After reading the guest column on writersdigest.com by Dana Sitar, a freelance blogger and indie author of “A Writer’s BucketList: 99 things to do for inspiration, education, and experience before your writing kicks the bucket,” I decided to create my own Writer’s Bucket List.
Though I know it sounds counterintuitive, sometimes being a writer is more then just writing. I know this goes against every writing book I’ve ever read and against every bit of advice I’ve given to aspiring authors. Just hear me out. Being a writer can be a solitary existence. For introverts like me, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Most of the things you do, you have to do alone: reading, writing, editing, blogging, platform building, marketing, facebooking and tweeting. Sometimes to truly feel like a writer, you have to step from behind the computer and out of your comfort zone. This list is to help boost your creativity and take full advantage of the greatest profession on the face of the earth. Who know? You can ignite your passion and maybe even find a few fans along the day.
1. Visit New Orleans and write about it.
Author Kala Ambrose (Spirits of New Orleans) writes, “Seeing a ghost in New Orleans is as common as having a bowl of gumbo. The question is not when but where best to savor them both. Each person who lives or visits the city of New Orleans quickly finds his or her favorite haunts and returns to them time and time again.”
As a writer, I challenge you to take a stroll through the Garden District and not be inspired. Try not to see the city as Tennessee Williams saw it. Good luck. Take a weekend and check into one of the many haunted hotels. Visit the LaLaurie Mansion and Marie Leveau’s Voodoo shop. Head down to the French Quarter with a pad and pencil and lose yourself in the most haunted city in America. Between the food and the music, you won’t want to leave. The city is alive and ready to embrace you with it’s rich history and culture. If you can’t find inspiration there, you are in the wrong line of work. Try being a banker maybe.
2. Create a YouTube show or podcast.
After listening to Paul Dini on a Kevin Smith podcast of Fatman on Batman, I found my passion renewed. I’ve written about it before so I won’t get into it again. As much as I enjoy writing and reading mysteries, thrillers and romances, my first passion was comic books. I started in the mid-eighties and continued through the early nineties when I went to college. A few years ago, I slowly started to renew my interest in my childhood hobby and by the time DC comics release the new 52 last year, I was back into it wholeheartedly. The more my interest grew, the more Rena and my boys wanted to explore this world. There are a few podcasts that I listen to and a few YouTube shows I watch as well. I had the thought that surely there are people out there like me that have collected comics in the past and are figuring out which current comic are for them. There are also people like Rena and the boys that are starting with a completely fresh palette. My show will be – The Monarch Theater Presents: Cluewriter on Comics. Rena and I will do comic reviews and recommendations. What is your passion? How can you share your passion with your audience?
3. Visit Your Personal Shangri-La.
In the 1933 novel, Lost Horizon, British author James Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley. It’s a sacred place of refuge. For me, it’s Mile High Comics in Denver, Colorado. It’s America’s Largest Comics Dealer, with over 5 million comics and over 100,000 Comics Trade Paperbacks and Hardbacks. Again, I’m letting my geek flag fly. It’s a good thing that it’s so far away or I would probably be broke by now. My wife has already accused me of trying to single handily put Eddie’s (Southeast Cards and Comics) kids through college. Locally that is my go-to place if I’m looking for any new or back issue comic book. Before the end of the year, you will see a blog about my Mile High adventure.Where is that place that holds a special place in your heart? Life is so short not to travel to your sacred place and write about every step in your journey.
4. Set an unreachable goal, then go after it.
As I continue to document my journey as a full-time writer, I’ve began using The Writer’s Devotional by Amy Peters. The reading for the second day had to do with motivation. The chapter started with the quote
“The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.” – Ben Stein
It’s simple but brilliant. What do you want to accomplish as a writer? Do you want be become a best selling author? Do you want to use your author’s platform to try and make the world a better place? Do you just want to finish your novel for yourself? These goals are as unique as fingerprints, but if you don’t make them specific for yourself, how can you every hope to accomplish them. If you want to sell more books than Stephen King, then you have to make a plan and roll with it. There is nothing wrong with dreaming, but sooner or later you have to take the appropriate steps to go from fantasy to reality. What is my unreachable goal?
I want to write Batman.
I wish it was something more altruistic, but I want to add to the Batman mythos like my favorites Neal Adams, Frank Miller, Paul Dini and Scott Synder. What is your unreachable goal? Who’s to say you can’t make it happen?
5. Read the Dark Knight Returns
Comic books are for kids, right? If this is how you feel, please go to your nearest bookstore and buy a copy of The Dark Knight Returns. In 1986, that book changed my life. Written and drawn by Frank Miller, The Dark Knight Returns takes place ten years after Batman has “retired”. In his absence, Gotham City has sunk deeper into the lawlessness that created the Dark Knight in the first place. When his city needs him most, he returns to reclaim Gotham. After facing off against his two greatest foes, the Joker and Two-Face, the Caped Crusader has to battle his former ally, Superman. This collection is a great place to start if you were a fan of the 1989 Batman or the more recent Christopher Nolan trilogy. The storyline and social commentary was so far ahead of it’s time that it still stand today. I’m my opinion, this is the greatest graphic novel of all-time and something that will continue to influence my writing until the end of time.