Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Your Writing Bucket List

Post by Kerrie

In the September 2011 issue of Writers Digest, there is an article by Elizabeth Sims on "10 Things For Every Writer's Bucket List." I enjoyed this short piece because it pushed me to think of my own writing life; both past and future.

Here is the basic list:
1. Publish a short story
2. Go to a writing conference
3. Freelance for money
4. Visit City Lights Bookstore In San Francisco
5. Write + publish an essay
6. Take a writing retreat
7. Write a Novel
8. Go to BEA (Book Expo of America)
9. Read Shakespeare
10. **Your choice

I like this list because I agree with many of the items on it and it made me consider some new ones. If a writer did everything on this list, I believe he/she would be a very well-rounded and versatile writer.

I have done 5 out of the 9 (since #10 is a fill-in-the-blank) on the list:

  • #2-I have gone to quite a few writers conferences and now even host my own. They are  something I believe every writer should attend at least every couple of years. They help to keep current on what is happening in the industry if nothing else. 
  • #3-Freelancing for money is something I have done for over a decade and really enjoy it. Learning how to craft a good article is a valuable skill for all writers and getting paid for it makes it even better. 
  • #5-I love writing essays and am grateful that about a dozen of mine have been published. 
  • #6-A writing retreat is a great way to recharge your creative energy and get a lot of writing done. I host one every year, so I get to participate each year as well. 
  • #8-BEA, Book Expo Of America is an incredible annual event that I had the privilege to attend back in 2010 and wrote a post about it. It you ever get a chance to attend, I would highly recommend it. 
As for the other 4 on the list that I have not done, the reading Shakespeare is probably at the bottom for me. I took a class on it in high school and it did not go well, so I have never been inspired to read his books again. But maybe it is time give William another try. 

I have never heard of City Lights bookstore, but I am now intrigued and wonder what makes it so amazing. As for writing AND publishing a short story, that has been on my list for a few years. I have stories written, but nothing published yet, but that won't stop me from trying. 

And the last one: write a novel. This is something I would like to do before I die. When will that happen? Not sure. Ideas are percolating, but that is as far as they have gotten. 

My #10? I would say, publish a nonfiction book. I have many ideas in this arena and plan to make something happen soon. 

Have you done any of the things on this bucket list? What is your #10?



Dean K Miller said...

Being new to this world, I've only scratched off #5. However #10 would be to not read Shakespear, so that cancels #9. For 2012, I plan on completing #'s 1,2,3, and 6. I am working on #7, but don't think it'll get there by year's end.

It'll be fun to check back next year and see how we do.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm adding City Lights Bookstore to my must do list for our next trip to San Francisco to see the granddaughter. I'd never heard of it either.

I've never been to BEA, but have always wanted to go. Being surrounded by so many books and authors would be heavenly.

Kerrie said...

Dean, I know you can accomplish 1,2,3 & 6 (for #6, If you are thinking the NCW retreat, I am going to see how we can fit fishing into that as well.)As for #7, I bet you can get at least a first draft done in 2012.

Pat, When you go to City Lights, take lots of pictures and be sure to blog about it when you get back. BEA is so cool. You would love it.

Michelle Mach said...

I like this list. I've done four items . . . I'm not counting the "novels" I wrote during NaNoWriMo.

I think I'd add writing book reviews to the list, which I do quite a bit. Reading and analyzing books helps you write better!

Elizabeth Sims said...

Kerrie, I'm glad my piece sparked some ideas. City Lights is an inspiring blast. Michelle, writing book reviews is a GREAT idea for a bucket list item. I wrote some for the Detroit Free Press years ago and I kind of miss it. (I miss the free books for sure!)

Kerrie said...

Michelle book reviews are fun to write.

Elizabeth thanks for stopping by our blog and for your great article that provided the inspiration.

Woodswoman Abroad said...

Thanks so much for the list! Checking things off lets us know we're not the writing slugs we sometimes think we are.

When I was in college in bland Toledo, Ohio, also my home town, I was drawn to A Coney Island of The Mind, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a beat poet whose work brought me to the awareness of City Lights Bookstore. Ferlinghetti co-founded City Lights, the first all-paperback bookstore in the country. He wrote with the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, etc.

In 1965, my parents took me on a business trip with them to Hawaii, and on the return, we stopped in San Francisco, so I had an opportunity to visit that very funky bookstore long ago. I took my children there in 1991 and have visited twice on other SF trips. It's delightful to see City Lights on the list of 10. So that is my #4. Done.

I can also check #2, 3, 5, 6, and 9 off my list as well. And if you count National Novel Writing Month (and I WILL count it in this case), I've written four novels, though they are all still in "shitty first (or second) draft" as Anne Lamott says, and three of them could be combined into one longer novel. #7 . . . check.

Shakespeare . . . good for you, Kerrie. Shakespeare was one of the most brilliant writers and poets in the history of language, and though we don't have to LOVE reading him, making a good attempt is writer-worthy.

I wasn't aware of BEA, but now will check into it. So I'm left with #1, #8 and #10. #10 in my list is to get back to a regular writing practice, rather than just teaching and reading the work of others in critique groups.

#10 can also serve to allow me the time and space to finish the next draft of my memoir scraps, Windflowers: Fragments of a Life.

After we've completed this one, do we go on to create another? (And I just re-ordered a copy of my first Ferlinghetti book as well. His bio information on Wikipedia is fascinating!)

Milady said...

Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com

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