Whether you call it a to-do list, experimental phase, career-management strategy, a bucket list or just don’t name it at all, we have a lot of stuff we want to do in most areas of our lives. But hey, being writers, the writing-related list is usually the longest, most imaginative and inspiring.
Dana Sitar of DIY Writing (yep, the name tells you a lot,) starts her book by pointing out the fact that when writers decide to be writers, they usually dream about that great American novel. Or the best-selling novel. Or the hit literary novel that makes hit literary novel not seem like an oxymoron.
Now, she was one of the writers who set out to become a big novel writer.
I guess for to-be-writers who are movie fans, it is also common to dream of being a successful Hollywood screenwriter. I was, and am, such a writer.
That’s not to say I didn’t try or enjoy other forms of writing. I loved writing essays in school, even during exams. I tried my hand at playwriting and a short story. In college, I wrote academic articles and a thesis. And to the shock of all my friends, I had chosen the courses specifically because I’d have to write those.
But funnily enough, the thought that I’d love non-fiction articles didn’t occur to me until I started blogging in 2009. I didn’t know I could write a complete novel before I finished my first draft earlier this year. Oh, I’m still writing screenplays.
My own writing journey is the reason why I liked Dana’s book so much. She also found herself trying and loving different forms of the craft- so much so that her novel isn’t still quite finished.
She also shows that you don’t need to limit yourself to one genre or format. You don’t need labels or strict categories. Whatever you like writing, you can do it – be it a hobby or an income stream. And those hobbies and/or income streams don’t have to be in one niche.
Oh, I can relate alright. I get a kick out of learning, reading and writing about business, advertising, career management, human resources management, psychology, freelancing, writing, blogging, career management, lifestyle design, entertainment and relationships. I love novels and non-fiction books. Oh, how I’d love to see my stories made into film…
So I dived into her fun bucket list – a diverse list of writing and not-so-writing related things any writer should do to find her calling(s), start/manage her career, find more awesome story material, meet other writers, find readers and have a lot more fun in life in general.
The categories are Creative Growth, Inspiration, Career, Education, Building a Network and Life Experience.
I read the whole thing in one sitting, and counted how many of the things I could cross off my list. My number is 46, and they were mostly done before reading Dana’s e-book. My 46 includes meeting other writers online, applying to college, getting paid for my writing, writing stories/articles my family wouldn’t approve, writing a novel, writing a screenplay, entering a contest, learning a second language, drawing, learning an instrument among many others.
But there’s also a lot on the list I’ll be working towards: such as contacting agents and getting my books published, contacting a famous person, working closely with a mentor, winning a contest, doing weird stuff for a year…
There’re a great deal of goal-setting books out there. Same goes for inspiration, career management, networking and writing life in general…However, I don’t think there’s another one that compactly features everything in such a fun and honest manner.
I recommend reading the book, saving it and coming back to it on a regular basis to see what more you have crossed off your list, and what more you’d like to do. It also won’t hurt to add your own ideas. I know I have.
You can read about Dana and her mission in the book and on her website, DIY Writing. A Writer’s Bucket List is her free gift to her subscribers.