Listing badly


I’m a fan of a list. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than to write down things I have to do or items I need to buy.

Or lives I need to get.

This time of year is, of course, the ideal time for list-making.

Resolutions to be made. And discarded within days.

Dream holiday itineraries to be committed to paper. And perhaps even booked.

Diets to be embarked upon with weight and vital statistics reluctantly noted (and grieved over).

Future career or employment options investigated and caution possibly thrown to the wind where a job is concerned.

Re-evaluation of a relationship and an infamous Ross/Rachel from Friends list of pros and cons of staying or going.

I’ve done them all*. Not specifically this year but certainly over the last decade and a half, there isn’t a festive season that passed without me committing my future to a bit of paper numbered 1-5.

Most of my lists achieve the square root of hee-haw, though there have actually been some life-changing bits in there, too. But just writing stuff down makes me feel as if I’ve accomplished something, made a start.

Just writing stuff down.

Writing stuff down.



Yeah, I don’t need pen and paper to commit to memory the lesson from that.

So no more lists, no more procrastination through pointless activity.

Just write stuff down. That’s 2016 sorted. It’s on my to-do list.

•I couldn’t resist adding another great sitcom moment that also involves a list and one of the most quoted comedy lines ever. Altogether now: “Don’t tell him, Pike!”

*Yes, I do realise half this blog is actually a list. And previous blogs have also been nothing more than lists. I told you: I like LISTS! And also writing stuff down. In lists. I do have a tiny smidgen of self-awareness. It’s No. 4 on my list of things I know about myself.

Concentrating the mind

There’s nothing like a public declaration of a deadline to concentrate the mind.

Having gone more than three months without committing a single word to paper – conveniently blaming work, life, weather, you name it  – for my inaction, I’ve been energised and enervated since posting that little teaser of Andrew’s story just over a fortnight ago.

I’ve been writing since I was in primary school. Okay, smart arses, so have all of us. What I mean is that I’ve always been driven to write since I was first able to put pen to paper. It’s what I do.

But I haven’t actually written for pleasure, for pure creativity since I was a teenager.

Barely a week went by when I didn’t pen a short story – I’m not even embarrassed to tell you that in primary school, I’d take my efforts in to show the teacher, having added my own reviews at the end, in the style of those potboiler paperbacks found knocking around our house: “A rare new talent. The New York Times.” “Effortless storytelling. The Wall Street Journal.”

I know – what a horribly precocious little toerag!

My creative writing stopped when I went to work as a reporter. Suddenly when you spend all day writing, it’s a bit of a busman’s holiday to go home and do more.

So I got out of the way of writing for sheer pleasure. And rediscovering that creative part of myself has been quite fantastic.

No matter what happens with this project, I think it’s fair to say I’ll be doing a lot more writing – and soon.

I’ll hold off on those self-penned reviews, though …

PS If anyone who’s already done it can point to a good self-publishing website, I’d be rather grateful. Cheers.