I like lists.
I like them a lot.
I like making them and crossing things off them. Something about all those lines through all those tasks is weirdly soothing.
But I don’t actually make a lot of lists.
A few months ago, I realized my review folder on my Kindle was getting a little out of control. I was losing track of release dates and putting off reading books in favor of books I had no commitment to. And while I doubt every reviewer feels this way, I do make an effort to review every book I request or receive.
So I made a list of all the books sitting in my review folder, included the release date and pinned it up in my cubical at work. Why did I put it up there? Partly because I spend most of my time at work. It was convenient – I could look at the list, pick out a few based on release date and include one or two from the backlog, write them out on a sticky note, and put the note on my monitor, where it would stare me in the face for seven hours a day, five days a week.
Strangely, it worked. I managed to knock off a bunch of books off the back log, including one that had been on there for almost a year (Chuck Wendig’s The Blue Blazes, which I reviewed for VBC last month). I redid the list last month, adding new titles, and I’ll probably redo it again later this month.
I’m seriously undisciplined when it comes to writing. One of the advantages to not being published is there are no deadlines other than ones you make up to worry about, and you can always put them off or change them. And I did that. Regularly. I’m terrified of the day I have to submit a proposal for a book or series, because I just can’t work that way right now. If I’m not feeling a project, forcing myself to work on it results in awful words and horrendously slow pacing, turning it into something that would likely be too crappy to save.
But I’ve got a milliondy ideas swimming around in my brain, plans and thoughts for current projects and trying to juggle them all is getting difficult. I submitted a book for Entangled’s Brazen line, Off the Pitch, that I’m hoping will get picked up, along with the other books I have planned in the series. Which, in my mind, means I should be working on book two, Red Card. I came up with a vague idea of how to expand on my futuristic novella, Touch, and now I actually need to sit down and think it through. Then there’s the new story I started (yeah, another one, shut up), a New Adult romance about an assassin – think Sydney Bristow from Alias (which was one of the most kickass shows ever). I’ve got another novella I want to write and submit to Harlequin, revisions on some of these projects to do, and somehow, I need to keep this all straight.
So I made another list.
Some of these dates are firm; some are not. All of it is ambitious. But if I actually stick with everything that’s on this list and don’t add to it, I have no doubt I’ll accomplish everything on it. The problem will be not adding to it. Right now, as I’m writing this post, my fingers are itching to add one more project (a contemporary romance I’ve written about ten chapters on) to the list. And it doesn’t include the two projects I’m considering self-publishing next year or any of the work I’ll need to do to get them ready to publish.
That’s another list entirely.
The next question was where the hell to put this thing. I didn’t want it up in my cubicle at work. I can’t read at my day job, but those sticky notes were blaring reminders of what to do with my off hours. I didn’t want those same sort of reminders about my own books. Not where I couldn’t actively be working on them.
I don’t own a desk. The white monstrosity came apart far too easily and was carted to the dumpster when we moved. I couldn’t post the list in our home office, because I only went in there to bug the BF or find a book to read. Really, that place is his domain.
I forwarded a picture of it to Liv Rancourt, and I fully expect her to keep me on task. Seriously, I envy her focus when it comes to completing projects. It’s a rare project that consumes me to the point where I’m unwilling to stop working on it in favor of something else. I wish I could channel that to my other not quite as engrossing but still awesome stories.
Anyway. I ended up posting it above my writing spot.
You can’t see it, but it’s not on the wall; I was afraid the tape would peel the paint away, and I spent a damn long time painting the living room. It’s taped to the window frame, which is plastic, for some reason. It’s high enough that Demeter can’t gnaw on the edge of the paper. The biggest problem is it’s hidden most of the time.
I know it’s there. It’ll have to do.