(One) Writer Bucket List

Bucket lists are ubiquitous in 2014; especially on social media and other online posts. I even got a writing exercise at a conference last year that asked me to make one for a character! I have to admit, in the world of well-meaning writing exercises, that one stumped me.

I came across this list [with a few adjustments of my own] in a back issue of The Writer magazine the other day and decided to share it because for me, and I suspect my writing friends will find the same, I was able to check some of the boxes as completed! That fits into my personal list-making strategy, which I know I’ve shared with friends before: if you’re writing a list (home chores, life goals, etc.) you’ll get a positive boost if you write something on the list that’s already been completed so you can check it off before you ever start the X number of other items ahead of you!

I’m eager to hear how you fare on this list, if you have additions to it, and if you’ve ever created your character’s bucket list?

Have you ever…

  • had your spouse [family] urge you to keep your day job?
  • wished a relative would hurry up and die so you could write his bizarre story?
  • screamed at your character?
  • celebrated a personal rejection letter?
  • admitted all your writer friends are weird? [with great affection of course; let’s face it, we’re our own strange breed] √
  • invented a nom de plume?
  • written a romantic story you didn’t want your mother to read?
  • written an obituary for someone you loved [including a character]?
  • bartered your writing for some service or thing? √
  • anxiously waited to see what your characters were going to do next? √
  • played strange music for inspiration? √
  • joined a critique group? √
  • visualized your name in credits on the big screen?
  • gone without sleep to write? √
  • gotten into a fight over your writing?
  • done something dangerous, so as to write about it?
  • cried over a rejection [writing, personal rejections go in another list]?
  • served on a jury and wrote a mystery in your mind while listening?
  • felt your agent understood you better than your spouse [family]?
  • reacted to a life crisis by rushing to write about it? √
  • decided you critique yourself hard enough that you don’t need group help?
  • taken comfort in the 12 rejections received by J.K. Rowling?
  • laughed out loud at your own work? √
  • entered a writing contest? √
  • done something you regret, but know it might make a good story? √
  • written a personal essay exposing a secret? √
  • been shocked at what your characters were doing?
  • analyzed a kiss so you could write about it?
  • written from a hospital bed?
  • scared yourself with something you wrote?
  • gotten a body piercing for a story [let’s add tattoos, shaved body parts, or grown or colored hair]?
  • created an alternative universe you’d rather live in? [who hasn’t?] √
  • wondered if you could count lattes and power bars as IRS expenses? √
  • read a book and said, “I [can] do better than that.” √
  • been jealous of a writer friend who published?
  • celebrated with a friend who published?
  • perused bookstore aisles fondling and smelling books? √
  • written something so beautiful it took your breath away?
  • had a family member say, “Now, don’t write about that.”
  • written something that made you cry? √
  • scribbled a brilliant thought while driving [or recorded it on your smart phone]? √
  • awakened to jot down a clever phrase? √
  • fantasized on how your name would look on a book spine?
  • had writer’s block that lasted six months?
  • turned a blind date into a story?
  • written something while naked? [don’t tell me, I don’t want to know]
  • [jotted down an idea, plot, character profile or scene on any available paper-equivalent?] √

The magazine says that marking more than 15 may qualify you as, “a bona fide writer.” Regardless, I think any of these are worthy of celebrating!

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"Words without thoughts never to heaven go." ~Shakespeare

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