Reflections on A to Z

A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge for the first time this year and I can proudly say I completed the challenge! Shhh! We won’t mention those few posts that were a day or two late.

The challenge started in 2010 and is open to anyone who wants to take part. All you need to do is post about literally any topic in alphabetical order during the month of April with Sundays off for good behavior. Okay, maybe that’s not all you need. If you failed to pre-schedule all 26 posts as I did, you should toss in mega doses of caffeine for the sleep deprivation you’ll suffer from trying to compose a post worthy of the challenge and visiting the blogs of all 2,000 plus participants. Whew! It was challenging indeed.

The good team at A to Z knew we’d need some time to recuperate so they didn’t schedule the reflection posts until the week of May 5th. I think I’m still recuperating, though. I can’t seem to compose an intelligible thought and the deadline for posting is almost here.

First, let’s talk about what I didn’t like or what didn’t work for me. These issues are no fault of the hosts. I only mention them in the hopes that others might share possible solutions. Here they are (it’s actually quite boring so feel free to skip this part):

  • I can no longer access my blog through Internet Explorer. One day {poof!} my login just stopped working. I contacted WP Support and after trying several possible fixes was told to use Firefox.
  • In the past, I had WP notify me of blog posts via e-mail, but clicking on the link in the e-mail directed me to IE. Since I can’t login to WP via IE, I can’t comment directly from the e-mail. I had to click on the link which would open IE and then copy the blog’s URL into Firefox and comment from there. Pain in the arse! I tried to change the default browser to Firefox to resolve the issue, but couldn’t get it to work.
  • Due to the issues above, the easiest way to read posts of another A to Z’r was via the WP reader and it didn’t seem like all participants tagged their posts with A to Z, so I know I still have a lot of catching up to do. I’ll be revisiting the sign-up lists over the coming weeks to see which ones I missed.
  • The disconnect between blogging platforms (e.g., Blogger vs. WordPress) is annoying, but this has already been mentioned by several other participants so I won’t belabor the point here.

Skipped it, didn’t ya? I don’t blame you, considering the glowing introduction I gave it. So, on to the good stuff!

Overall, I enjoyed participating in the A to Z Challenge and will definitely participate next year. It’s good to step away from the routine (in my case, the novel) and write about something different. It’s even better when you know you must publish something even when you’re not feeling inspired. It forces you to sit down and get to work. Before you know it, inspiration hits.

Participating in a challenge like A to Z gives us the opportunity to visit blogs we may not come across otherwise. I mean, there’s only like 152 million blogs on the internet. Over forty million posts are published every month on WordPress alone! I’m not kidding. Click here to check the stats. See that blinking light in central Texas? That’s me! Okay, most likely not, but we can pretend I’m a prolific blogger.

The most beneficial aspect of the challenge is the connections you make. There is so much wisdom to be gained from visiting other blogs. You get to view life from a different perspective. It’s something I’ve been blogging about lately: feeding the muse. Here are just a few of the things that I did during my A to Z journey. I:

• Searched for truth
• Re-imagined beauty
• Learned how to meditate
• Acquired new writing tips
• Explored beautiful and exotic gardens
• Marveled at wisdom on aging gracefully
• Uncovered new ways to release my creativity
• Read about other writer’s novels, published and unpublished
• Encountered some amazing writers with wonderfully unique voices
• Discovered faraway places that have cool things like Green Dragon pubs
• Reminisced about favorite characters, authors, quotes, movies, books, poems, and more.

I expanded my mind. I fed the muse. I made new friends.

Thank you to the A to Z team for hosting an event that allowed me to connect with so many brilliant bloggers. To see what other A to Z participants blogged about, please click here to link to their blogs.


Team Sidious?

Several months ago, I wrote a post titled Feed the Muse: Get in the Game where I discussed the important lessons I learned from reading Ray Bradbury’s book Zen in the Art of Writing.   To feed the muse, he prescribes  a diet of reading (poems, short stories, essays, novels, anything really) and watching plays, movies, and TV shows.

He also stresses the importance of stepping away from your keyboard and living your life. Bradbury says, “by living well, by observing as you live, by reading well and observing as you read, you have fed Your Most Original Self.”

So go ahead. Write about everyday moments like conversations with your kids. Write about memories from your childhood. Write about the things you’ve observed: the eccentric old woman at the coffee shop, the beggar on the street, the loudmouth at your son’s baseball game, and on and on. It will help you find your voice, or at least preserve a memory.

I feed the muse by posting under the following categories:

  • Book Reviews
  • Conversations with My Kids
  • Feed the Muse (obviously)
  • Inspiration
  • Memories
  • Musical Monday
  • Poetry
  • Quote of the Week

I wanted to do something fun for Friday so here is one for Conversations with My Kids:

The following conversation occurred at the dinner table while my husband, son and I were discussing his baseball tournament for the coming weekend.

Son: What team do we play first?

Hubby [looking at the tournament schedule on his phone]: Team Citius.

Me [looks across table]: Sidious? That’s a strange name. What are they? Star Wars fans?

They stare at me blankly.

Me: What? You know…Darth Sidious.

Son: I think it’s Latin for something, but I think you mean Darth Vader.

Me: Oh. Well anyway, I did mean to say Darth Sidious.

They stare at me wordlessly again.

Me: C’mon. Don’t tell me I know more about Star Wars than you two. He was Chancellor Palpatine before he revealed his dark side.

Son: Oh! The freaky-looking old dude?

Me: Yeah.

Hubby [shaking his head]: Momma should be on The Big Bang Theory.

Well, if I’d seen how it was spelled I wouldn’t have mistaken the team for Star Wars fanatics and imagined them in Storm Trooper uniforms.

What? It’s not a crazy idea. I just Googled “Star Wars baseball” and found this:


Heh. Heh. Oh, and it turns out my son was right. Citius is Latin for “faster.” Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) is the Olympic motto.

Also, I apparently need to watch The Big Bang Theory, since those are my peeps. 🙂