summer vacation · writing workshop

A To Be Written List

You’ve probably heard of a “To Be Read” list, right?

In case you haven’t, a T.B.R. is a running list of books you plan to read. Many people keep To Be Read lists taped inside their planners, in lists saved on their phones, or as special printed out pages or bookmarks.

At this time of year, many teachers are making lots of plans for the summer and the upcoming school year. As a literacy coach, I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of plans, and in particular, the power of planning ahead for reading and writing. According to psychologists, planning can free up mental space for getting things done. When you have a plan in place, you can focus on taking action.

A To Be Read list is a simple way to set goals and plan for your own reading life. Why not have an equivalent for yourself as a writer?

As you think about the writing you plan to do this summer, you might consider these questions:

  • What writing do you have to do? (For work, for family, other purposes)
  • What writing do you want to do?
  • What genres do you enjoy writing or hope to try?
  • Who will you share your writing with (or not)?
  • Is there a writing challenge that would be a good fit for you (like the Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge here on this blog)

Here’s an example of a template you might use for creating your own To Be Written list.

To print out this template, and for more templates like this (To Be Read, Finished Books, and a blank bookshelf), click here.

Seeing your ideas appear as titles on the spines of books is a visual support for building your identity as a writer. Feel free to use this with your students.

My own To Be Written List includes many things I know I have to write: blog posts and materials for graduate courses I’ll be teaching. But I also have many things I know I want to write, and likely will write: journals for bike riding and traveling. And some are aspirational: My NaNoWriMo novel, and coauthoring a graphic novel with my daughter.

Take a moment to consider your own writing life. What will be on your To Be Written List this summer?

8 thoughts on “A To Be Written List

  1. This would be great to give to pupils in your glasses who love writing; it would generate ideas for their independent pieces. I run an authors club and the children would love this.


  2. This is a fabulous post! Thank you for writing it. I love the power of goal setting. It keeps me positive and moving forward even if I’m physically moving slow. This is great.


  3. I’ve sold a YA fantasy trilogy so I know darn well I’m going to be very busy editing the next two books, plus setting up a huge promotion and marketing platform. Otherwise, I’ve been working on a rewrite for an out-of-print werewolf book that I plan on selling again. I’m stuck halfway through a Middle Grade book, and there’s no hope that I’ll finish that soon–lack of confidence on that one.


  4. I have a list in my mind and have made notes about this in the past, but I like the idea of making a TBW list more formal. I also think this could be a worthwhile task for students.


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