At the beginning of 2011, I made a To Do List for the year.
It’s a list that in retrospect, was a means to an end–a framework, so to speak, that in no way was confined to itself. And to that end, the framework made for an amazing year.
And it was a list that enlightened me about novel-writing.
There is this thing about lists, framework, or scaffolding; the interstitial spaces between the items–the journey, the process and the detours between milestones are the things that make the list come alive, just as surprises and detours make a novel.
You can outline and plan a novel–but it’s those moments as a writer when you are delighted and surprised by a sudden discovery or event or detour that will in turn surprise and delight your reader, that makes your novel sing. Those are the moments I live for, and the moments for which I write.
My to-do list was flawed and those flaws enlightened me, too. There were items on the list I told myself to do “everyday”; I couldn’t check these items off until all 365 days had passed, and then of course, it was unlikely I would do any certain thing “everyday.” So I left them unchecked. This helped me learn the ways in which I set unrealistic expectations of myself.
There were items I didn’t achieve, but so many amazing things unplanned and offlist. I’m thankful for all the wonderful and unexpected things that happened. They make a life.
Click on through to the jump for my 2011 in review…(it’s long. I figure some people write their Annual Reviews in their holiday cards…I write them on my blog).