Bucket List for WritersLook, this is basically a list of 100 Things Every Writer Should Do Before They Die. How many have you already done?

Some of them are pretty ambitious — reading 100 books in a single year is difficult, no doubt. While others like “write fan fiction” or “go to a reading” have a much lower bar.

So scroll through this list and tally up how many of them you’ve accomplished already. This is a tough list, so even getting 30 or 40 is an accomplishment. Only authors pretty advanced in their careers will be able to check off most of these.

And then make a separate list of at least ten that you’re going to work toward for the next year. See, a bucket list always works as a brainstorming session to help you come up with goals: how can you nail a higher score on your bucket list for next year?

And I know, I know — you probably want to know what I got, as a reference point, so I won’t keep it a secret.

I’ve been around the block quite a bit in the writing world, yet I only got 65. Can you beat my score?

At the bottom, compare your scores to others, and then post your score. And if you have an idea for any other bucket list items, please add them in the comments!

100 Bucket List Items for Writers

  1. Own 1000 books
  2. Win at NaNoWriMo (Write 50,000 words in a month)
  3. Earn 6 figures from your writing in a year
  4. Receive a fan letter
  5. Learn to write shorthand
  6. Fly internationally to research a book
  7. Speak at a conference
  8. Publish a book
  9. Win or be a finalist in a writing contest
  10. Write daily for a year
  11. Go to a writing residency
  12. Compose a Writing Manifesto
  13. Get an Agent
  14. Fire an Agent (or be fired)
  15. Interview an author
  16. Take a literary pilgrimage
  17. Visit the gravesite of a famous author
  18. Celebrate Bloomsday (Worth 2 points if it was in Dublin!)
  19. Read 100 books in a year
  20. Finish writing a book
  21. Sell the film rights to your book
  22. Win a literary award
  23. Get a review from a major newspaper
  24. Have a stranger recognize you as an author in a public place
  25. Have a stranger ask you for an autograph
  26. Get a blurb from an author you respect
  27. Get paid for writing a book review
  28. Teach a writing class at a university
  29. Teach an online course in writing
  30. Publish your second book
  31. Land a spot on a bestseller list
  32. Write on a long train trip or subway
  33. Visit a famous bookstore or library in another country
  34. Mentor a teenage writer
  35. Be mentored by a writer
  36. Start/join a book club
  37. Read a book longer than 800 pages
  38. Get a book autographed by your favorite author
  39. Buy an expensive journal
  40. Go on a blind date with a book (buy a book blindly)
  41. Make a meal based on a recipe in a novel
  42. Write under a pseudonym
  43. Write fan fiction
  44. Write Erotica
  45. Self publish a book
  46. Write fan mail to your favorite author
  47. Throw a literary-themed party
  48. Get a selfie with your favorite author
  49. Buy a typewriter
  50. Edit a fellow writer’s book
  51. Build a Little Free Library outside your home
  52. Take an online course in writing
  53. Visit a printing factory to see the process of book creation
  54. Write a guest blog for a literary blog
  55. Read a banned book
  56. Celebrate the Icelandic holiday of “Jolabokaflod” by giving everyone books for Christmas
  57. Attend a literary reading
  58. Spend $50 in one visit to an independent bookstore
  59. Do a reading at an independent bookstore
  60. Participate in a pitch fest on Twitter
  61. Outline one of your favorite books
  62. Start a literary social media feed (blog, Facebook group, Twitter, Instagram)
  63. Have an author website
  64. Memorize a poem
  65. Write while intoxicated
  66. Get a writing mascot (an object, figurine, etc).
  67. Stay up at least two hours past your bedtime reading
  68. Write something using Oulipo techniques (obstructions/limitations – like each word has to start with a consonant).
  69. Claim you’re going to quit writing
  70. Blurb your friend’s book
  71. Read a book series that is more than 6 books long
  72. See your book on a shelf in a bookstore
  73. Get a 6-figure advance
  74. Have a relative pitch you a book idea
  75. Go on a book tour
  76. Join a writing group
  77. Own at least one book-themed item of clothing
  78. Write in an odd point of view (2nd person, 1st person plural)
  79. Boycott Amazon for at least a month
  80. Bet money/honor on the Nobel Prize for Literature
  81. Pay for freelance editing
  82. Walk out of a boring seminar/reading
  83. Donate money to a literary cause
  84. Write using dictation software (or have someone transcribe you)
  85. Learn a new language for your book (or create a language)
  86. Write a book more than 100,000 words long
  87. Buy an antique/rare/signed book for more than $40
  88. Get ghosted by a literary agent
  89. Write with a quill or expensive pen
  90. Pay for an annual membership to a writing organization (AWP, SCBWI, EFA, etc)
  91. Judge a literary prize
  92. Quit a writing group
  93. Do a personal writing retreat for at least a weekend
  94. Get professional headshots to promote your writing career/book
  95. Read a favorite book at least 3 times
  96. Love a movie more than the book it was based on
  97. Publish in an anthology/ Edit an anthology
  98. Start a literary feud
  99. Translate a book
  100. Write a scathing book review


1 – 29 — You’re a baby writer, but the good news is that you have so many experiences ahead!

30 – 39 — Okay, you’re getting started as a writer. Nice.

40 – 49 — You think this is bad, but it’s actually pretty decent. You’re living the writing life.

50 – 59. — Respectable! I like you very much.

60 – 69 — This is very impressive. Your future is bright. 

70 – 79 — Clearly you are a master of the writing world.

80 – 89 — Can we elect you president of the universe?

90 – 100 — You deserve the Nobel.


Please post in the comments your score and add any bucket list item that I’ve missed!

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