Thursday, May 2, 2013

2013 A TO Z REFLECTIONS

 
Thanks to Arlee, Nicole, Damyanti, Alex, Tina, DL, Jeremy, Shannon, Matthew, Livia, Konstanz, Stephen and L. Diane for hosting this crazy adventure!  We are all indebted to you!

What did I get out of participating?  What I got out of this was not actually what it was designed to do.  This challenge is, at its heart, a blog hop.  You meet other writers, connect with them by commenting, following, tweeting and liking and hope that they will return the favor (which they will because they're all awesome people).  Many writers will stock pile their posts ahead of time so that the little free time we're all left with after the daily stresses of life can be spent reading and commenting rather than having to worry about your next post.  This is a brilliant idea.  But it's not what I did.

I started writing my posts on March 31st by writing one- the first one- and then went to bed.  Then that Monday I wrote another.  Then Tuesday another.  And so on, and so on.  In a very short span of days I became aware of the rather miraculous phenomenon taking place: I was writing every day.  Every day I'd think of a story, I'd search for pictures to go with it, and I'd post.  One day at a time, one post at a time.

Great writers, smart writers, writers far more successful than I are sort-of confused when I talk about writing everyday as a 'miraculous phenomenon' because to them, writing is like breathing- they can't not do it.  This is largely why they're so great, smart and successful, of course.  But I'm not in that league yet and for many, many years this practice has eluded me.  This challenge got me into the practice and it has changed me as a writer.

Don't get me wrong, I've done NaNoWriMo four years running and for four years I've managed to write everyday for a month.  But, of course, when the month ended so did the writing.  And I'd go back to doing what I always did- criticizing myself right out of the story I wanted to write.

This challenge got me not only writing everyday but POSTING everyday.  Rather than having my words sit in a word document collecting virtual dust they're out there for the world to see.  That's a whole new ball game and it altered me more than anything else I've yet experienced as a writer.  It changed me.  Hopefully for the better.  Time (and all of you) will tell.

The Best Part  Where this challenge does its best is exactly where its aimed: building connections.  The number of new writers I've met, the amazing voices I've been exposed to in reading their posts, the feedback I've gotten and the followers I've gained is nothing short of awe inspiring.  Especially for me, a writer who's been posting for years on a blog that no one outside of my dear friend John ever read.  (Seriously- go back and scan through my old posts.  There are NO comments.)  In the course of a month my list of followers has grown by... oh, about 40.  And all of them are great writers.  And all of them are obscenely nice.  Yeah- awe inspiring.

The Worst Part  The flip side of that coin, of course, is how many other writers I didn't get to connect with, and how many blogs I missed commenting on.  I have a serious guilt complex about that.  More than a thousand people?  That's a a mighty sizable amount of guilt.

Now, you'll want to point out that if I had stock piled my posts ahead of time it wouldn't have been so overwhelming.  And of course you're right.  So I'm not blaming the challenge for this, and I don't think there's anything that could have been done differently to fix it.  Time management, as always.

A blogging buddy of mine pointed out that the list of bloggers isn't going anywhere (I don't think?) so I can keep visiting and keep connecting even though April's over.  And I fully intend to cause that really is the best part.

Again?  Hell, yeah!  I've already picked my theme for next year and I have an idea for the year after that!  This was such an amazingly rewarding experience I wouldn't dream of missing it again.  I only wish I'd discovered it sooner.

A giant thanks to everyone who read, commented, followed, connected and blew me away with their kindness this month!  You guys rock my socks right on off!

And to those of you I missed- I quote Liam Neeson when I say "I will look for you.  I will find you.  And I will comment on your awesome posts."  Wait... I think I misquoted that...

Now hop along fellow bloggers, and keep the love going!

15 comments:

  1. Congrats on finishing! Now, get some rest :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's great that you've been writing every day. That's how you polish your writing skills. I've noticed that when I write every day, it comes more easily to me than if it does if I stop for awhile.

    And yes, the list should be up until A-Z sign ups start for 2014, which should be around the end of January. At least that's the way it worked for the 2012 list. Thanks for linking to my blog, by the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! I did it cause you're awesome!

      Delete
  3. This was my fourth and like you have to be organised. I too wrote mine before going to bed so with time zones there was someone reading whilst I was asleep.
    Well done on your achievement.
    Yvonne.
    A TO Z AMBASSADOR.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm in the same boat as you...writing and posting daily without leaving myself time to visit other blogs. So this month I'm playing catch-up, and checking out some of the awesome A to Z posts I missed reading in April. Looking forward to browsing through your archives, and hoping to take a page from your book and pre-plan next year's challenge!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yep ... close to my experience. I blogged a few days ahead - I like writing everyday and I'm in revision on a novel right now so taking a creative break was great.
    Jan Morrison

    ReplyDelete
  6. However we do the challenge it is a great achievement to see it through. Congratulations on finishing the challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congrats on finishing the Challenge!! I'm glad you had such a positive experience. It gets even better now that you have your first year accomplished! This was my third year but the first time I chose a theme (featuring an author each day). It was much easier planning and writing my posts ahead of time with a theme. I'm already thinking about what my theme should be next year!!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

    ReplyDelete
  8. I like being pushed to write every day outside of what I'm already writing. Awesome.

    Congrats on finishing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Lists are staying up all year so you'll have plenty of time to connect with the other bloggers. Like you I was basically writing as I went (not my plan) and I was quite a charge of writing energy. There are pluses to be found no matter which way you go.

    Thanks for joining us in the 2013 Challenge!

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great reflection post. I'm like you I'm still commenting. I have until next April! I can do it!!!

    Connie
    Peanut Butter and Whine

    ReplyDelete
  11. I haven't yet picked out a theme THAT far in advance ;) Sometimes I've been known to decide 6 months in advance what I'll be working on during NaNo, but that's about as far as I go with pre-planning. ;)

    Nice to meet you through the A to Z (though I'm fairly sure I only met you on this post, not the rest of the A to Z - you're right, it was a huuuge list!).

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Beverly,

    I think, besides a few of my personal blogging pals, you’re the first “winger” I’ve come across and I just want to say… YAY!

    I wing it (write daily) for exactly the reason you state - it gets me writing daily. Which, truth be told, I do anyway - so this is an added bit of writing that really does help me with my “other” writing.

    It will change you - guaranteed - for the better.

    I did my first challenge in 2011, signing up at the 12th hour (April 1st) and winged it… I had, without a doubt, some of my best posts. I loved it.

    Then, in 2012, I had the pleasure of co-hosting and was obliged to have posts ready well in advance. (collecting that virtual dust you speak of) I really enjoyed my role as co-host but did not enjoy my posting experience near as much as when I winged it.

    So… this year, I winged it again - had the best time ever!

    Now, regarding “the list” you can always copy and paste it in a word document (my trick) and visit at your leisure. I keep my copy on my desktop and as the mood moves me I pop by and say my hellos.

    This year, due to serious time constraints, I am starting my visiting (in earnest) with the Reflections list. It’s smaller and doable! :) Okay, call me lazy - but time is time…

    Have fun with your connections and with your writing.

    Cheers, Jenny @ PEARSON REPORT

    ReplyDelete
  13. Haha, witty post. I'm glad you found the experience so positive, and that you got some followers. I hope your progress on writing daily continues!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment! I will love it and hug it and pet it and call it George. Or, you know, just read and reply to it. But still- you rock!