December 18, 2012

A Writer's Bucket List

by Gary Fearon, Creative Director, Southern Writers Magazine

The term "bucket list" has become so much a part of our lexicon that it's hard to believe it didn't exist before the 2007 movie The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. In just five years, most everyone has come to know that a bucket list is a personal wish list of things one wishes to do before one "kicks the bucket".

I think the reason the phrase has caught on so quickly and indelibly is because everyone has a deeply personal wish list, whether they've taken the time to write theirs out yet or not.

Examples from the film include "Witness something truly majestic" and "Laugh until I cry".  Goals such as these are not mere short-term achievements like clearing out your inbox.  They aspire to the kind of high-caliber life experience that fulfills on a soul level.

As a writer, it's a given that some of the goals capable of enriching us to that degree will involve writing.  In 2013, as we contemplate New Year's resolutions, why not include something "bucket list worthy" in your intentions? 

Where to start? A good place to begin might be through two of the main questions posed in the movie:

Did you find joy in your life? 
Has your life brought joy to others?

When we narrow these into a writing focus, they might well become:

What will bring me joy in my writing?
How can my writing bring joy to others?

A good bucket list item reflects the motivation behind it. Instead of "Write a novel", make it "Write a novel that honors my ancestors" or "Write a book that helps kids who are afraid of going to the doctor". One of the best things about a bucket list is that it's uniquely you, and exclusively yours to fulfill.  Good luck.

With Christmas just a week away, and 2013 a mere two weeks from today, I wish you glad tidings and the opportunity to slow down over the holidays to give some inspired thought to the writing you'd like to accomplish this coming year. May you write something capable of changing someone's life, and your own.

You might even come up with a new catch phrase, like "bucket list".

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