On Writing: Why lists are good and bad
I am one of those writers who has lived my life without an outline, or a list when writing. I always found that having a list made my work feel predestined to fail. It’s like saying “ Here is what you need to do, but you won’t do it.” It's hard for me to write pre-given topics on anything because I like to give my brain the freedom to exercise. This freedom comes with a cost in writing. I can forget what my story is about and have to go back to read it like I am reading the story for the first time ever. Due to my inevitable dislike of lists, or order I tended to resist making outlines for essays, and just let my fingers do the work.
Today, I am going to shake my fear of lists with explaining how they are useful but can be chains all at the same time. My first reason lists are great is because writing lists helps your memory stay on track. On that note, I have a horrible memory with simple things like remembering my wallet, or phone. But I can remember quotes from Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings, Dead Poets Society, and Freedom Writers. I just have a hard time remembering important things. When it comes to writing my memory is on point all the time.
Anyways, just the act of writing a list can jog your memory. I may find a list useless when it comes to writing, but if I developed a list for my everyday activities I bet my memory would get better. I wouldn’t lose my wallet in an endless sea of darkness. Its funny but when I make a to do list at work I tend to get the work done on time. Funny that my job is easier for me to remember than my wallet.
When I create an outline I feel like there is an injustice to my story being done. I’m the type of writer who needs to be surprised by my own writing creation. If I am not surprised by the actions of my characters then how in the world will my readers be surprised either? My friend lists are meant to guide us right? But every story list I have ever created has only made my work less lively. I think lists are better left to actual stuff we have to do like remembering important appointments or dates that we need to attend.
Alright, I am going to proceed with some inspirational quotes because talking about a list all day is getting exhausting.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
– Gandalf, from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
“Some people can’t believe in themselves until someone else believes in them first.”
– Sean Maguire, from Good Will Hunting
“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”
– Dory, from Finding Nemo
“Someone I once knew wrote that we walk away from our dreams afraid that we may fail or worse yet, afraid we may succeed.”
– Forrester, from Finding Forrester
“I don’t want excuses. I know what you’re up against. We’re all of us up against something. So you better make up your mind, because until you have the balls to look me straight in the eye and tell me this is all you deserve, I am not letting you fail. Even if that means coming to your house every night until you finish the work. I see who you are. Do you understand me? I can see you. And you are not failing.”
– Erin Gruwell, from Freedom Writer
“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.”
– Dumbledore, from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Do, or do not. There is no “try”.
– Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
If none of these quotes has inspired you to get up and write I will be highly saddened. You can start with a list or even start with some idea discovery. Anyways, Lists will never be my favorite. What do you guys think? Like, comment, and shares are always welcome. Thank you.