:00 a.m. when I’d like to get to sleep instead of writing. If I make a quick note of the idea- I don’t have to worry about forgetting it before I ever try to develop it into its final form.
    I’ve never really thought to describe my system as a list, but I guess that’s essentially what it is. I’ve not used any paper for a while, I just tend to create a new folder on my computer for each story idea. Each of those folders gets a text-file(generally .docx) named _notes where I write out a near-outline of events and details I don’t want to forget.
    This arrangement happily lends itself to any paranoid compulsion that might require me to keep backups of my ‘evil plans’ in several places.

  4. It’s funny, I haven’t had any late night ideas coming for a while, but they’re great when you have them! Your method sounds great, I do a similar thing, by keeping a file breakdown/plan of each story on the computer and, and a separate file for the actual written story. I backup to generally one place, but sometimes to a disk and maybe another place (a few computer breakdowns last year made me a little anxious about losing work).

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