I love making lists. Of course I do: I’m a skilled procrastinator. I spend more time making lists than I do actually ticking things off. I’m one of those people who has to make pretty lists, with perfect handwriting and washi tape and stickers. No wonder I don’t have time to actually get anything productive done.
I have too many notebooks, but all of them are completely necessary to me. I have an Alice in Wonderland Moleskine organiser, with the dates on one page and a blank page on the opposite side so that I can add daily tasks. I also have a bullet journal – a berry-coloured Leuchtturm 1917 with squared pages – but this is for more long-term lists and also for keeping track of things that I don’t really want other people seeing. The bullet journal stays at home, the organiser accompanies me everywhere. I also have a notebook for writing down ideas for blog posts (a Peter Pan-themed Moleskine) and a smaller Paperblanks notebook purely for writing my thoughts down in waiting rooms so that I don’t have to carry around the blog notebook and risk losing it. I also have a notebook for study (a large plum purple Moleskine Professional) and a book journal (also Moleskine) to keep track of what I’m reading. That one is pretty empty at the moment, what with me not having time to read because of all the lists I have to make.
I make lists when I should be posting on here. I make lists about posting on here. I make lists on here:
- It’s quite possible that I’ve made literally thousands of ‘to do’ lists over the years, yet the only one I recall completing was one I wrote on an A4 sheet of paper (front and back) in October 2006. The fact that I remember this particular list should give you some idea about the sense of accomplishment I felt once I crossed everything off.
- Speaking of a sense of accomplishment, I always add things to my to do lists that I have just completed so that I feel as though I’ve done something other than waste all my time writing a stupid fucking list and sticking patterned paper tape to it.
- I can’t remember when my obsession with lists began, although I remember a notebook full of lists that I began in 1998. This was not a book of lists of things to do, but more High Fidelity-style ‘Top Five All-Time Favouritest’ kinds of lists. Bearing in mind that I was 14 in 1998, and also bearing in mind that I was a massive fucking loser in a tracksuit when I was 14, I feel rather ambivalent towards this book. On the one hand, it’s full of deeply shameful stuff (e.g. Top Five All-Time Favouritest 911 songs; Top FIve All-Time Favouritest Bacardi Breezer flavours) but on the other hand, now that I’ve made peace with my embarrassing former self, I kind of wish I still had it. It was one of many things I had to leave behind when I escaped from Norfolk so there’s a chance it’ll come back to haunt me one day.
- Meta-lists. I have lists of lists; lists that organise my lists; to-do lists that tell me I need to do more to-do lists. I have a problem.
- Rules. Lists should only have either 5, 10 or 11 items. I occasionally break this rule, but only on special occasions.
One of my longest ongoing lists is for this blog. To keep it at 5 items, I add something new every time I cross something off. This isn’t so bad, because it’s an ongoing project – but the downside to it is that I constantly feel like I’m behind. I am, but I’m not. Not really. I keep getting stuck on how I think it ought to look and it’s hard sometimes to step back and try to see where I’m actually at. It just looks like a great big mess to me.
My to-do list for my blog currently reads as follows:
- Finish ‘about’ page
Create ‘updates’ page
- Create reading guide/sitemap
- Update plugins, etc.
- Design new theme
And there is also a note underneath telling me that I need to post every Monday and Friday. The items on the list aren’t in order, and I’m currently working on more than one task. If the site randomly crashes, it probably means that I’m fucking around with the layout and I’ve woefully overestimated how good I am at coding (I taught myself html/css/php in 2005 – apparently things have changed a little since then). I’ll try not to break it too much. (The ‘updates’ page can now be found here.)
My writing goes in phases. Sometimes I’m manic, sometimes it’s deep and meaningful, sometimes it’s traumatising, sometimes I’m just too fucking tired. I’m trying to push through the writer’s block. I always want everything to be perfect, but sometimes it just can’t be. Sometimes I need to just write and hope for the best.