Blogging my ABCs: A Look Back

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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.

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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.

Blog on!

Tonette

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#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In & May Writing Goals

April was busy, crazy, hectic, awesome, draining, exhilarating and… over? 😦

Got some pretty badges for my efforts:

Camp-NaNoWriMo-2013-Winner-Lantern-Square-ButtonI ended Camp NaNoWriMo with 75,416 words. I had my ups and downs but writing sprints were super helpful. I also met fellow writers online. We supported each other through the sprints and gave moral support during times of brainstorming and times of utter frustration at getting those word counts! What’s great is that these writerly connections will continue on to future NaNos and other challenges in between. We’ll be beta-reading for each other, and maintain accountability for our goals throughout the year. I think that’s an even better prize than exceeding my word count targets. Mind you, I have many words to go in my Camp Nano fairytale mashup, but I’m excited at the prospect of worldbuilding and writing something outside my usual fare. I’m taking workshops to help write something this grand and hope that by the next Camp NaNo, I’ll have this story polished and will be ready to tuck in to Book Two in the series.

I also exceeded my word count targets for my Savvy Author April Boot Camp. I ended up with 75,145 words. I have more to go on this story, as well, and I can see heavy revisions for both in the near future. The Savvy Authors website is going under a revamp, so I’m not worried that we don’t have badges yet. I’m actually excited to see the new site that will be up soon. This story was also out of my usual genre, so I’m proud that I tried new writing projects in April.

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A through Z. Done. That was an interesting challenge. I started off ahead of the game but ran into some RL issues that kept me from hopping as much as I’d have liked. The blog topics themselves were interesting to brainstorm. As this is my first attempt at a blog, I think I got off to a great start. We’re asked to write a Blogging A to Z Challenge Reflections Post. Since today is a check-in for a pre-existing challenge and I have the next several Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays devoted to challenges, as well, I think I’ll do a special Reflections Post this Friday. I read that there is also an upcoming A to Z Road Trip Challenge. I’ll keep my eye out for something new like that. It’s a great way to use the alphabet as writing prompts and has helped me work on creative non-fiction. I’d say that’s an added bonus from this blogging challenge experience.

And now today, the first day of a new month of writing opportunities. Let’s have a run-down on what’s ahead for me:

1) Round of Words in 80 Days – Each Wednesday and Sunday I’ll be checking in to make sure I’m on track with my writing goals. Aside from the 100 Pages Challenge I’ll continue throughout the month with a focus on the fairytale mashup. If I can write more of the contemporary fic draft, I’ll do that, too. Camp may be over but the writing continues.

2) 100 Pages in 7 Days Challenge – 25,000 words from May 1st to May 7th. Today I wrote 3,872 words. If we count the standard 250 words to a page, that comes out to 15.488 pages. Just for fun, I’m going to round down and say I got 15/100 pages today.

3) Work on the blog. Blog at least twice a week. With these new challenges, I’ll be blogging at least three times a week. I might hold off on the aesthetics of the blog (i.e. web hosting, theme upgrade, etc.) and just work on building more content.

4) Read. READ MANY BOOKS with a focus this month on MG Lit. I had the good fortune of participating in March Madness, two years running. The hashtag and support continues throughout the year under #wipmadness. Last month, Ghost Girl (a.k.a. Mary Ann) hosted the weekly check-ins every Monday. After daily check-ins during March, I felt less pressure but just as much accountability, so it was a good thing.  This month, Deb Marshall is hosting and she also has a reading challenge for Middle Grade books. This is perfect to keep me motivated as I catch up on my reading. I’ll be posting and tweeting about that using #middlegrademay and it should be exciting. I miss reading fiction. I’ve been focused on writing reference and it would be good to dive back into the fictional world again.

So, this is me. May 1st, 2013. A lil’ bit o’ this. A lotta that. Writing, reading, and loving every minute of it. What’s your plan this month?

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A to Z Challenge 2013 – Z is for…

~ ZE FRANK ~

I can’t believe we’ve reached the end of the alphabetic blogging challenge already. April blew by so fast, though I tell ya, my digits can feel every last typed letter. Sometimes, handwritten. Also, there may have been tears. More like weeping, but I digress.

Not only did I blog all of April, I wrote the better part of two novels, as well. I say better part because the stories are taking me on a ride that it will be some time before I type the words THE END on either of them. Good news, though, I met my writing goals for the month. That alone is an accomplishment to be proud of.

What does this have to do with Ze Frank, you ask? Or maybe you didn’t. Maybe you just thought, way to finish the alphabet, Tonette. There is a link between Ze Frank, the man, the end of this blogging challenge, and my writing journey.

First of all, I love his vlogs and everything he’s got going on his site. I’m a fan of his infotaining TED Talks. The vid I’d like to share with you today is important. Don’t be fooled by the title. I didn’t have some of the crazy kool-aid. And I’m not trying to be ironic.

Here, why don’t you watch it before I explain further. In case you haven’t already seen this piece of awesomeness, please know that there is strong language ahead. Viewer/listener discretion is advised… but it’s so worth it.

This is the end of my April Challenges, yet I feel like I’m just getting started. Ze Frank’s Invocation for Beginnings helps bring everything full circle. I challenged myself to be more awesome. I took on a write-a-palooza that would make a normal person wince. However, in my quest for awesomeness, I have determined that normal isn’t in the cards for me or anyone who chooses the path of creativity.

Thirty days later, I’m excited, exhausted, happy, humbled, and hungry for more. More punishment? The delicious masochism of my writing journey keeps me on my toes. I don’t want to place unrealistic goals on myself but I want to stretch the limits of my abilities and my wild imaginings. If the only person holding me back is me and I have the power over what comes next, then the only way is forward.

To be or not to be.

I choose to be.

I am the captain of my fate, the master of my soul.

But I have miles to go before I sleep and with every step taken, I rage against the dying of the light.

This isn’t the end but only the beginning. A new challenge or opportunity, the start of the next stage in my writing journey. What’s next for me? Tomorrow is the Mid-Week Check-In for Round of Words in 80 Days. New month, some new goals, some continuous, all in forward motion.

Thanks for joining me this month. I hope to see you next month and beyond.

There is so much to do, so much to write, and I can’t wait.

=8=

Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter

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A to Z Challenge 2013 – Y is for…

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Once upon a time, there was sliced bread. Then the internet came. And it became the best thing since, well, you know. Out of the binary woodwork, more newfangled–and billion dollar grossing–bits of ingenuity have made their way into our lives via the magical interweb. Remember ICQ? Friendster? Then MySpace took center stage. Facebook brought global communication to a whole new level. I have mad love for Twitter (in 140 characters or less), but something has to be said for the global reach and appeal of this lil’ guy named YouTube.

You can watch your favorite shows, vlogs, and other visually appealing, if not sometimes scandalous material, on YouTube. A creative renaissance has emerged through this medium and we find web series, instructional videos, book trailers, and musical acts that make a big impact on an international level. How many now celebs were first discovered from a video uploaded to YouTube?

In honor of this amazing hub that unites us all in some way (through laughter, tears, and Harlem Shaking), I would like to provide a selection of many great videos for your perusal curated from their archives. I could devote an entire year of blogging to YouTube and I’d still have too many to choose from.

Sit back and enjoy. (Well, after you hit ‘play’, and all that. You know the drill.)

Let’s not forget amazing additions to our lexicon: You know something good–or really bad–has happened when you hear the words ‘YouTube Sensation’ and/or ‘gone viral’. And let’s not forget the love/hate relationship we have with the glam of autotune. Mature themes and language ahead. Viewer/listener discretion is advised.

The original vid can be found here, but you quickly learn that the autotune version is far more entertaining.

Last, but certainly not the least:

Here’s the original. I must admit, it was also, erm, enlightening.

I have at least a dozen–or three–more I can think of right now, but the bandwidth police might wig out. Do you have any youtube favorites? Or do you have any that you believe have used up their fifteen minutes (or however long their vid is) of fame?

Yes, I left out a video by a certain Korean popstar that has the record for most views.

And yes… I know the dance moves to Gangnam Style. I am not ashamed.

YouTube, hit the music!

[Tonette exits stage left.]

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Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter

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Week in Review – 2013/04/22 – 2013/04/28

Two days left in the month of writetasticness.

Updated stats. The deets of my original goals can be found here and here.

Camp NaNoWriMo April, 2013 – Current word count, not including Sunday’s totals = 67,474 (I wrote 14,154 words this week.)

Savvy Authors April Boot Camp – Current word count not including Sunday’s totals = 65,876 (I wrote 14,919 words this week.)

Blogging A to Z Challenge – A through X posted

Round of Words in 80 Days – Four Mid-Week Check-Ins and Four Sunday Check-Ins (including today)

Holy carpal tunnel, Batman!

Very pleased with my word counts but I’ve found so much story in the twists and turns this month that the stories are nowhere near over. Originally, I was going to alternate NaNo months with revisions, but I’ll continue with these stories while they’re fresh in my noggin.

GOALS FOR MAY & BEYOND:

1) Round of Words in 80 Days – This challenge, as the name suggests, has 50 more days to go. I’m glad that I’ll have check-ins twice a week to keep me on track.

2) 100 Pages in 7 Days Challenge – 25,000 words in a week? Pfft. Hi, May. Have you met April? 😉 Challenge accepted and continued.

3) Work on the blog. Blog at least twice a week. Also, I’ll be looking into web hosting and switching to wordpress.org down the road.

4) Read. READ MANY BOOKS. My TBR pile is ridiculous. Also, I’m reviewing some books through goodreads and might add a review series on the blog.

5) Summer Novel Writing Challenge – June 21st to September 21st. I’ll brainstorm what stories I want to develop for the upcoming challenges.

I’ll add more goals as they come, but I think I have a fair amount to work with in the coming weeks. Thanks to everyone who’s joined me. Your encouragement and inspiration fuels my creativity.

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