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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lists of Importance

So you've gone to the hardware store to pick up a few items for your house building project. You buy roofing nails (tons of them), tar, and several sheets of plywood; but when you get home, you realize you forgot the one thing you really needed for that days project: sewer drainpipe .

How could you have forgotten such an important item? I know, I know, we've all done it. You failed to use a list.

The same thing can happen when writing your story or novel.

Over the years, I've learned to keep several lists. For example, I complete a list of traits for each of my characters, I list plot points to help me stay focussed, and I constantly refer to my list of characteristics (such as brevity and clarity) I want to incorporate in my writing style. But one list stands above the others: my "Why I Write" list.

I wrote my "Why I Write" list when I began writing seriously--for money, anyway--about sixteen years ago. It includes statements most writers feel, such as "Not writing would feel like death" and "It's simply something I must do." But it also verbalizes beliefs that are personal to me--beliefs; i.e., messages--I want to infuse in my writing. For instance, I believe there is great power in the written word, and we writers have a divine responsibilty to use that power to further God's kingdom. Similarly, I believe it's vital for me to produce works of goodness and virtue to thwart the opposite influences. And I truly desire to strengthen what is great and noble within each reader.

Those things, among others, are why I write; but more than that, they are words--my own words--that can lift me from "rejection depression" and inspire me to improve and work harder. They are, somewhat but not entirely like sewer drainpipes, the necessary things I must not forget.

Perhaps such a list can work for you.

3 comments:

Stephanie said...

All those lists are great ideas. Now if I could just remember to consult them once I've written them...

Candace Salima . . . the LDS Nora Roberts said...

Lists are good things. I always forget the most important thing if I don't make a list. I make for shopping. I make one at the beginning of every day of what needs to be done. And I make list of what I have to accomplish in my writing that day.

What I found when I didn't make the lists . . . oh yeah, chaos ensued and I got absolutely nothing done. Oh, it was fun, but nothing worthwhile gets done.

Anne Bradshaw said...

I like this list idea. I also keep notes of things I should and shouldn't do when writing, but unfortunately, the notes get shoved in a file and are really difficult to find or follow. I need to get into the habit of doing it right. Thanks for the reminder.