Sunday, August 25, 2013

Making A List, Checking It Twice

Anyone who knows me, even a little bit, will tell you I'm a compulsive list maker. Grocery lists, weekly work check lists, weekly writing check lists, new launch check lists--you name it, there's a list floating around on my desk for it.

Right now, the list that's truly giving me trouble is the checklist I've devised for each book I produce. I go scene by scene through the book, checking for overused words, my seven deadly sin words, four news ones to avoid as a result of my most recent workshop, and if the senses are in evidence--not all of them in each scene, but I want an adequate representation of them throughout the book. It's the most tedious and boring part of my process, and I just have to grit my teeth and get through it.

When I'm done, and can send off the polished up version of my manuscript, I can breathe a sigh of relief, but only for a minute. Once the contract is signed with a publisher, I pull out my self-promotion checklist and begin working on that. Once I have an ARC for review, my checklist of what I need to do to get the book ready for launch comes out and I begin to check those items off. This part of the process only gets more complicated if you are working with more than one publisher, or are self-publishing.

Am I compulsive? Maybe, a bit. But, in this past year as a published author, I've learned that there are so many different facets to this new face of publishing and in order to keep them all straight,  I need a checklist. My early tries at winging it had me duplicating myself, asking for guest blogs in places where I was already scheduled, going through the tedious process of having my book listed on Book Pulse or Author's Den, only to find I'd already done so. I'd go to bed at night with all these little to-do items screaming around in my head like cars on a NASCAR track, I couldn't sleep. Coming up with a checklist just made sense to me.

And allowed me to get my eight hours of snooze time. 


  1. We couldn't agree more. We use sceen table to plot our books so we can move them around yet keeps us straight as we write. Oh yes and don't forget the calendar & tasks list in the smart phone. If it is not on there we don't do it or follow up. LOL

    1. I use a Scrivener program, which must be similar to screen table. And I'm lost without at least two calendars, and my to-do list. I'm glad I'm not alone.

  2. An Excel spreadsheet to track scenes that include characters, threads, theme, motifs, & many more. A Time spreadsheet to keep track of daily time writing. Blog spreadsheet to check blogs. Marketing spreadsheet. All in one nice neat package connected to my OneNote Author notebook.

  3. Linda, You're a girl after my own heart. I don't even walk into the grocery store without a list! You've got some checklists I hadn't considered before. I may be expanding my repertoire...

  4. Ah, Scrivener. I am looking forward to SavvayAuthor's September workshop on the program!
    I make lists of things to buy and things to do. Like most people, life for me is an obstacle course of things I should do, things I plan to do, things other people plan for me to do, and what life springs on me. Lists help me cope so that I don't have that whinny, annoying voice in the back of my mind whispering that I must have forgotten something. Of course, if I forget to put something on my list. . .

  5. I want to see your lists re self promotion - a thing I hate more than whale blubber.

  6. I'm a list maker too. As I get older it's the only way I remember all the stuff we have to remember. Now if I could only remember to check the list, everything would be okay. LOL