How to put together a writing bucket list

Special thanks to Moyan Brenn for use of this image.

Special thanks to Moyan Brenn for use of this image.

This is a just a morbid thing for me to write about but, hey, I’ve reported on mayhem so I can deal.

I have a writing bucket list. Yes, a list of things I want to write before I kick the bucket.

This thought comes after hearing several of my favorite writers express the same thought — “I have too many ideas to write down.”

I also have too many ideas and so many that I want to execute but I know that I have to focus on one project at a time. Focus is something I’m working on not only in my writing but in my life. So, I put that project idea on the shelf and kind of keep there until whenever.

Over the years, I’ve accumulated quite the bucket list. Some are just huge goals that a younger me was crazy about, aiming for the moon (I wanted to win a Pultizer) and others I have already done and had to remind myself I had done them (reporting from a foreign country).

So, now, at the mature age of mid-30s, I put together a new writing bucket list, goals really, that I have for myself.

1.) Write a mystery series

Did you know I cut my fiction teeth on the mystery genre? I did. I was the weird kid reading Edgar Allen Poe. In east Harris County in the 80s, there were no bookstores so I would buy books when mom and I went to the Fiesta Mart. At the grocery store they sold those little thick books, adaptations of the great novels. I loved reading Cask of Amontillo. Soon, I’d move up to more contemporary novels for children like Nancy Drew and the Boxcar Children mysteries. Encyclopedia Brown was a favorite. But it was Joan Lowery Nixon’s “Whispers from the Dead” that sold the genre to me.

Now, I write as many kinds of things as I can — articles, commentary, essay, literary fiction, short stories, some non-fiction, etc. However, I’ve recently come full circle and am seriously considering some options. (Details on this later.)

2.) Write an epic love story

I’ve written about this before. I would love to write a love story in the category of Love in the Time of Cholera and Anna Karenina. Tragic. Beautiful. Emotion stealing.  Epic love stories told beautifully, I believe, are crafted by true artists.  I’m not there yet but hopefully I will be one day!

3.) Write a t.v. script

I’ve written spec scripts before just for the challenge and I loved the process! Again, it was just me and my idea so knowing that writing scripts is a bit of a team sport, (by team I mean there’s a room of writers thinking about things) is intriguing.

4.) Finally have a space for my writing

How jealous I am of writers who have their own space for writing? Ridiculously jealous. Robert Olen Butler and Isabel Allende have shared pictures of their writing spaces. It’s like looking into the inner sanctum of genius. Just them and their world.

I have a space where I do my writing. It’s called the corner of my living room. For now, it will do.

5.) Write for Texas Monthly, the Atlantic, and Vanity Fair

This should really read: get really good at non-fiction storytelling. I LOVE narrative writing — reading and writing it. I love the idea of reporting on a story for a longer period of time and getting down to the meat of it. The challenge of telling the story, after reporting and research, is lovely even though in the thick of it I want to pull out my hair. But at the end, when it goes through the process, it is art. These three magazines I love and have always wanted to write for them.

One day.

6.) Become a columnist

I’ve done this before but not as a full time gig. It’s always been a reporter who writes an occasional column, which is fine but column writing is something I want to work on doing well. Crafting an argument and considering from all sides really is takes some time.

I’ve written commentary for The Guardian and for the Huffington Post now and I’ve enjoyed it each time I’ve done it. I want to do more of that here in the future.

7.) Write the great American novel

Everyone wants to do this, however, I’m amending this. I want to write MY great American novel. There is no one definition of being American, just the overall feeling of can-do and patriotism. My American story is different than others but it deserves to be heard. It should be part of the tapestry and will be one day.

So what are your goal for your writing? Do you have a writing bucket list?

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2 thoughts on “How to put together a writing bucket list

  1. Reading this is like a reflection of my own thoughts XD I know exactly what you mean when you talk about having too many ideas to put them all down. Just a fun fact I think would be interesting to mention; Stephen King has a marvellous writing space (I can’t quite remember if it’s his attic room or just a room he’s set aside for writing) all done up pleasantly in solitary with his desk in the corner, and he loves it. It’d be amazing to have a room like that, wouldn’t it?

    I loved reading this post :) Good luck with your bucket list :)

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