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
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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.

ThursdayChild

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)

 

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