Goals · Writers Write

The List

I have a To Do list. It’s the same stuff everyday–items like make the bed, unload the dishwasher, walk . . . I’d publish it here, but it’s so obvious, I’m embarrassed to admit the need to write it down. The truth is the list helps me get from moment-to-moment. You see, about a million times a day, I get stuck. I stare into oblivion for as long as it takes to gather my wits and say, “Oh yeah. Check the list, stupid.” Then I do the next thing.

I have this rule. I must work on the next thing for at least 15 minutes. The kitchen timer gets a big workout at my house. If I’m writing that means, I can’t check CNN, or read blog stats, or Google someone I haven’t thought about in twenty years. It means I have to open the .doc file and put one word after another. The list is like a reset button, a place to start when I’m lost in space.

When I had a job, a real job in the outside-of-my-house world, my lists were massive tomes. I can remember entire yellow legal pads of To Do items. Sometimes, the stuff was color-coded with deadlines and contact numbers. Here’s the crazy thing. Finishing the list was easier then. My little, menial list is harder to check off than the mass of scribbles I used to control.

Have I changed or is the work I do now more difficult?

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