When I first started my blog just over a month ago, it was with the intent to chronicle a zany idea I had of writing two novels at once during April. I had the option of writing just one story for both challenges, but I upped the ante. In the last days of March, I was pleasantly surprised to see people commenting and following my lil’ blog. I decided to check out some of these blogs and I happened upon a blogging challenge that was just days away. The countdown for the sign-up egged me on. “You’re going to blog anyway for the novel challenges, might as well blog through the alphabet, too.” With a Kanye shrug, I decided to give it a whirl. I mean, what did I have to lose except sleep, meals, a little bit of my sanity, and a lot of the feeling in my fingers.
April was filled with writing, blogging, and tweeting all things writerly. The Blogging A to Z Challenge gave me a chance to dive into the blogosphere with that ‘learn-as-you-go’ appeal. By day one, I had the themes picked out for 40% of the alphabet and had already pre-written three posts. Out of the gate, I was on fire and the excitement of people liking what I had to say pushed me forward on this writing spree.
I took to heart the tips on blogging etiquette and wanted to get posts out as early as possible so that fellow-bloggers in different timezones would have a chance to read them. I could have set up the schedule posts and gone to bed, but I also wanted to tweet the announcement of the post as well as post a FB message on my writer page. That meant I’d stay up late for these tasks. At least I had the good sense to switch from 5am postings to just after midnight.
However, that extra step only worked for so long due to long days of writing (in back to back sprints) along with the highs and lows that happened outside of my writing life. The last handful of posts were done closer to the wrong midnight, but I managed to get them uploaded before I turned into a pumpkin.
I learned a few things about myself as a writer and as a neophyte in the blogging world.
1) The first and most important thing is to respect myself as a person. I was unkind to myself as I spent hours on end writing for novels or for the blog. I’d forget to eat and type well into the carpal tunnel danger zone, to the point that my hands and wrists would tingle and go numb with pain shooting up my arm. As much as I’d love to say that a writer is who I am, I learned to accept the fact that writing is what I choose to do. Writing is my passion but it is not what defines me. Who I am is still a mere mortal who needs to eat and sleep like the rest of the world. And if it comes down to me having to choose between writing and taking care of my family, like it did here, family wins, every time.
2) If I allow my imagination to run free as I write, I can pleasantly surprise myself with the results. This was made possible by twenty-six writing prompts. More specifically, twenty-six letters that compelled me to brainstorm further what I wanted to write about. On several occasions, what I originally planned on writing morphed into something better in the drafting stage. It was nice to have a loose structure to work from with enough leeway to get creative–which, I imagine, was the point. I learned to not take myself too seriously (it has adverse effects in writing) and still remained committed to completing the challenge.
3) Although writing is a solitary act, there is a great writing community full of support. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are other like-minded people in the world willing to write until their hands fall off because they’re so passionate about what they do. Taking part in the blog hop allowed me a glimpse into the lives of fellow artists. I was both humbled and inspired by everyone’s creativity.
I’m getting the hang of this blogging thing and I look forward to the next alphabetical blogging challenge <– see what I did there?
Thank you for keeping me entertained while nurturing my writing muse. It truly was an amazing ride.