My Reverse Bucket List

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I don’t remember where I saw this idea. But I thought it was brilliant, the idea of writing a reverse bucket list. Things I’ve already crossed off what would be a bucket list item.

  1. Meeting my birth family.
  2. Publishing a novel.
  3. A dog named Bacon (this was actually on a bucket list I wrote about fifteen years ago.)
  4. See the world.
  5. Learn a new language. In the interest of full disclosure, I learned it—and have now forgotten it. Note to self: practice is important.
  6. Attend a book signing.
  7. Meet a celebrity.
  8. Learn a new instrument.
  9. Make profiteroles (they were fucking amazing). IMG_20181013_154609072_HDR - Copy
  10. Meet my publisher & editor (they live in Australia.)

What’s on your reverse bucket list? What’s something you’ve accomplished?

From straight pantser to ever so slightly plotting along.

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I used to be a straight pantser.  (Someone who writes by the seat of their pants instead of plotting with an outline, etc.)

Never did anything, not even writing down character notes, before starting a novel. My mind liked it, but my manuscripts became a bit of a nightmare to edit. It’s hard to keep track of characters, plots, and timelines when NOTHING is written down.

And your memory is a bit shit.

Now, I do better.

I plot a little. I’ll never be a true plotter. Outlines bore me to tears. So, I’ve found a compromise that works.

Stage One: Faces, Names and Places

Three things I usually do before anything else is to pick the location of a story, the novel title, and visual references for the characters.

I’m not a very visual person, so I definitely need an actual image to picture while I’m writing.

Stage Two: Build out a Book Bible.

I use thin A5 Muji notebooks and fill out little character questionnaires for the main characters along with notes about family/friends. I also jot down a loose timeline. I find this helps keep the novel on track, but also with writing newsletters and blog posts once I’m done with the book.

Stage Three: Media.

Before writing, I build two essential lists. A musical playlist, my current WIP has a mostly country music playlist. I also create a TV/movie list. I find watching shows or movies based around the theme of what I’m writing can really help me get in the mood.

For The Royal Marine, for example, I watched a lot of Bake Off. For the Grasmere trilogy, it watched Poirot, of course.

Stage Four: Let’s Play Pretend

This is the stage where I’m usually supposed to be giving myself a writing break, but I’m chomping at the bit to write.

Stage Five: Write

Self-explanatory that involves a lot of coffee, sobbing, and hitting my head against the keyboard.

If you’re a writer, are you a pantser or a plotter?

 

My Travel Bucket List

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As I’m working on my current WIP, Pure Dumb Luck, I’m thinking a lot about travel. Growing up, we travelled a lot. I’ve lived in five countries and visited well over twenty. But, I still have a bucket list of places I’d loved to visit–or revisit in some cases.

  1. Australia
  2. New Zealand
  3. United Kingdom
  4. France
  5. Norway, to visit my cousin.
  6. Alaska
  7. Singapore, even though I lived there for ten years. I’d love to visit again.
  8. Spain
  9. Canada (Vancouver and Prince Edward Island, especially)
  10. Japan

What’s on your travel bucket list?

The Bucket List

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I’m still on the fence as to whether I not I like the term Bucket List.  I heard someone once say they hated the term because they didn’t want to accomplish things ‘because they were going to die.’  I understand the sentiment.

We could just call it a life list.

Sounds trite.

In any case, my list has changed over the years since I wrote my first one at nineteen.  Items have been added, accomplished or just removed.  I think the first version had ‘meet Michael Crichton’ on it.  He was my favourite author at the time.

A few more highlights:

Things I’ve accomplished:

– Written/published a book.

– Started my own business.

– Traveled the world (at the time I meant to somewhere I’d never been, since I traveled rather extensively as a child.)

A few of the things I want to accomplish:

– Get a tattoo.

– Have a garden.

– Walk the John Muir Trail.

– Become fluent in a second language.  (I’ve dabbled in languages, can curse in multiple languages, but I’m not as fluent as I’d like to be).

How about you? Do you have a bucket/life list? What’s on it?  Have you actively tried to accomplish the things on it?