Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dariel's Short List of Lists: Every Writer Should Have These

Lists can be very helpful in goal-setting, and we know goal-setting helps focus mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical energy. According to my mother, I've been making lists since I learned to write. Lists for what I wanted, what I owned, what I thought, even what I wore. I know - OCD in the making. 
Fortunately, I brought that useful habit into adulthood with upgrades - longer, more intricate lists about much more important things. A challenge, for a time, was where to keep those lists and how to organize them so I could find them later. Along came Excel, then Android, and voila!
So let's talk about some lists that might be helpful for you to make of your own. I'll list them and say a bit about each to get you on your way:
1. Story ideas - you might even want to keep a digital recorder with you so you're ready whenever your muse pops in. We musician/composers do this all the time, too. It can be hard to recapture those great ideas if you don't catch them right way.
2. Publishing opportunities - large houses, small publishers, online, self, the possibilities are numerous these days.
3. Low cost and free advertising opportunities - include host blogs, forums, yahoo sites, even reviewers, as these are all great ways to get more exposure.
4. Social media ideas - publicity, collaboration, blog topics, etc. To help expand your career and reach, make sure you're at least strengthening your presence on the big three (facebook, twitter, & youtube). Google will pick up blog activity, so add that g+1 button to your site. Also, linked in and pinterest have quite a few followers and they're growing by leaps and bounds.
5. Writers and other possible "team" members - people with whom you have things in common and respect. Build those relationships. Fave writers and their success stories. Contrary to popular opinion, writing should not be done in a bubble for long. Not only will you suffocate, but you'll also get left behind. Look into Triberr and Hootsuite. They both help with your social media presence as well as online relationship building.
6. Informative sites - websites, blogs, online news spots. In other words, writing resources. One great example is  World Literary Care. It's a connection place for readers and writers, and the admins are great resources.
7. How to and info books - more writing resources, and they can be great springboard material for blog posts, tweets, even writing forums and sites.
8. Great reads, TBR, etc. -  Goodreads and Shelfari are great places to do this. forums, online groups & forums.
9. Online groups & forums with topics related to your writing - for instance, one of my new places is Lycan forum. I'm writing a series about mutant wolf shifters. Just makes sense to keep your stories fresh and interesting.
10. What you learned and what you'll try next - keep up with your progress, make notes of what does and doesn't work. Develop systems for success. You can save someone else a lot of time and trouble and become an experienced expert on the subject.
11. Places to promote on and off line - again, make the most of press releases, interviews, media (radio, Tv morning shows), signings, libraries, conventions, exhibits. One Tv station in my hometown just recently started interviewing locals every evening about some aspect of our lives. Cool! You'd be surprised the opportunities you find when you're actively searching. Oh, and make sure you keep business cards on hand with your book covers, genre, and website.
12. Day-to-day to do lists for your lists so you don't get overwhelmed. - you might want to choose a few specific things from your lists to do each day and make a schedule. This way, you get more done and you see progress. You also learn quickly what does and doesn't work for you so you can make adjustments without losing momentum.
Twelve is a biblical number of completion, so I'll stop here, but you can always think of more lists and add as you grow. In all of your getting, make sure you give more. Share with other writers and offer your supporters, including readers, writers, and others who help you along the way, freebies and special deals when you can. Well, what are you waiting for? You've got lists to make and goals to reach :-) So tell me about some of your lists...


  1. Hi Dariel!!
    Spreadsheets, Oh how I love thee. :)

    I've got them for everything. Characters all in the same series, promo, reviewers, yahoo groups, secondary site log-ins, blogger links and log-in info.
    Can't imagine not having them.

    I talked to another well known author the other day, who shall remain nameless :), and she's been published for 15 years or so, and STILL hasn't touched a spreadsheet.
    About gave me a panic attack.
    Can't imagine how she keeps everything straight.

    Great blog!!

    1. ROFL! Yeah, I have been know to go back and reread my own book to figure out how tall someone was or what color their eyes were or even if I forgot a last name.

      I'm starting to use some spreadsheets for the business aspect of writing, but not the creative side. LOL...Not, yet, anyway.

  2. I have no lists...but lots of folders. I do use a voice recorder for story ideas though. Love it. I'm starting to make some lists. Blogs and such, but I'm a rebel. I like a little chaos and I'm not disciplined enough to ever be toooo organized. LOL.

  3. LOL! Yes, let me count the ways! I understand the rebel aspect, Krystal, but like Jennifer, just the thought of being without my lists gives me nightmares...really. One of the selling points of Scrivener was the "everything-in-one-place" feature. I'm an annoying combo of OCD and ADD, so distractions can keep me from getting anything done :-)


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