how to make a comfort list


In Get Lucky, the main character makes a “comfort list” of things that are soothing.  Here it is:

“Things that are comforting:


Warm water on your skin.

Thick socks.




Having someone arrange your fruit in a smiley face.

Having someone refuse to examine your imaginary tumors.

Watching old movies with Mackie.”

And while I’ve never actually made a list like this, myself, I’ve been thinking lately that I maybe should.

Because having a book come out is exhilarating and thrilling and amazing.  And it has the dream-come-true quality that so many things do for me now that I make my living as a novelist.  But the truth is, having your dreams come true — though truly, indescribably awesome — can also, at times, be a little stressful.


So here is my own comfort list for this month.  (And for the record, even just making the list is comforting.)

  • Reading to my kids. (About to start Harry Potter 7!)
  • Watering the garden.
  • Watching at the garden–and all its butterflies, bugs, bees, lizards, and caterpillars.
  • Cooking dinner.
  • Listening to NPR.  (Oh, NPR! I love you!)
  • Writing the next novel.
  • Daydreaming about the next novel.
  • Researching the next novel.
  • Taking a shower.
  • Curling up next to my sweetie at the end of the day.
  • Watching my kids do dance contests.
  • Watching 30 Rock.  (So good!! MMMPH!)
  • Reading.  (Right now it’s Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project–along with a book about whales.)
  • Napping.
  • Snuggling.
  • The sound of the dishwasher.
  • Gabbing on the phone.
  • Cracking jokes in the kitchen with my husband while he makes tea.
  • Making coffee.  (Even if I never get a chance to drink it.)
  • Boogieing to 70s stations on our WiFi radio.
  • Imagining how I’d like to redecorate the house.
  • Date night.  (Eating Ethiopian food until we’re so full we can barely walk and then going to the movies.)

So: There’s a start.  Actually, the more comforts I think of, the more I think of.  Which is, of course, comforting in itself.


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  • jen lemen May 17, 2010  

    i can so relate to the stressful part of dreams-come-true. maybe you can work that into your next novel! off to make my comfort list… xo

    • angie mizzell May 25, 2010  

      Jen, I came here to say the same thing! In fact, I think that’s why I stand on the edge, sometimes, and subconsciously hold myself back. Katherine, you remind me how beautiful it is to live the dream, as well.

  • stampylisa May 17, 2010  

    awesome post. thanks for making me think.:)

  • Kirsten Michelle May 17, 2010  

    I’m currently living in a country that isn’t my own.
    In a home that has been rented for me.
    Driving a rental car that many people before me have driven.
    I’m thinking a comfort list might be just what I need…
    in fact, even the thought of it is bringing me comfort 😉
    Thank you, beautiful.xo

  • Merry ME May 17, 2010  

    A comfort list! Just what I need to make.

    I have just discovered your blog, via another blogger, and have ordered one of your books. Can’t wait to curl up and start reading!

  • meredith winn May 17, 2010  

    and here i was thinking i was the only one who secretly loved the sound of the dishwasher in a dark kitchen at night.

  • traceyclark May 17, 2010  

    the dishwasher in on the top of my favorite sounds too. there is something to that, isn’t there?so excited about the comfort list. I have thought about this since i read the book. love it!!

  • Suzanne May 18, 2010  

    I’m off to make my own right now. The first one that comes to mind: my daughter’s hand in mine.

  • LLH Designs May 24, 2010  

    You know what I love? How you’re not just writing and talking about doing these great little things…you’re actually doing them! Inspiring!

    Hugs to you,

  • Jessica May 24, 2010  

    Maypops are comforting to me, my Mother made them into ballerinas for me.

  • Woolie May 28, 2010  

    Good books are always a comfort for me. I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed your last book “Everyone is Beautiful” and I’m looking forward to the next one. Now I just have to remember the name of it long enough to find it in the store:)

  • Jean at The Delightful Repast May 28, 2010  

    Cooking is at the top of my comfort list. My perfect comfort scene: rainy day, in my robe, pot of soup simmering away, tea and scones, a good book and a cat.

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  • Erika Cleveland July 7, 2010  

    Lani at Puppetmaker directed me to you and I am glad she did. I am sure you also know about Jennifer Louden’s Comfort Cafe website. I get so much out of it.

    Wow. I am also writing a novel, not published yet, not even near but it is such a fulfilling process. Though unbelievably challenging too.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    And I love the idea of a comfort list. Maybe it is time for me to write another one.


    ps We are still finishing Harry Potter, the sixth, and have also been listening to it in the car on CD for long car rides.

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