Reading, Writing, and Photography: My 2017 Bucket Lists

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Resolutions, for a lot of us, are tough to stick to. Case in point: the Project 365. I have embarked on at least four of those, but I always manage to forget one day, sending the entire project into a downward spiral of “catching up.”

Don’t get me wrong, new years resolutions are great. They inspire us to want to do better by ourselves, but they just never stick for me.

That’s why this year I’m doing bucket lists instead. My only deadline is 2018. No more forgetting to take a picture a day and no more stressing over the fact that I haven’t sent out a query by June.

There’s only the excitement that comes by checking another off the list.

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Reading:

1. Read at least twenty-five books

These books may or may not include:

-The Last Star by Rick Yancey

-Something else by Diana Wynn Jones

-Something new by Ransom Riggs (fingers crossed!!)

-Raise High the Roofbeams..etc. by Mr. Jerome David Salinger

-Romeo and Juliet

-The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

-Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

-The Entire Collection of Edgar Allan Poe

-Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

2. Read Goo at least five chapter books

These books may or may not include:

-Matilda by Roald Dahl

-The BFG by Roald Dahl

-Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

-Odd and the Frost Giants (the illustrated version) by Neil Gaiman

-The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

3. Find a tiny bookstore and leave with a few books (and read them)

4. If I go on vacation, buy a book

On the inside cover, I’ll write down where I bought the book and what we did on our vacation there.

5. Read a Graphic Novel (or five)

6. Watch a movie based on a book before reading the book

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Writing:

1. Send out at least one query

Right now I’m in a “why am I doing this?” phase. I hope sending out some queries will remind me why I worked so hard in 2016.

2. Write a short story in second-person

3. Write a creative nonfiction piece

Then send it to Brevity Magazine

4. Write a few book reviews on the blog

5. Write as many Haikus as I can

Why Haikus? Because they’re like tiny snapshots.

6. Use my photography in a fictional piece

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Photography:

1. Pick a theme for each month, and one for the whole year:

This could be something as simple as “clocks.” Every time I see a clock, I’ll pull out a camera (I always have one, even if it’s just my phone) and I will take a picture of it. At the end of the year, I’ll have thirteen cool collections that, in their own unique way, show I’ve been somewhere other than my living room.

Theme ideas:

Clocks

Bare Feet

Clouds

Framed

Horizons

Lazy

Mushrooms

Violet/Blue Hour

Patterns/Textures

Raindrops

Rocks

Reflections

Shadows

Anxiety

Sky

Wheels

Wood

2. Moving Pictures.

I am going to try and take at least a 10 second video every week. Yes, yes, this is more like a project 52. But I won’t sweat this one. I can always take more videos, or take longer video. The goal is to put them all together at the end of the year and bring 2017 to life.

Check out The Sixty Second Photo.

3. Take at least 20 self portraits.

This might seem a little vain to some, but I’m still not sure I want to do this. I don’t have the greatest self-esteem when it comes to myself. I suffer from epilepsy and anxiety, both of which ruin my whole perspective of me. I’m hoping this idea will force me to celebrate something positive about myself.

4. “A Day in One Roll of Film”

This one’s easy: buy a roll of film, put it in the camera and use it up in one day.

I could also do this with my Instax, since developing film is a bit of a hassle for those of us with no darkroom.

5. Miscellaneous Fun

-Take a picture from a moving vehicle

-Take a picture from up high

-Take a picture of a rollercoaster

-Take a picture of an animal that does not live in America

-Take a picture in the rain

-Spend a morning/afternoon bird-watching and taking pictures

-Take a picture of something from the 1800s or older

-Go rock hunting and take some fossil macros

-Take some pictures during the great August solar eclipse of 2017!

6. Pentax!

I have a Pentax K1000 with no lens. I’d love to play around with this camera. My goal is to buy it a 50mm and just go nuts.

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Aside from my hobby/career goals, I also have a few personal bucket list items, like learning how to do a handstand in yoga, and to travel somewhere further than one hundred miles away from home.

Maybe I’ll find one of those “ten most beautiful/haunted places to visit in your state” things and take the family on a weekend road trip.

I think if I were to have at least one resolution it would be this: follow my flow. I don’t want to force myself to do anything I don’t want to (except laundry…I kind of have no choice with that). If I don’t feel like sitting down to work on the “big project” then I should allow myself to work on something else, like a new short story, or a blog article, or even a mindless journal entry. If I want to watch Miyazaki films all morning instead of scrubbing the bathroom, then dammit I’m going to cook some ramen and sit on the floor with Goo and put together a Totoro puzzle to “Howl’s Moving Castle.”

Lazy? Maybe. But this year I want to be less stressed. I forced myself through 2016, and beat myself up mentally when I didn’t get things done to my standards. The only thing that comes to mind when I think of last year is all the stress I put myself through. For what? I’m still in the same position I was at the beginning of last year.

This year I want to focus less on what I need to do, and just follow my own current. I want to turn back on New Years Eve and say “I had so much fun this year!!!”

Because my kid refuses to stop aging, which means I’m forced to age with her, and the last thing I want is to miss time with her because I was so busy worried about whether or not I could cut 30k from a novel.

Speaking of 30. I’m turning 30 on the 30th. That will never happen again.

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