Category Archives: blogging

A to Z, And Beyond

April is over, and with it goes the A to Z blogging challenge in which I have been an enthusiastic participant since early March.  It was then that I learned about it, and then that I began compiling ideas for posts on writing that I could use for the month.  It was fun.  I spent a few days with a dictionary, searching on dictionary.com, and racking my brain trying to find anything that I could use to keep with my theme of writing and post once a day for a new letter.  By the 1st of April, I had all my posts ready to go.  I even had a few extra that I might save for another day, although they will definitely need some tweaking.

I was excited April 1st to have all of my month’s work finished because it would give me the whole month to put together what I was going to do afterward, but admittedly, I got a little lazy those first few weeks.  I reviewed some of the pieces I didn’t like enough to use, and reviewed some of the other ideas I had that didn’t get written, but for the most part I just sat back and watched the reactions to the posts I did use, and replied to readers when they commented.  And as I watched, I saw numbers of views, comments, and followers grow substantially.  I’d like to thank all of my readers for that.

I also spent the month deciding what I really wanted to do with my writing.  I thought about where I was with certain WsIP, and where I wanted them to go.  I read other bloggers’ content and got some ideas here and there, for which I’d like to thank this great community.  And as I read, and wrote, and thought, I realized I was coming up with more and more ideas.  I wrote lists of other things I wanted to write about, and started doing some research for certain pieces that would require it.  I picked up my pen and notebook again, and started new works, and I realized that I can write nonfiction, and that writing nonfiction can be fun.  This challenge has been a blast, but more than that, it has given me a much needed boost of confidence.

So I’d like to give all of you a thank you, from my followers to the brilliant people that came up with this challenge, and let you know that everything to come (and there will be more) is all because of you.  The April A to Z challenge was great fun, but even better, it’s shown me that I’m not done as a writer yet.  As a matter of fact, I’m only just beginning!

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J – Journaling = Brain Cleaning

Historically, I have been terrible at keeping a journal.  When I was a young girl, I used to get diaries and journals all the time – from the cutsie, brightly-colored ones for girls, to blank books from the bookstore once I got a little older and wanted a mature looking journal. I still have some of them scattered around my old room at my parents’ house, and not one was ever filled.  I was terrible at keeping a journal.

And I tried all sorts of different tactics.  For one, I tried thinking of it as writing letters to God, but they weren’t very reverent in nature.  I tried keeping a journal of poetry, but poetry’s not really my medium.  I did share a journal, delivered back and forth between me, as a new freshman at my high school, and a junior that I had gotten to know through my older brother.  It was a nice correspondence, and we nearly filled it up, but like all the others it went by the wayside.  I’ve always been fascinated by people who can be so dedicated as to write every day in a journal.  (I recently saw an interview with Emma Watson, who turns out to be an avid journaler.)

But all that changed with a wonderful little website, 750words.com.  What this site gave me was the motivation I was lacking.  I had never had anything pushing me to write in my journal everyday, but 750words, with its badges, streaks, monthly challenges, and daily email encouragements, has kept the drive going.

Of course, I still have my slip-ups.  I interrupted a 90 day streak a couple of years ago, and have yet to be able to match it.  But no matter the slip-ups, it is the best motivator I could have hoped for.  It allows me to experiment with story ideas, challenge myself with writing exercises, explore my thoughts on philosophical ideology, or just dump out the contents of my brain, so I can focus on my creative side.

If you are not currently using a journal, I highly recommend it.  I know that some bloggers use their blog as their journal, but sometimes, you just need another place to experiment.  You can use 750words.com if you visit and find you like it, but it’s not necessary.  All you need is a blank page, and a writing or typing tool, and the motivation to get out your junk!

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D – Dedication: Write With All Your Heart

Writing, even as a hobby requires an abundance of dedication. It is something that I had severely lacked before getting the motivation to finish my MS early in my starting it. (Motivation is definitely another important component, but we’ll visit that at another time.)

It wasn’t until I decided that I wanted to finish that story that I finally dedicated myself to doing it. And then after I finished it, I lost that dedication to the craft. I stopped writing every day. I stopped taking notes, jotting down ideas, playing with language, and outlining storylines. And what happened? I lost my skills. My typing skills suffered hugely. I’ve forgotten so many ideas that I’ve had over the past two years of not writing. But worst of all, my confidence took a terrible dive. My lack of dedication to writing began to play with my identity of myself as a writer – an identity which was bolstered by the intensity of my work on my MS.

While I know that this floundering happens to all of us at one time or another – whether it’s because of the disappointment of rejection, the stagnation of writer’s block, or lack of confidence as in my case – I have had to make a concerted effort to rededicate myself to my work and regain the confidence I once had. Luckily, the community of bloggers, and especially those of you who take the time to read this, have been a large part of rebuilding my confidence. So thank you for reading. I will remember you in my dedication whenever that first book gets published!

 

 

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A to Z – Challenge Accepted

Some readers may be aware of the A to Z blogging challenge. For those that are not, it was started apparently on a whim in 2010. It grows in participants every year, and is an opportunity for the blogging community to come together and learn of one another’s work.

I decided to participate in this when I heard about it, and have spent the last several weeks compiling topics to share during the month of April. I’m excited to post nearly everyday, starting on April 1, and hope that I will be able to keep up with posting more often once the challenge is over.

Of course, all posts will still be writing related with a couple of challenges thrown in for fun. Topics have been difficult to find for each letter of the alphabet (who knew J would be so hard?), and you may feel that some are reaching a bit. But all in all, I think this month is going to be fun, and hopefully, informative and interesting for my readers.

Thanks as always to any who visit here, and I look forward to reading the work of other A to Z participants!

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