A Writer's Bucket List

One hundred things to do in this lifetime...and so goes my Bucket List: explore some remote corners of the world, swim with dolphins, snorkel in a cenote, ride a donkey into the rain forest, soak in a seaside mud volcano, trek up an active volcano. In Rob Reiner's 2007 film, The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, this bucket list refers to these men realizing a wish list of goals before they "kick the bucket" or die.When working with a group of students on goal-setting, I have them do this list. I usually suggest they write 50 things, which sounds ambitious where most people often can barely think of 10. However, once you actually sit down to the business of writing out your Bucket List, it just flows.

This got me thinking about a writer's Bucket List. It might include some of the following...
  1. Write a best-seller
  2. Get a web site
  3. Create a blog
  4. Go write in a remote or exotic place
  5. Do a book tour
  6. Turn my best-seller into a film

    Whatever that list, we soon realize the many steps--large and small-- involved in achieving our writing goals and any goal for that matter. This means setting goals that are, in a word, SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. I like this acronym; it keeps me focused on the outcomes while allowing me to enjoy the process. It also lets me know that there is a time for everything and everything in its time.

    But I would add another letter to the end, and that is another T for "Tell somebody." When we commit to our goals to another person, this makes them come alive with possibility. It puts that goal out there beyond the print on a page. We can then talk about it. People will ask: "How's that book(/project) coming along?" And we have the opportunity to share, talk about it and maybe come away with new insights that will inform our writing/our goals. It also helps us to network. You never know who knows someone whose been where you're heading and they may be able to refer you for mentoring (or in the case of writing, maybe even to an agent or publisher or film producer!). You just might find yourself applying check marks to many of your bucket list items.

    In the meantime that bucket just might come in handy: use it by your desk as a reminder to achieve your goals or use it as a way to recycle the crumpled paper--the many revisions of that manuscript you're currently working on!

    Have you ever thought about your Bucket List? What would you put on it?


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