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Friday, December 14, 2007

Strikethrough Momentum

Sometimes the smallest things provide the greatest mental relief.

One of my sanity saving strategies involves using strikethroughs for each new To Do List I organize. This strategy enables a stressed person to start a day's tasks knowing some of them have already been accomplished.

Not so long ago, I used long hand for my various lists, from home remodeling projects to career-related duties to writing projects and assignments. As I completed each one, I crossed them off, either by check marks, cross-out lines, or bold scribbles when I needed extra satisfaction on something particularly frustrating.

Today, I type my lists in Word, since the strikethrough option appears on the toolbar atop the screen and saves time. Any extra momentum helps. Typing up and striking through tasks already completed creates a mental advantage. The lines provide a simple but influential momentum for a person to continue working down long lists, even if they’re two pages, single-spaced.

Recently, I applied this technique to a few of my writing projects on which I couldn't maintain the right focus. Lately, I chug through small pieces like blog posts. Usually, I handwrite a blog post when an idea strikes, and I do mean I handwrite, depending upon where an idea hits at the time. I still enjoy the sound, smell, and feel of ink on paper as I create, on occasion. Later, I type these in Word and paste my blog into the Blogger window on my scheduled day.

But for one of my recent blogs, I chose to free write the whole post from first word to last. Rather than deleting or editing it in the midst of writing it, thereby suspending my thought streams, I used the strikethroughs afterward to cross out passive words, extra fluff, and fillers that didn't relate.

Of course, this isn't any different from copy-editing someone’s articles, and leaving the changes in to verify them later. It's simply a new method to apply to my own smaller pieces of writing when I’m preoccupied. Luckily, I don’t do this with every piece of writing I create. That, in itself, would have the opposite effect. But when needed, I can look back at the strikethroughs later to make sure they were placed well. The process blinds my internal editor until she’s needed.

I’m sure this idea sparked from all the writers I know who challenged themselves through NaNo. Whatever the reason, it’s a great way to get rolling on a writing project, especially one that seems troublesome or tedious. As I sat down to write today, I didn't know where to begin. The holidays provide major distractions, among other events in life.

Right now as I type this blog post, I can’t see the Sandia Mountains. They’re wrapped in a blanket of clouds, and it’s snowing outside. With each drifting snowflake, my thoughts wants to float along.

My kids left for school hoping for the same snow days they had last year. At the end of next week, they get eleven days off from school, plus the three weekends and a Monday in that winter vacation. Pretty nice for them! Last year, they'd received three extra days on top of that due to excessive snow fall. Since we live in the high desert region of New Mexico, the amount of snowfall we have been receiving isn't our norm.

Forget the strikethroughs, where’s the cocoa?

~Sue Donckels, Strikethrough Diva.


  1. Anonymous12:54 PM

    As a big list-maker myself, I can definitely relate, lol. It's something about crossing through things that gives me a great sense of accomplishment, no matter how small the task.

  2. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Wow! Great article and suggestion. I never thought about using the computer to keep all these lists that I have on. LOL! Time to save paper, I will jump on that band wagon.

    I will admit, I am also a To-Do List Gal. I make a general list, then make additional lists for different projects. When the mind gets to working, I run with it. Gee, I think I might be the energizer bunny.


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