Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bucket Books

A life-goal or "bucket" list is comprised of all the things a person wants to do before life is over (or they kick the bucket.) The list can contain anything from ordinary/mainstream ambitions such as "get married and have kids" to exotic or highly unlikely dreams like "buy my own island and live there." In many of the articles I've read about the practice, writing and/or publishing a book is usually on the list.

I'm not surprise to see that there are so many aspiring bucket-list book writers out there; the Times' Joseph Epstein claimed a survey indicated that 81% of all Americans feel they have a book in them. Why not write a book before the final kick? It's certainly more realistic and doable than "climb Mt. Everest" or "sleep with George Clooney."

(Btw, George, after 25 years I'm still madly in love with my guy, and men in his family tend to live 'til their nineties, so you never really made my list. Sorry.)

I think those of us who are working writers already have slightly different bucket lists. I still have some things I want to do, like see the Grand Canyon and grow my hair down to my knees, but on mine there are mostly books I intend to write before I go. My list is not static -- I actually write them (both Dream Called Time and If Angels Burn were once bucket books) and then I add something new: a massive nonfic history of American patchwork quilting, a straight Western set in California, an old-style Gothic haunted house story set in the South. I would absolutely love to write a book in a language other than English, but my fluency in the languages I do know is such that I'd have to go back to school for at least a couple of years. Still, that's why it's a bucket list.

So what is something you've put on your book or life bucket list? Let us know in comments.

Image credit: © Frenta |


  1. A size 14. That's all I'm sayin'.

    To spend hours reclining ona beach with white sand, sun, & no noise but the sound of the ocean.

    To write a book and have it turn out exactly (EXACTLY) as I imagined it.

  2. I have a ton of books I want to finish before I kick the bucket. Including a YA urban fantasy trilogy.

    And I'd like to sell some of my children's books.

    I know my list should include more exciting things than work, but when I had pneumonia about a year and a half ago and thought that might be it, it enraged me to think my last book would be the last.

  3. theres this movie "Bucket List" played by morgan freeman and jack nicholson.. its really good. :)

  4. Dawn Montgomery6:46 AM

    Dawn Montgomery said:

    On my book list:

    A Dark Fantasy set on the streets of Adana and Istanbul.

    A military sci fi series my husband and I have dreamed about (and already started plans for) for almost four years now.

    A steampunk novel that takes place in an airship.

    My life list:
    Visit Australia

    Show my family the beauty of Alaska

    Run one marathon

    Complete one triathlon

    Learn to scuba dive

    Hike through the gorgeous trails of Mt. Shasta and the surrounding area.

  5. Anonymous6:58 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Above comment deleted because it contained some private info I'd rather not have here on the blog.

  7. Book bucket: at least three series, one urban fantasy, one paranormal romance, and one sf romance.

    Life bucket: live a long life of shared happiness and good health with my wife, long enough to see our kids happy and established and our (as yet unborn) grandkids grow up happy and safe.

    Dream bucket: move to live in California and win a national lottery jackpot big enough to let us fund two hospital ships for Africa.

  8. I would love to have one of my stories/books published, but choosing one would be like picking a favorite ice cream flavor ;-)

    I just got back from Australia, so other parts of my list are happening. Macchu Pichu is still on the travel list.

    Raising a child in on there, perhaps adopting a child.

    The thing I try to remember is that any goal is broken up into steps, even baby steps. I might not get my dream agent today, but I can polish a query letter or do some research at Agent Query today.

  9. I want to live in Scotland, and before everyone groans that it seems like half the world wants to live there, my maternal grandparents immigrated from Scotland in the early 1900's. I grew up on story after story of the country, the people, the wonder and yes, per them, the magic you feel if you pay enough attention. I want to walk the paths they did, see the houses they were born in that are still there, see the family cemetery, my history...

    And I'd like to be published. Not for the money, but for the ability to say; I did it!

  10. Hmmmm... my bucket list is rather boring in that it is achievable, for the most part.

    Cut my hair really short at least once.

    Get a tattoo.

    Learn to sail.

    Buy a pair of those super high heels and figure out how the heck to walk in them.

    Take the kids to Disney.

    Go on a trip to Europe with my husband, or my mom, or my mother-in-law (but not all of them at the same time *gulp*)

    Buy a kayak.

    There are more but they are more amorphous, involving feelings, smells, etc. from my childhood that I would like to experience again

  11. I've heard of a bucket list, but a book bucket is an interesting twist. What a neat idea.

    So, on my book bucket list would be:
    * a science fiction romance (I'm intimidated by the science fiction genre, so I'm not sure if I can pull this one off!)

    * a fantasy of manners (alternative historical fantasy--is that a genre???)

    * sequels to some of the novels I've already written. I'm writing my fourth book right now and I've never worked on a sequel, even though trilogies abound in my genre (fantasy)

    My life bucket list includes travel (of course!) with Mongolia being my one unusual destination. I'd also like a bigger vegetable garden some day and to take a drawing class.

  12. Size 12 :D
    Learn to play the guitar
    and Travel--anywhere but specifically, Italy and Greece.

    As far as books, I'd like to write an adoption book. I'm sure there's more but that's the first and biggest that comes to mind.


  13. @Cece Writer,

    It's never too late to learn guitar. I didn't start lessons until I was 36 years old. I'm having sooooo much fun!

  14. I've never made a conscious list like this. Of course there are things like own a home, and other's you mentioned. I hate regrets, so I try to go through life grateful I have what I have and hope to have more. BTW, half way through 'Night Lost' and loving it!

  15. Hi Lynn

    Just discovered your blog; interesting posts, thank you.

    Being an aspiring author, I really want another literary agent; shake hands with my previous agent(s) and tell them "no harm done!" without letting on that I actually gave up writing for almost 25 flippin' years; actually be at my own book launch; and buy the best quality "sensibility protection" for the possibility that, having reached the top of one mountain i.e being published once, the novel might sell only a boot fair table's worth.

  16. My book bucket:
    --write the "big" book I can't get out of my head
    --write a sequel to my first book

    My life bucket:
    --live in Paris for a month
    --sell some of my artwork, okay any of my artwork
    --meet Matt Lauer, yes I have a crush on Matt Lauer from the Today Show

  17. Book bucket list:

    Nonfiction book on small-scale wildlife management and prairie restoration (working on it--have been told it has no market potential.)

    Nonfiction book encouraging parents to be creative and bold in working with their kids (especially autistic kids) rather than depending on experts. (Who aren't always. Even me.)

    An outdoor life mystery.

    A music-setting mystery.

    (Unfortunately, though I love to read mysteries, I'm lousy at writing them.)

    A really good children's book.

    Plus all the books now waiting in a mob outside the inner sanctum, tapping their toes and sighing and insisting that I need to boot the book-in-progress out of the way so they can rush forward clamoring to be next.

  18. size 10 (currently working on that very intently and successfully)

    book bucket:

    write historical novel about women through seven generations, fact based on my ancestors (have outline)

    write historical novel on Oregon Trail (again fact based on my ancestors, have rough draft -- VERY rough!)

    write SF on planet of GM animals who escape keepers and defend themselves and the planet (have character sketches and world building)

    and so on... need bigger bucket and lots more time than I have left.

    life bucket: visit Australia, see natural wonders and meet some blog pals and Aussie writers

    whew!! that's 'nuff