5 Reasons Why We Make Lists (From a Writer’s Standpoint)


Growing up, the only purpose of making a list was to jot down what you needed to buy at the grocery store – or of course if you somehow needed to weigh the pros and cons of a challenging situation. Now, in our modern world of technology and so-called ease, everything can be simplified into a list form. Why go through the trouble of reading an entire article when you can check out a list instead? Either everyone is super organized now or just really lazy. Let’s go with the latter.

However, lists do have their positive points, especially if you’re a writer and are in an environment where you need to produce content swiftly in order to keep up with digital demand. So naturally, I’ve put together a list of five reasons why we make lists from a writer’s perspective. Sue me.

1. Lists are a simpler way to organize ideas.

– Sometimes our brains are overworked. We have so many deadlines and e-mails to answer – not to mention the lingering ideas that need to be constructed into a well-written form of work. Lists are like the new outline that we actually get to publish rather than scrap once all of our main points have been established. It may sound disorderly or unprofessional to some, but the times are saying otherwise. Which brings me to my next point.

2. List posts are kind of like rebelling against tradition.

– I did enough rebelling in my teenage years to know when something pisses off authority. That rush of doing something you believe in, despite others opinions never goes away, and by making these lists, however you decide to utilize the opportunity, gives us a way to sort of say, “screw you” to conventionalism. Don’t get me wrong, there are a LOT of ridiculous lists going around out there, but there are some gems too if you know where to look.

3. Simply put, making lists are just fun!

– Not gonna lie, making lists are a blast! If you’re a music nerd, like me, you’ve probably been making lists since you knew how to hold a pen. I remember making lists of my favorite cassette tapes as a kid, and I’m reminded of those times whenever I make up my end of year album lists and it gives me so much joy knowing that I have a platform to share these things. It never stops being fun, and if there’s one thing in life that we all need, it’s pure, good clean fun!

4. Buzzfeed made us do it.

– Okay so I’m not sure if Buzzfeed is the culprit in all of this list madness, but if so, you go Buzzfeed! I only wish that something I write would take off as a pop culture phenomenon, but like most dreamers in this world, I am left with the sound of crickets and high hopes. Buzzfeed is just mindless, feel-good fun. I’d love to work at Buzzfeed! Imagine searching for animated gifs, while adding your sassy attitude into the mix about the perils of your sad love life or how it feels to have your period on a rainy day…all in a day’s work? I’m convinced Buzzfeed’s staff are the luckiest frigging people in the world!

And finally,


5. Low attention spans.

– Ahh the crisis of the millennial generation. Everyone wants instant gratification. People apparently don’t have time to read a full article. As a writer, this is frustrating, especially when you’ve poured hours into something and people disregarded it. There was a time when I despised lists (mainly because the only ones I had come across were written by hipsters whose main concerns were finding random people to sleep with at parties and why being a twentysomething sucks trust-fund ass) but now that I’ve experienced the pain of insignificant page views, lists have garnered a whole new meaning for me. There’s nothing like an attention-grabbing headline that makes you want to click and absorb every piece of information given to you. Wait, that’s just me? Okay, cool. Either way, writers want to reach people. We have a lot to say and the lack of feedback is a major downer.

I realize that even with a simpler format of processing information, people still find ways to be lazy. I’m sure most of you only read the bullet points and decided that was enough, but if not, I command you. Writers write with their audience in mind, and I am happy to call you a member of mine.

All lists aren’t total rubbish. Hopefully one day you’ll find one out there that captures your attention and changes your perspective. Maybe today is your lucky day! 😉

And now, in true cheeseball fashion, here is a song that incorporates lists, the art of counting, and our childhood all in one as Brian McKnight counts down all the reasons why a certain woman should be with him. Hmm..maybe Buzzfeed is riding off this song’s fame. 😛


One thought on “5 Reasons Why We Make Lists (From a Writer’s Standpoint)

  1. I love lists. Reading them or making them! And they definitely do work with the short attentions spans we all seem to suffer through. I’ll admit that I’d rather read an article broken up into bullet points than one long essay. When I’m making a post on my blog, if I can, I prefer to break up the post. I just feel like I’ll be able to get people to read it through if I do that.


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