When I first heard of this A to Z Blogging Challenge, I thought “I couldn’t possibly do something like this. I haven’t written enough or been published to come up with 26 entries spanning the alphabet. I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a theme. I have nothing worthwhile to contribute.” (That last statement I could apply to this blog as a whole.) So, here I was contemplating whether or not I should even attempt to take on such an ordeal. Then one Thursday, StoryDam hosted a Twitter chat on the A to Z Challenge. I learned that I didn’t need a particular theme. I learned that it didn’t matter how experienced I was. I learned that I wasn’t alone in this quest. And the more I learned, the more my thoughts changed. From “can’t be done” to “it’s possible”.
So, I outlined my plan on Evernote on my phone. I went through several changes on topics until I nailed down something I was comfortable writing about, and some topics not so comfortable. I created reasons and statements to explore. After the planning, it was a matter of getting it out there by any means necessary. Whether that meant waking up before the crack of dawn or staying up late in the evening. In the solitude of silence or the company of Pandora, I wrote. I wrote for 26 days, covering 26 topics with no particular theme; just what I learned and hope to learn in this writing journey I’ve undertaken. A whole month later, I crossed the finish line, happier, without regrets.
So, what do I take away from this challenge?
- I can write on a deadline. Essentially, the A to Z Challenge was a set of deadlines that had to be met. There was no leeway to me. Either stay the course or play catch up. And catch up wasn’t an option.
- I can write about anything. The old adage is true: you never know what you can do when you’re forced to. I didn’t think I would come up with anything brilliant to say about the topics and subjects I picked. And yet, I did.
- I am not alone. I know, I know. Being on Twitter and Facebook, I have a great community of writers I can turn to for answers. When I signed up for this challenge, I had no idea the number of people participating in this thing. And the numbers grew and grew. I even found new blogs to follow and gained new followers.
I can honestly say that this challenge has been the best thing for me as a writer and blogger. In a short month, I gained a confidence I didn’t think I had. It taught me the importance of planning and thinking outside the box. I expanded my horizons and I found blogs to follow that I didn’t think to follow before. And again, it reassured me that there are people who do read and like my work.
So, I leave this year’s challenge basking in the confidence that I can do anything. Maybe next year, I will have a theme. Who knows? Until then, I will continue to write and hopefully enlighten someone with my words. Happy writing!