I recently completed the A to Z challenge to blog through the alphabet with daily posts in April. I was interested in the challenge because I had just started a blog (again) and thought the challenge might inspire me to get into the habit of blogging. I wanted some ideas for writing… and I liked the idea of having encouragement along the way.
I started the challenge with a bit of a plan. I had certain things I wanted to write about. Then I kept getting inspirations that demanded to be written instead. (Or, to be honest, some days I took the easier way out instead of struggling to write on an important but difficult topic). So… you’ll have to wait for my musings on community, grammar, systems, trust, womanhood. And that is okay. One of the lessons I need to learn in life is how to just go with the flow… trust… not feel I have to plan everything out. This challenge was part of that.
I found during the challenge (as I find anytime that I am writing for a longer period of time) that I was writing more about myself… truly my self… which is not what people who meet me initially see. Not because I hide it… but because it isn’t readily seen, and my day-to-day life doesn’t tend to lend itself to sharing much beyond the superficial. I spent much of the challenge thinking that my blogging is largely self-centered… but, amazingly, people would comment who felt the same way as I did about various issues.
Along the way, I met some amazing bloggers. Our little group of assorted bloggers grew into a community. I learned more about the few bloggers I had known before the challenge, and met many more bloggers I would never have met without this challenge. I enjoyed visiting others blogs… though keeping up with visiting and commenting was the toughest part of the challenge at times. I figured out a few ways to help me keep track of everyone along the way (FriendConnect through my blogger account… and WordPress has a similar option to follow WordPress blogs, though they unfortunately aren’t compatible with FriendConnect!)
I never thought of quitting the challenge. I have a perfectionistic and a stubborn streak that does not let me quit challenges (even some I probably should have in life). However, there were times along the way that the only reason I made the effort to blog that day was knowing that others were looking for a post from me. I needed that accountability. I learned along the way just how it important it is for me to make time to blog/write.
I am starting… a little… to think of myself as a writer again. I love the thought of being able to keep company with the many fledgling, experienced, and professional writers I have met through this blog. I hope that having readers and knowing that I can help others through my writing (even if just to know they are not alone in day-to-day struggles) will keep me motivated to keep sharing my musings. And I hope that sharing will spill over more into the non-blogosphere world.
I learned more than I am sharing here… today, I’m dealing with brain fog from trying to fend off a sinus headache, preoccupied with thoughts of Nashville flooding (lots of friends and family there, and while everyone is safe there is much to be done), and trying to get motivated to prepare for out-of-town guests later this week (in other words, clean!). I’m sure that more will come out along the way of what I’ve learned from this challenge!
Thanks so much to Arlee for starting the challenge and to the other bloggers who encouraged and inspired me along the way! You can read more of their reflections on the A to Z challenge by clicking the links below or visiting Arlee’s blog!