4 Tips for Writing A Bucket List

Welcome to Amazing Words Wednesday, the day we enter the labyrinth of language and see what we can find.

BucketOn the first Wednesday of the month, I share my own words — something I’ve crafted from our vast-yet-finite number of words in the English language. Since it’s the very first of the year as well, I wanted to talk about writing a bucket list.

What’s a bucket list?

bucket list (buck·et list)

noun: a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime: making this trip is the first thing on my bucket list

origin: early 21st century: from the phrase kick the bucket ‘die’, popularized by the 2007 movie The Bucket List

Oxford Dictionaries

Some people prefer to call it a “life list,” since the connotation of kicking the bucket makes it sound like you’ve got one foot in the grave. Yet, plenty of young people write bucket lists, or rather wish lists of what they want to do in their lifetime.

I’ve called my own list the 40 After 40, because I wrote it at age 40 and included 40 items. I’ve knocked out a few, but not as many as I’d like.

Here are my tips for a bucket list of any kind:

  • It must include items you have control over. Stating as a goal “get a book contract” doesn’t work, because that decision doesn’t belong solely in your court. Whereas “submit manuscript to ten agents” is a goal in your hands.
  • It should include items that don’t require money. On my list are a few high-priced items, like vacations and purchases. However, if everything on your list requires that you get rich first, you may never get any traction. Try to include some activities that are cheap or even free. They may require contacts and effort, but not cold hard cash you may not have.
  • It should run the gamut of experiences you desire. Some may be small items, some large, but all things outside of your normal. Still, you’re looking for a range of experience that will enhance your life.
  • It should include others. Not every item must include other people, but find things that involve your closest loved ones. You’ll enjoy some activities far more when you can share them with people dear to you.

And now my words — my list.

  1. Shop for a wedding dress
  2. Travel to the Holy Land (Israel, Egypt)
  3. Write a novel
  4. Own a gazebo
  5. Participate in a musical
  6. Learn to tap dance
  7. Teach a women’s Bible class
  8. Ride in a small private plane
  9. See another opera
  10. Sing at a karaoke bar
  11. Go on a cruise
  12. Attend the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York (tennis)
  13. Write a blog
  14. Take ballroom dancing
  15. Host a costume party
  16. Read the Bible all the way through again
  17. Read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  18. Attend another ministry conference
  19. See Shakespeare in the Park (again)
  20. Record songs I’ve written
  21. Shoot a gun
  22. Go on vacation by myself
  23. Sing the national anthem at an event
  24. Ride in a limousine
  25. Learn military phonetic alphabet

Yes, that’s only 25 of the 40, but some items are a bit personal and others would require explanation. I’ve knocked out several of these, including writing a blog (obviously), teaching women’s Bible class, reading War and Peace, and shopping for a wedding dress which I wrote about here. My Texas friends will be happy to learn that I did go to a shooting range over the holidays, and this born-and-bred Texan has finally fired a real gun. (No, not at anybody. Paper target, y’all.)

I plan to check off several more items in 2014!

So what’s on your bucket/life list? What tips do you have for writing such a list?

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21 thoughts on “4 Tips for Writing A Bucket List

  1. I have no tips for making a list like this–I like yours, right now my wish is to get through 2014 without too much drama, one day at a time. I love your number 23–I can’t sing so I had one of my heroes sing that national anthem at a ballgame (not a national one like the World Series…yet)

  2. I’ve never written a bucket list though I have a few things I’d love to do some day. The other day I actually “said” the words “bucket list” when referring to the fact I’d love to one day be up close and personal to an elephant.

    1. If you get up close and personal to an elephant, you may need a bucket. 😉

      Have a wonderful New Year, Patti! Best wishes with your writing and your life. Thanks for being such a lovely visitor to my blog.

  3. I think this year I will make a list like this. I already achieved a few things I wanted to do. Now it’s time to do more!

    Happy New Year! Here’s to a safe and healthy 2014!

    1. Did you notice that visiting NYC is on my list? Well, specifically the U.S. Open, but I’ve never been to the Big Apple at all. I really show go, don’t you think?

      Hope you can achieve some wonderful things in 2014! Thanks for your positive presence on my blog. May life hand you much happiness in the coming year.

  4. I’ve only ever had a mental bucket list, but I like the thought of writing one, so maybe it’s time I give it a whirl! Congrats on the items you’ve achieved from your list so far!

  5. Great list, Julie! I don’t have a life list, but I just posted a probably-too-long 2014 list. I could make a list of all the places I want to visit…that could be fun. 🙂

    Happy New Year!

  6. Oh you should definitely come to NYC. It’s expensive but I feel it’s worth it. There’s so many museums, churches, galleries, etc. and the energy is different there. Then take a trip out to the Hamptons or Fire Island for a change of pace. Contact me if you do make it. Though I don’t really know my way around too well It’s fun to go. : )

      1. yYou have a great year too. Like I said, I’m not really familiar with NYC but I really like going there. Hey we can get lost together. lol

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