Behold the to do list! I love writing them and checking them off. For me, to do lists are backbone, lifeline, and artifact. They are stability, control, and gratification. And, in their lowest form, my to do lists are sometimes, sigh, just a dumping ground.
I write to don’t lists too.
I even engage at the meta level. I know several reading this post with whom I have shared process and systems. We’ve taken them for road tests, analyzed the results, the pros, the cons. Okay, we’ve over analyzed them. You nodded knowingly, even ached when I told you about giving up my beautiful Franklin planner in an effort to migrate unencumbered across the digital divide armed with nothing but my smartphone. To travel far, one must travel light. And carry an external battery. Oh and a charging cable.
Writers live with homework. All of the time. There’s no vacation or weekends. There’s always something to do and this can be invigorating, overwhelming, exhausting, and inspiring. So I offer this to you today in our continuing conversation on writing. Look at your writerly self today. Ask her what she wants. What are you preparing her for? Is it publication? Is it new work? Is it an end goal? Is it a long sustained practice? What habits keep us dutiful to old, outdated expectations?
Then, make ready. Don’t just write a to do list. You’re better than that. Create an irresistible path for the writer you want to be.