In the lead up to Christmas I seem to have no time for any creative writing; I spend my time creating lists instead! So I thought I’d share with you a short article I wrote about lists, that was published in The Australian some time ago but is certainly applicable during the festive season – see below. Happy Christmas and may all your wishes come true in 2012!
I’m an author, so I spend a lot of time with imaginary friends in imaginary places, having lots of imaginary but really interesting adventures – all far more interesting than what I usually do at home. (How can hanging out the laundry or shopping for dinner compete with interacting with a ghost, combating an assassin or solving a crime back in medieval time, for example?)
In my real life I have a husband, an extended family and a network of friends relying on my presence in the here and now. And I’ve discovered that the only way I can keep track of my different lives is to maintain a central calendar with lots of room for writing down social & work engagements – I’m cactus without that – plus I keep numerous lists.
There’s one down in my study (for writing tasks.) I have a list beside my bed for midnight thoughts. Next to it is a pen with a light on it so I can scribble in the semi-dark without really waking up. There’s another list in the loo (lots of good thinking time there!) The master list is upstairs in the lounge room, on which I cross-reference all my other lists with the dates on my calendar.
Sometimes, when the lists get too long, I compile an emergency list of things to do TODAY. For example, picking up grandchildren after school takes precedence over preparing a talk or getting on with my new novel, while everything takes precedence over housework – a task I usually resort to only when suffering major writer’s block.
The system works! I remember dates, tasks, functions and birthdays. I get through lots of stuff, and I also have the satisfaction of crossing out each item once it’s done. Keeping lists helps me to prioritise what’s important, but also reminds me of what I need to do that can wait a while. Confession: I’ve been known to write and rewrite the same thing for months as I update my lists until, finally, I either can’t put it off any longer or I get so sick of seeing it listed that I get on and do whatever it is (and polish my halo afterwards!)
Lists help to keep my life (lives) in order, although I stress out sometimes when they get too long. But then I think: when all the tasks are finally done and the page is empty – what then? Will my life be over?
These lists let me know that I’m a functioning part of my family, of the writing fraternity and of society. They tell me that I am needed, and that my contribution is valuable. I LOVE my lists!


  1. Hello Felicity…. I have only just come across your fantastic website by chance… typed into Google ‘history of Fort Victoria Junior School’ and up came your name Pulman.. looked at your website, saw you had a daughter Thurl, and I thought ‘wow’ that can only be Felicity Holmes! Congratulations… I’m sure you are quite famous in Aus. We truly are a people spread far and wide. I have 4 granddaughter – the eldest only 9 – (We are in the UK) and for sure I’ll be looking to buy your books, but first I’ll read them myself! In a nutshell – sister Sue & Dermott live in the UK. Barbara lived in White River, SA and very sadly and unexpectedly died last year. Marco & Judy are back in Zim and Nige & Renee in SA. I would love to know if you have written any bundu stories?! I must now go back to reading more on your website…. Cheers, Marion Whewell (Richards)x

  2. Oops- I left out Pelly (Melanie) & Keith who are in NZ! Cheers, Marion (from the Mait and Kay Richards clan)

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