Lists for Writers by Steph Beth Nickel

Many of us would be lost without our To-Do list. And what about our grocery list? If you’re anything like me, a trip to the grocery store without a list usually means picking up several sale items I know we’ll use someday as well as several snacks that catch my eye. I definitely don’t trust my memory to remember birthdays and anniversaries—and not everyone is on social media. (What would I do without those handy dandy birthday reminders?)

To-Do lists, grocery lists, and lists of special events are helpful for pretty much everyone, but what types of lists are especially helpful to us as writers?

Books to Read

It’s a good idea to keep a list of books we want to read. After all, suggestions are coming at us from everywhere: friends, podcast hosts, “influencers.”

What’s on your Must Read list?

This year, I want to read the following skills development books: Intuitive Editing by Tiffany Yates Martin, Editing Secrets of Best-Selling Authors by Kathy Ide, Fierce on the Page by Sage Cohen, and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (I may be among the last to read this modern classic).

And, of course, I plan to read least 24 novels.

Podcasts to Listen To

I’ve become a huge fan of podcasts.

Among the podcasts I listen to almost every week are Writing at the Red House with Kathi Lipp, The Christian Woman Leadership Podcast with Esther Littlefield, Write from the Deep with Karen Ball, Write Now with Sarah Rhea Werner, The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn, and The Next Right Thing with Emily P. Freeman.

Are you a podcast listener? What are your favourites?

Books, Articles, and Blog Posts … Oh, My!

If we’ve created a list of ideas 1) we won’t forget “that brilliant idea” that came to us in the middle of the night and 2) we’ll have inspiration at our fingertips if the dreaded writer’s block rears its ugly head.

I’m currently working on a memoir with my coauthor, Paralympian Deb Willows, and a YA fantasy novel. I also have a Christian women’s fiction manuscript I want to get back to as well as a book of devotionals on the Gospel of John.

This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, but it will keep me going for quite awhile.

How do you keep track of the projects you’re working on and those you’d like to pursue someday?

An Editorial Calendar

Many writers post regularly on social media, and then there are those of us who take the Hit and Miss Approach.

Developing an editorial calendar and scheduling posts for the following week (or the following month) can keep us on track.

Consistency is important for many reasons, among them, 1) it lets our readers know they can count on us to deliver what we’ve promised, and 2) it doesn’t give them an opportunity to forget us, something that’s easy to do with so much written content coming at them.

Random Thoughts

Inspiration can come along at any time. These seemingly random thoughts and ideas may very well be the springboard for a new writing project or may find their way into something we’re already working on.

Do you make note of thought-provoking quotes? Snippets of conversation? Character names that spring to mind? How about funny things your kids do or say? Things that cause a sensory overload? Character sketches based on people you pass on the street? Those wild dreams you’d love to pursue?

Your list of random thoughts may grow into several lists and may inspire blog posts, articles, even books.

What are your favourite types of lists and how do you keep track of ideas you don’t want to forget?

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