A to Z reflection – lessons learned.

Guys, we made it!! Honestly, when I hit ‘publish’ on the Z post, I felt like I should squirt water onto my face and throw my hands in the air, and do all those things that marathon runners do when they finish (you can tell I’ve never completed a marathon myself.) That said, A to Z was a lot of fun – I met some fab people and read some really cool blogs.

This is my second A to Z, and both have taught me very different lessons. The first A to Z was all about the importance of planning and organisation — I signed up on the 31st of March last year without a theme or any idea of what I was going to write. Needless to say I didn’t repeat the experience this year — that’s just unnecessary stress.

This year’s lesson was on the importance of continuing even if things are less than perfect. I missed a number of letters, and posted late on quite a few days. If this was a car race, I made it over the finish line with my engine holding together with bits of wire and duck tape. I was away for the first two weeks, had a book deadline at the end of week 3, and for the last few days had a friend staying with us. All that meant precious little non writing computer time, and therefore missed / late posts.

I almost didn’t do the challenge, realising that April wasn’t shaping up to be a ‘good’ A to Z month — and I’m the kind of person who likes things to happen just right and on plan. If things aren’t going quite right, I scrap whatever I’m doing and start again ( I love me a fresh start), so half way through the challenge I was sorely tempted to stop and do it again, but better, next year.

As it is, I’m glad I hobbled to the end with my bits of wire and duck tape holding the engine together. If I hadn’t I’d have regretted it, and it was a good lesson in sticking with things even when they are very far from perfect. It reminded me of that famous quote from E.B. White: “a writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.”

This is just as true of bloggers, and especially true of challenges like A to Z. So here’s to all those of you who continued even when you weren’t in the mood or when it was a pain in the arse, or when like me you’d fallen behind on everything.

As I mentioned earlier, the social aspect of A to Z is by far the most fun part of it — meeting other bloggers and discovering new blogs. There’s one person in particular that I really want to give a big shoutout to: Dan Antion from No Facilities. Dan wasn’t even taking part in A to Z and yet he was here every single letter, leaving thoughtful comments and encouragements. It was such a treat to hear from Dan every day – so thank you for all your support , Dan! 🙂

I actually came across Dan’s blog just before A to Z started, and he mentioned something that I hadn’t considered: that A to Z is also a challenge for all blog readers, since all of a sudden there are so many blog posts to read – and choosing to support a blog throughout the challenge is quite an undertaking in itself! So also a huge thank you to those of you who were reading – I know A to Z means an overwhelming number of posts to read, and believe me all of us bloggers absolutely love it when you guys read our posts.

Now – about the blogs that I’ve discovered. If you want to catch up on some A to Z action in May, here are two great websites to start with because they have a wonderfully comprehensive list of some of the great blogs out there (and they cover all the ones I’d planned to share):

The Old Shelter: Sarah’s recap on A to Z is here, but you should go check out her A to Z posts, which were on the roaring twenties. Really interesting stuff, and honestly, this is a woman who’s forgotten more about the twenties than us laymans will ever know. She was also one of the most supportive readers of my blog during A to Z, so a big thank you Sarah, it was so nice to have you cheering me along this month! 🙂

Victim to Charm: Sabina actually hosted an A to Z afterparty which is such a fun idea. People share their most popular posts and recommend their favourite A to Z blog. Lots of good stuff in there. Her A to Z theme was all about college, and it was really fun to revisit college through Sabina’s posts.

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33 thoughts on “A to Z reflection – lessons learned.

  1. Hey, Celine, thanks for the shout out. It was such fun reading your blog, and I’m happy you did it in spite of all the odds against you.

    I think this kind of challenge (like NaNoWriMo, too) are tests for us. They test our dedication and passion, because nobody force us to do it. We can happily not do it. We can give up any moment with no kind of penalty falling on us. There is no coercions whatsoever. You could have give up, why not? You had lots of very good resons to. But still you pushed on, and I think ultimaty this is what makes a writer.

    I hear constatly writers complaining that’s not fair that some writer makes it when they are not as good as the complainers. Well, I think this is the true difference: dedication and motivation. Nobody can give you your motivation, it comes from within. And if we can find any kind of excuses when we see other susseed where we fail, there’s no excuse holding when it comes to challenges like these.

    Thanks for a fantastic experince 🙂

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    • Totally, I totally totally agree with what you’re saying. One of my favourite quotes is from Stephen King: ” talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

      It’s dedication and continuing in the face of adversity that makes a good writer. Guess that means we’ll both make it one day! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the shout out Celine. When I wrote the post about following, we hadn’t connected yet. I added you to the list and I never looked back. It was such fun to follow you though the month.

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    • I know I literally came across your blog as you had written that post and I remember thinking that it had never occurred to me what a challenge A to Z could be for readers. So pleased you had fun really all my A to Zs – hopefully it wasn’t too much of a challenge! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A lovely reflection on how we just need to keep going, even if the moments aren’t perfect. With that schedule the marathon metaphor definitely fits. And I agree, hadn’t thought about it until I read this post, that the A to Z is challenge for the reader, too. It almost seems like one could dedicate the month just blog hopping and stay busy that way. Looking forward to what you will be posting next.

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  4. I loved all your stories, all the way through. You would never know you were struggling to get through them.

    If you’re not living life by the seat of your pants, you’re not really living.

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    • I agree with that statement in theory, but the reality is that I like things to go about neatly as I planned them, in an orderly fashioned, and on time. Oh god I sound so boring!
      But thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed my stories 🙂

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  5. Congratulations, Celine. Like I said, we never know what’s going on behind the scenes, but you carried your challenge with sophisticated ‘stage presence’ and some delectable stories!

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    • Oh gosh there’s nothing to admire since I did such a hash job of it! I’m still amazed that you managed two A to Zs… now that’s a challenge! Next year I’m going to write every single post ahead of time and just focus on networking – will make life a whole lot easier.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, you made it through and learned lots along the way. And the point was to find new blogging friends, so it looks like you succeeded in that way, so congrats.

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  7. Woohoo! I like the squirting-water-on-face image. We could even get a keg of Gatorade, and pour that over you. And then you run through a paper thingamajig with confetti flying… I’ll stop now.

    I’m glad you hobbled to the end. That’s a great quote from E.B White, and very true. Sometimes you’ve just got to pull your socks up and get on with it. You did, and good for you. Congrats on finishing! 😀

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  8. Well done, Celine, with all else you had going. Don’t know how you did it. I love the E.B. White quote, and I think as John Updike said, if you want to be a writer you have to show up. Also, I agree with Sara, we should get a keg of Gatoraide and pour it over you — and the rest of us bloggy-eyed A-Z finalists.

    The site links you posted intrigue me, so I shall visit them. Thanks.

    So glad to have met you. Thanks for coming by and commenting on my blog. I will be back to read your earlier A-Zs, since I came to your site toward the end this year.

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  9. Congrats again on finishing A to Z through everything you had going on! Being prepared with posts written ahead of time is definitely the way to go. I’ve done it both ways now, and it makes such a huge difference with both stress levels and enjoyment of the Challenge. Thanks for the links. I’ll check them out on my Road Trip.

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