List Writing for Pleasure – Is it Possible? #SelfHelp

Notebook 2 (2)My children told me what they would like for Christmas this year by sticking lists to the fridge. It appears my obsessive list writing disorder has rubbed off on them!
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without an array of lists. There’s one for the food shopping, one for gift buying, and another list of names and addresses for sending out your Christmas cards. A list is a helpful tool to keep you on track with jobs, tasks, and anything else that fills your brain on a day to day basis.
As a single mum, list writing is the one personal development tool that keeps me organised and calm. If it’s not on the list then it doesn’t get done! I know many of my friend and readers who hate writing lists and roll their eyes to the heavens when I start chattering on about it. Whether you love or loathe list writing, I hope the following ideas spark a little bit of creativity, a fond memory, or even a goal for the New Year.
First of all I want you to put aside your Christmas shopping list. Forget about frozen turkeys, parsnips, and picking up the cranberry sauce.
Now grab a pad and pen and give yourself the gift of five minutes to jot down a few things for each of the lists I’ve added below:

  1. List all the jobs you would love to try (yes, even astronaut).
  2. List all the cities you’ve visited and underline your favourite.
  3. List your five favourite books (ooh, that’s a tough one!).
  4. List the first three things you’d do/buy if you won a million pounds.
  5. List five things you’d save if you house was on fire (don’t count family as that’s too easy).
  6. List four people you would love to meet (dead or alive).
  7. List three wishes you would like to come true.
  8. List five nice things you’ve done for other people.
  9. List your favourite things about your family.
  10. List five things you would like to change in your life.

When I got my kids to do this exercise I was amused to find a two day school week, and five day weekend on my daughter’s list. My son added more takeaways to his. Their favourite cities were Barcelona and London, and I was very pleased to see my book, Oath Breaker, on their favourite book list – not at all biased!
Read back over your lists. Could you choose one of your favourite cities to visit next summer? If you would only save five things from the fire then do you need the ‘stuff’ in your house? Is it time for a de-clutter? What action steps can you take in 2018 to make your wishes come true? Remember all the favourite things you wrote about your family when you are all together this Christmas. Can you turn list number 10 into a New Year Resolution? Changes in your life only happen when you want them to. If they were important enough to write on a list, why aren’t they important enough to do in real life? Make it happen.
Writing a list is a hugely important part of my day, but why can’t we have a bit of fun along the way. It is the silly season after all!
How did you get on with your list writing? Pick one from each of your lists and write them in the comments.
Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages and


  1. I’m a list lover!! I think it’s a bit of a Virgoan trait! I’ll be doing these one by one, but for now…
    List five things you’d save if you house was on fire (don’t count family as that’s too easy).
    1. Pets (Sorry if you count that as family!)
    2 My phone to call anyone to help (plus it has so many memories on it!)
    3. My handbag ( may need money, and I have all sorts in my Mary Poppins-esque bag!
    4. Photo albums (as many as I can carry!)
    5. My Surface (It has my WIP on it! But worry not, it is saved in other places too!)

  2. Ooh I love list porn me. I’m going to do this! And I think maybe get my daughter to do it too. It’d be fun and she’d have her own opinions! But here’s what what I’d write for what I like about my family:
    1. They’re all idiots
    2. They’re funny
    3. They’re warm, open & friendly people
    4. They’re idiots
    5. They’re down to earth
    6. They’re supportive
    7. They’re fiercely loyal
    8. They know what I need
    9. They know what I don’t need
    10. They know what makes me cry
    11. They know what makes me laugh
    12. But mainly, they’re idiots.
    Cheers Shelley!

  3. I took a break from editing a certain book to do this! It seems I only want to meet three people! I did all of the questions, but had to put question 2 on the backburner as I have visited hundreds of cities all over the world, mainly for work. I have often compiled lists of the countries I’ve visited, but never the cities,, so this is one for me to sit down with a glass of wine with and a few maps! I will send you a spreadsheet with the definitive list – not kidding!!! Loved this exercise, by the way. Now back to editing!

  4. What a great list of lists! I DO love a list. I have at least 3 To Do Lists going at once. Years ago, a friend was getting divorced and her husband cited her constant list making as one of the causes. My type of gal 🙂

  5. Lists are nice…..always very helpful and resourceful….
    Top resolutions for 2018 for me :
    1] to develop and grow my blogging further more
    2] to always maintain a cool calm composed stature, no matter what
    3] to practice compassion, kindness, love and friendly stature to all
    4] to visit at least one my dream destinations in Asia.
    5] at least try to visit Amsterdam once….:):)

  6. This is a great list. Here are the things that I would change about my life:
    1: I would have a bigger house so that I could have my very own sewing room/study.
    2: I wish that I could become as addicted to exercise as I am to blogging!
    3. I want to obtain my degree and become a wonderful nurse and role model for my daughter.
    4. Stop worrying about what others think and trust my own instincts.
    5. Buy a newer car!

  7. I so agree with this. Lists focus the mind and keep you sane – sometimes. Four people I would like to meet, dead or alive: Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, JK Rowling and Julian of Norwich.

  8. I love lists too, but I do tend to use them for practical purposes rather than for fun. This is such a nice idea. <3

  9. Great post, just like you I asked my three years old to draw all the things he wants for his birthday. Looks like he is a better party planner and wish list maker than I am????

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