Skip to content

My Crack Hamster & To Do List Epiphany

My recent epiphany about to-do lists! (photo & graphic by Tui Snider)
My recent epiphany about to-do lists! (photo & graphic by Tui Snider)

ROW80 & IWSG Check-ins

Like windshield wipers that suddenly sync up, today is both a ROW80 and an IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) check-in date. Whee!

I’ll start with IWSG:

IWSG – Much To Do Lists About Nothing

I love to do lists. They help me relax. Dumping all my ideas onto a piece of paper gets me out of my head. It helps me let go mentally, and focus in the moment.

When I don’t write to do lists, I feel like a hamster on crack, unable to hop off its exercise wheel long enough to eat a tiny burrito.

Not good!

The problem with to do lists

That said, since publishing Unexpected Texas, my to do list grew… and grew… and grew… In fact, it didn’t just grow, it became insanely bloated. And much to my chagrin, that angsty rodent feeling reared up again.

I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong!

Appeasing my crack hamster

I finally came across Marie Forleo’s interview with Arianna Huffington in which Huffington spoke about her new book Thrive. The book details how overworking caused her to pass out at her desk. Ironically, passing out was the wake up call Huffington needed to create a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.

For Huffington, an important step was giving herself permission to delete things from her to do list, specifically things that no longer served her life’s goals. Doing so, she claims, freed up a lot of mental energy.

For example, Huffington had always wanted to become a gourmet cook and speak German fluently. Letting go of those goals took a lot of pressure off and let her use that energy for other things.

Why the best To Do list is really a To Be list

As I mulled over Arianna Huffington’s ideas, it reminded me of all the landscaping tasks I had on my to do list, but never get around to actually doing. While I miss growing my own vegetables, I suddenly realized that at this point in my life it’s more important to focus on being a writer and all the tasks related to that, than on being a gardener.

Hence, my to do list epiphany: the best to do list, is also a to be list! If the tasks on your to do list don’t support who you want to be, then you’re bound to feel overwhelmed and conflicted.

With that in mind, I revamped my to do list and let go of all sorts of things (even certain writing projects) that don’t serve the goals for who I want to be right now.

Has it worked? Let’s just say that my inner hamster spends much of her time on a wee little hammock these days, sipping pina coladas, and munching tiny burritos.


ROW80 Check-in

Gah! I hate to admit it, but aside from my grand to do list breakthrough, I have not gotten as focused and clear on my goals for this round. Here’s the nitty gritty.

Create an ongoing marketing plan for Unexpected Texas:
Yes! I made a marketing plan, and even better, I scheduled time to implement it. I find that this stuff is best left for late in the day. I like to save my freshest synapses for creative writing.

Create a detailed timeline for getting the manuscript of Paranormal Texas written, including planning research trips, interviews, and other bits and bobs:
I have the to do list part of this pretty well figured out, but the timeline needs tweaking.

Plan the launch for Paranormal Texas:
Mmm… not really!

Follow up with everyone I met at the DFW Writer’s Conference. and the Granbury Paranormal Expo:
Sadly, no. I need to get on this!

Plan my editorial calendar for May, June, and July’s blog posts.
Oh, yeah! I need to get on this, too!

How’s your writing going?

That’s my ROW80 and IWSG check-ins for today. How are things going for you?

Check out other IWSG Posts by Clicking this Badge:


What is ROW80? Here’s how you can join in:

ROW80 is an online support group for writers. If you’re a writer, feel free to join in! For details, check out: the official ROW80 website.

ROW80 Linky:

That’s how my writing goals are going. How are yours coming along? Here are links to all the other Row80 writers. Check them out:

Tui Snider
Follow me:
Published inTravel Photo Essays


  1. Since my boyfriend and I returned from travel and I’ve started writing from home I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the concept of busy, work-life balance, and working for my goals instead of “working hard”. This piece is so in-line with that and a wonderful read to cement some of the ideas I’ve been tossing around. I love your take on a to-be list instead of a to-do list. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in goals and becoming better versions of ourselves I think we lose sight of who we want to be on the other side.

  2. The idea of a “to be” list is awesome. Perfect! I’m definitely going to keep that in mind.

  3. Hey Tui!
    Good to see ya around :) I miss our Thursday #azchats!
    I love the idea of the To Be list. It’s a much more positive way to think about the things we’re doing all the time. Keeps things big-picture which I certainly have trouble with sometimes. Glad to hear your crack hamster is sipping pina coladas. He deserves it!

  4. I like having to-do lists. Keeps me organized and I can focus on one task at a time better. Without a list, I tend to get overwhelmed and do nothing.

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Oh yeah, Patty! That whole “one thing at a time” business is so important. It’s impossible for me unless I have a to do list. :D

  5. Now I remember what my problem is. I used to write lists all the time and I haven’t been doing that…duh. I need to start writing lists and goals and maybe I can get something done. BTW…love pina coloda’s!

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi Cathrina, I think we need to meet in person somewhere and discuss this whole to do list stuff over pina coladas! Thank you for dropping by, and happy writing! :D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.