Why I Joined the A to Z Challenge

May 1, 2014 at 11:38 am | Posted in Family History, Mental Health, Writing, Writing and Life | 27 Comments
Tags: , , , ,

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014]


A-to-Z Reflection [2014]


My friend had been blogging almost daily for three months – and she works at a demanding job. I am retired and had written little during that same three months.

Then she said she was going to do the April 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge, which involves writing and posting a blog entry on twenty-six days through April, with Sundays free. Each entry was to be based on consecutive letters of the alphabet.

The challenge was to begin the next day, and I wondered how she would do it, after having already done three months of daily blogging. Then I felt really guilty that, in spite of my professing that I want and need to write, I had been procrastinating about my novel and my blogging for ages. Instead of wishing I had time to write, I should have been sitting down regularly, if not every day, and making the time. But I lacked the self-discipline needed to do it – I thought.

Procrastination-thief of time


Faced with my friend’s dedication and wanting to do something about my own laziness, I impulsively decided to join in the A to Z Challenge. It would be a good way to develop a writing routine.

Do it now

It was the evening of the day before it began, so I had a few hours to come up with the first entry. I did it easily, and posted ‘A is for Alphabet’ the following evening. Then I wrote ‘B is for Butcher and Bicycle’ and posted it on the second day. As I like to add pictures to my post, it can take some time to complete each one, but I got it up before lunch on the second day.

I also decided I needed to plan what I should write for each letter before it came up. When I began, I wasn’t going to write to a theme, but after I’d written my third post, ‘C is for Challenge’, and begun ‘D is for Depression’, I realised that a strong theme had developed on its own. I was writing family stories.

tell me abouth the past

During April, there were several family affairs to attend, all involving being away from home for several days at a time. I had to write my blog posts ahead, so that I could just publish them from my husband’s tablet as they fell due.

Writing to a deadline was good for me, and it still is. I have just published my last post of the challenge, ‘Z is for Zed and Zee”, and I have easily managed to write them and get them onto my blog on the correct day.

What has the A to Z Challenge done for me?

  • It has shown me that I can develop a habit of writing regularly;
  • It has shown that I write well to a deadline – which is a good thing only if I create deadlines to work to.

I already know that I can work under pressure. I did it when I was writing university assignments; when, as a school principal, I had to create and write the school handover books; write submissions for funding and follow-up reports; and any number of other written tasks.


What I really need is get on with my next Young Adult novel, Thursday’s Child.  I am two-thirds through the first draft, but it has only been staggering along for the last six months. There is a difference between writing reports and assignments and writing creative pieces, and I often find it difficult to get into the right frame of mind to work on the creative.

However, now that I have established a writing practice, I must use that to get back to my novel. Instead of allowing myself to be distracted by other tasks and by social media, I must just get my backside in my chair and WRITE! That’s the only way to break the dam that has been holding back the flow of creativity. In January, I did set June as the goal to finish my first draft – so, I have a deadline to meet. That’s my new challenge.


A-Z survivor [2014]

Thanks to the A to Z Challenge for getting me this far! It is a big step. Now I will take the next one.


Did you join the A to Z Challenge? How did you go?


(c) Linda Visman 01.05.14  (690 words)



RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. I’m so thankful that I joined the A-Z Challenge! Because of it, I met many wonderful fellow bloggers, like you! As you said, it was quite a struggle to post almost daily and still keep up with the other responsibilities in our lives (guess that’s why they call it a “challenge”.)
    Like you, I struggled with balancing social media, posting on my blog, and writing my book. I was able to give a little bit of attention to my children’s book, but NONE to my novel (going to refocus on that beginning tomorrow) and very little to my other blog.
    All-in-all, it’s been a wonderful experience and has taught me a thing or two about time management. 🙂
    Good luck on meeting your June deadline for your novel! I can’t wait to hear more about that!
    Bless you,
    Shawny Lou

    • Thank you for your lovely comment, Shawny Lou.
      Isn’t it wonderful to meet such a challenge – to gain that sense of satisfaction, and to learn something from it too? 🙂
      I hope you do well getting going with the novel too – let’s make it a challenge to ourselves? It seems that, in spite of things, we do both respond well to a challenge and a deadline. 🙂
      All the very best, Linda

  2. I so admire you for following that discipline, Linda. Wonderful focus and beautifully written. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it all. Wish you well with your novel. 🙂

  3. You identified many of my problems with writing. However I have not overcome them yet. However my blog has helped me get started and plan out my writing. Best of luck with your writing.

    • I hope that you can get into a writing routine – it really makes a difference to how much you can achieve. 🙂
      Thank you for visiting!

  4. The end of April brings it up to 6 months posting every day, bar 5. So pleased you rolled up your sleeves, found your Muse and was so purposeful through the month. Your posts have been a joy to read and evoke memories for me too of similar times. They say it takes three weeks to forge a new habit which means you are well on your way now. Looking forward to hearing how you’re going with your novel.

  5. Congratulations on such an extended commitment, Linda! You have been a real inspiration.
    When I completed the challenge, I felt a buzz then, almost immediately, a letdown and a loss of direction. However, I am over that and on the road to getting my book done. The habit has been established and I won’t let it lapse.
    Thanks again for your support along the way. 🙂

  6. Congrats on getting through the challenge! I also joined right before it began and next year I’ll do a bit of pre-planning, to make things run smoother lol 🙂

    • Good on you finley Jane. 🙂 I will be doing next year’s as well – also with a bit of pre-planning.

  7. Its been a great challenge and I’m glad you found purpose within the A to Z Blog Challenge. See you next year!

  8. Congrats on finishing the challenge! I work better with deadlines as well. Good luck to you on your book!
    Visual Proof

  9. I’m trying to figure out how to make a challenge for myself to give an over all direction to my blogging for an extended time, like another month! It went so well this challenge.

    • I am trying to do the same, Kristin. I think I will try to do what Arlee Bird did in one of his blogs, and write memories associated with particular songs or music. Though the main thing I need to do is get back into my novel.
      Thanks for calling in and commenting. 🙂

      • Exrelmety helpful article, please write more.

  10. Congratulations on completing the Challenge, Linda, and on jumping aboard at the last minute! Thanks very much for visiting and commenting on my blog, too. I was interested in what you said about realizing that you were telling family stories; that’s how my blog started, and they’re still at the core of it. You talk about procrastinating, but it sounds to me as if you’re incredibly productive, working on your second novel on top of all your other accomplishments. All the best with completing your draft.

    • Many thanks Josna. I can be productive when I am self-disciplined enough! 🙂
      I have enjoyed your stories and will be back for more.

  11. Popping in as I peruse the A-to-Z reflections here— Congratulations on finishing the challenge! Like you stated, I almost find it easier when I have a deadline to write to– guess I am a procrastinator at heart!
    Mary visiting from The View from my World

  12. Hi Linda – it was good to meet you during the challenge – even if you’d only j-u-s-t! decided to do it .. and fun selections you chose that were appropriate to you … I need to be back to re-read them .. but glad we tied up .. cheers Hilary

    • Hi Hilary, Same here about meeting. It was a great way to get in touch with other writers.
      I too will be back to read more of your posts.
      All the very best to you. 🙂

  13. I’m so happy for you! That’s what the Challenge did for me too. It showed me that I could keep my butt firmly planted in my chair when I wanted to. Not just for Blogger but for my WIP. Speaking of which…..

    Best of luck to you 🙂


    • That is so good that you have had that impetus to work on your WIP as well as the blog. I am just getting back to my WIP.
      Thanks for your visit and good wishes, and best wishes to you on yours. 🙂

  14. Well done for completing the challenge.

    This year I was a bit of a last minute entry, although I had taken part in it last year. Like you, I work well to a deadline. One thing I’ve found that helped me with my blogging is aiming to post certain posts on certain days or dates, like book review posts on a Tuesday, so it’s giving me a deadline of my own.

    Good luck with your future writing and blogging. 🙂

    • Thanks for calling in and commenting. 🙂
      Deadlines can certainly be good motivators to get writing! It’s a good idea to have certain genres of posts for different days of the week, and that would certainly impose deadlines.
      All the best with your writing too and for the future. 🙂

  15. Congratulations of completing what you set out to do! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.


Our species is evolving. But will we ever be smarter than crows?

Helen Armstrong - writing on the move

I write when I travel but not always about travelling. It doesn't have to be a quiet corner...

Rosella Room

Socio-cultural comment on a range of issues, including literature, music and mental health


Exploring the Past to Improve the Future

Foxgloves and Bumblebees

A Nature Journal

L.T. Garvin

Eclectic blog: short fiction, poetry, humor, occasional dreams and wild book schemes.

Echidna Tracks

Australian Haiku


art. popular since 10,000 BC

Word Craft ~ Prose and Poetry

Colleen M. Chesebro ~ Novelist, Prose Metrist, & Word Witch


Thel's Sketchings: Art, Photography, Musings & Short Stories

Learn Fun Facts

An Archive of Curious Facts for the Curious


A blog about writing and reading


Life in a flash - a weekly writing blog

Half Baked In Paradise

Searching, settling, sauteeing and spritzing

The Curry Apple Orchard

A blog designed to remember the past and celebrate the present.


A site for the Barsetshire Diaries Books and others

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

%d bloggers like this: