Monday, March 2, 2009

Fireworks Sparklers & Writing

Do you get to the point where you don't have a clue what to write? Your Muse isn't shut down, it's just not working overtime. Perhaps you're the one who worked overtime, and are having a hard time reconnecting.

I find myself in that position this morning. As I contemplated various witty repartees, started several drafts of a blog entry, I realized they were "blah." Who, I wondered, would be interested in these drafts? Why would anyone on God's green earth want to listen to my rants and raves?

How do we make our writing sizzle and spark? To be relevant? To wax eloquent with lovely visual word paints? I've got so many things on my mind this Monday morning that are not writing related. If I'm going to light my writing up like a fireworks sparkler, I'm going to have to stop, regroup, rein my thinking in, and focus on the task at hand.

Am I organized enough to trust that what I'm thinking about can be added to a mental list of things to do later? Nope! My papers are organized, but if I have an idea that is butting against my thinking, I need to write it down, and focus on the task at hand. Create a to-do list. Again. I cannot depend on my thinking to keep track of it for me. If I do, I find the same thoughts running through my head over and over again without landing somewhere and finding a home until I can get to them.

Lists are great and awesome things. They keep me on track with my projects, they keep me from going on mental overload, and they keep remembering things I want to do without me having to run them through my mind over and over. Even the most organized person uses lists. Perhaps I should rephrase that and say, "The most organized people use lists to stay organized."

I could have all kinds of ideas about what I want to accomplish during the day, but not make it to more than one or two because I haven't committed those ideas to a list. I find when I make a list, it frees my brain up to think, whether it is about my current novel, or about writing a book review, etc.

Today, my list is 16 items long. Not all of them are to be completed today (thank God!), but I'm keeping track, and it's keeping me on track. How about you? Do you have a written list? Are you making organization work for you?


Jan Verhoeff said...

I post my schedule on Yahoo Calendar with instructions to notify me 15 minutes (or however long it takes to get to the project) ahead of time. The only problem with that is, Katie Hines (whoever she is) keeps sending emails my way too and I go make a note on facebook, go respond to her blog, and run around the Internet like a chicken with my head cut off thinking about the next big thing I have to do and eventually, amid all the mud and blood slinging, it all gets done. Most of the time!

Deb Hockenberry said...

Hi Katie,
You sound like me! I have an old journal that I make my to-do list in. If I didn't, I'd be who-knows-where on the internet doing who-knows-what!
Deb :-)

Morgan Mandel said...

I could not exist without lists. It drives me up the wall when I make a list and lose it!

Morgan Mandel

Donna McDine said...

Katie...terrific post...I'm a lists person myself...without them I feel like a fish out of water. Thanks for viewing my interview at Suite - much appreciated!