Reflections

Reflections April #AtoZChallenge 2017

The most important things is to enjoy yourself and have a good time Reflections AtoZChallenge Vidya Sury

As per tradition, after the month long A to Z Challenge where the participant posts on her blog every day, taking only the Sabbath off, comes the reflections post chatting about the experience, the good, the what-could-be-better, and son on.

I could sum up my reflections post for 2017’s A to Z Challenge, my fifth year, in one word: enjoyable.

But can you imagine me writing a less than hundred words post?

Didn’t think so!

So here goes, with the long version, split into before, during, and after.

Before

To begin at the very beginning, I surprised myself by looking forward to this year’s A to Z Challenge in the month of February and thought on and off about the theme I’d follow this year. Because you see, those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Or so the saying goes.

I jotted down ideas, I brainstormed themes.

I created folders full of post outlines and drafts.

I collected appropriate pictures, as I did not want to stress over them, simply because I spend the longest time choosing images. Think 20 minutes writing a post, and three hours finding the perfect image. Yes, that’s me!

Then March happened. I was struck by lightning. Literally!

My computer, my hard disk, my back ups, my router, my pen drives–were all fried. Which basically meant that everything I had–my work, my drafts, my books, my images, my photos, videos–all gone.

Sure I was dejected. Who wouldn’t be?

But I picked myself up, and forced myself to become excited about the A to Z Challenge. I thought, let me do the things I would have anyway done and bring back some semblance of normal. I also decided to go with the theme, “Surprise” with the goal, Collecting Smiles, because even though I could have reworked those drafts I had made, I thought, let me go with my flow.

So, I did what I do best.

Wrote on the fly.

I was a pantser, because I like being one.

As organized as I am with my work and other things, when it comes to blogging, I love the last minute post. Just like this one!

Nevertheless, I did keep jotting down ideas, because the beauty of daily blogging is the abundance of ideas, with the overflow happening when you least expect it.

That moment when I add salt to the sambhar.

That moment when I spoon detergent into the washing machine.

That moment when I stand, arms raised, about to clip that garment to the clothesline.

That moment when I finish that last drop of coffee, and a brilliant thought floats in.

You know what I mean!

And luckily, I maintain a bunch of physical books to write down points. I also use my kitchen shelf, that sheet of paper tacked to the door, the blackboard on my wall . . . but hey, that’s not the point now.

During

As usual, the first few days saw the most interaction, then as we progressed through the month, the comments and visits dwindled.

I fell behind after the first couple of weeks, but that didn’t bother me. Life happens, and my focus, my priority, was on life offline.

You probably know I had three blogs in the A to Z Challenge ring. This one, and Life Hacks for Happiness and Life Hacks for Diabetics. I spent weekends preparing and scheduling those posts. And of course, I realized I had mixed up the posts on the blogs. Happiness posts on Diabetics and vice versa. Happy swapping. Deleted and re-did everything. Hilarious.

Then, there was travel in the third week. Of course that’s no excuse, really, but if I had to use it, it is a pretty good one, eh?

I had guests at home.

I had health hiccups.

I had my regular work deadlines.

So, all said and done, I did end up skipping posts for P, Q, R, S, and V. I polled fellow-participants, asking if I should let it go or fill in the spaces. And responses ranged from “it is up to you” to “you must post.” I decided to let it go, as I really didn’t see people keeping track of what I’d missed and going back and reading. I figured that since I had the post drafts I had worked on, I would rather serve them fresh.

After

All in all, I felt zero pressure. I did what I was absolutely comfortable with, at my own pace. No guilt over missing posts.

I focused on the love I received. I reciprocated. Both online and offline.

I diligently followed some blogs and had a wonderful time reading them.

As for the new format of the A to Z Challenge, I guess it must have worked. I didn’t get around to adding my posts to the official blog or social media thread most days, and I doubt if it made a difference. On days I missed, the world looked exactly the same. Bright and sunny, with the occasional thunderstorm!

“If you change the way you look at things , the things you look at change” Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Saving the best for last, special thanks to the special souls who came over to read my posts and took the time to comment and share my posts on social media ♥

Here’s a recap of my April A to Z Challenge posts for 2017 – thank you for all the smiles!

Each image is linked to the post.

So tell me, did you participate in the A to Z Challenge this year?

How was it for you? Did you write a reflections post?

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Shantala
    May 9, 2017 at 1:03 am

    I am reading a whole bunch of reflections posts, and I can’t help feeling like I missed out on participating this time. I mean it would have been difficult with my sister’s wedding etc, but this AtoZ is so addictive!

    Nonetheless, I am glad I chose to focus on my life offline, as I got to savour the wedding festivities, and family comes first, there will always be another AtoZ.

    Also, I loved the way you enjoyed the blogging marathon. Back when I did it, though it was still oodles of fun, there were times when the stress got to me. Your post has inspired me to approach AtoZ with a fresh, cool perspective next time. Thank you for sharing, Vidya. Stay as awesome as you are. 🙂

  • Reply
    Angel Stew & Devil's Brew
    May 9, 2017 at 2:16 am

    Hi Vidya, remember me, the loser drop out A to Z’er? And after reading this post I feel like an even bigger loser! You got zapped by lightning and STILL continued on! You deserve a medal. Tell Arlee Bird he needs to send you a trophy or something. Holy smokes. I’m happy it was you, literally, getting zapped but I am sorry you got zapped and happy you went on to finish. You rock Vidya!

  • Reply
    Debbie D.
    May 9, 2017 at 6:07 am

    It’s wonderful and amazing that you were able to overcome your computer disaster and continue on so well- with three blogs no less! Vidya – Superwoman! 😀 Your images are fabulous and it’s obvious you spent a lot of time on them. It was a pleasure visiting you during the challenge and I will definitely stay in touch. You rock, Vidya! ((BIG HUG))
    Debbie D. recently posted…REFLECTIONS | #AtoZCHALLENGE 2017My Profile

  • Reply
    Sreesha
    May 9, 2017 at 7:47 am

    For the record, I did notice the missing posts, and if you had filled the gaps, would’ve gone and read them. I had fun reading your posts every morning. As long as you share what’s in your drafts someday 🙂
    Sreesha recently posted…On To New Stories | #AtoZReflectionsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Karen
    May 9, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I am impressed that you were able to rebound so well from your computer crash that happened right before the challenge. That is extremely stressful. How wonderful that you not only dove in (3 blogs – wow!) but ultimately enjoyed the experience.

  • Reply
    Rajlakshmi
    May 9, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    You are amazing… Three blogs, like seriously, I could already feel the pressure, but you so easily made it through 😀 I didn’t find new blogs as much as I would have liked to. But this year as always was another great experience.

  • Reply
    Sanch @ Sanch Writes
    May 9, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Amazing how you managed the challenge on three blogs even after all that happened! Go you! I need to ask — where do you get your images from? They are adorable!
    Sanch recently posted…2017 #AtoZReflectionsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jemima Pett
    May 9, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    I wondered where you’d gone. I was truly disappointed by the experience this year, but grateful for those dedicated bloggers who visited, most of whom found me in previous years and have continued. Despite diligently putting most of my posts on the dreaded daily post, I saw very few new visitors. Following back commenters and their commenters seemed to be the most popular way to meet people this year, but it kept us to a small circle.

    I don’t think I’ll do it next year. Maybe I’ll have more time to visit then.

  • Reply
    wendy of the rock
    May 9, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Best laid plans of a pantser…. i love it.
    And oh yes… the image search. That’s why I started wit the images this year. Like you, I collected them first and it was a worthwhile strategy. And you have to know that you were missed when you stopped posting, but with your enthusiasm and wit, it’s clear you will always be back.
    Thanks for keeping me company. You’re a star.
    p.s. What’s sambhar? Gonna have to go look it up.

  • Reply
    Darla M Sands
    May 9, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    I felt so bad about your trials and hope your health is good. I have an external hard drive, but it’s old, so I’ve started emailing my most important documents from one of my addresses to another to preserve them. On that note, I should do the same with pictures. Heaven knows we have plenty of lightning storms here. Be well and happy blogging!

  • Reply
    Eli
    May 10, 2017 at 1:09 am

    Oh, how wonderful Vidya! Fun to read – and no I didn’t participate this year…but did some amazing traveling – and offline for many days – super investment. Next year I’ll be in though – kind of miss it when I read your blog and the rest who participated this year! Well done:-) hugs

  • Reply
    Birgit
    May 10, 2017 at 9:04 am

    I agree with Debbie…you do rock! The hugecalamity of everything being burned would have made me cry because I think of the pictures but I hope you saved them. I think the main thing to enjoy this challenge is to not feel that stress that we create for ourselves. I fell on my butt visiting your wonderful blog that I actually truly love but I plan to read the posts as time goes onward. My goal, next year, is to have all written up before April appears

  • Reply
    J.H. Moncrieff
    May 10, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Hello, Vidya! New to your blog…Birgit highly recommended you in her reflections post.

    I didn’t undertake the challenge this year, for the first time in three years. I’m in awe that you juggled three blogs! One is more than enough for me.

    But I can remember well the people who missed letters during the month of April when I was participating, and I was always grateful for them. There were so many blogs to visit and comment on that it already took up most of the month. If someone missed a few, it was “Whew!” so I’m sure no one minded.

  • Reply
    George
    May 12, 2017 at 5:19 am

    Vidya, thats inspirational. I may not be up for a full A to Z challenge, but I can at least apply that same mentality to my own work, life, relationships, and love. Thanks for the motivation.

  • Reply
    Vinitha
    May 13, 2017 at 12:27 am

    You are a superstar, Vidya. Without complaints, you accept the hiccups as it is and do you work anyway. I didn’t get time to read your posts or many of others posts. Yep, I missed out participating and even reading. I am not saying that I will come back to read, but I might, sometimes. 🙂 I love AtoZ challenge for the fun and rush and excitement in the month of April. As an outsider, it was no fun.

  • Reply
    Shailaja Vishwanath
    May 14, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    So glad that you enjoyed the challenge as always 🙂 After all that’s what really matters. It’s really commendable how you showed up for the A to Z even after that lightning strike. That takes courage. Your posts will always be read, whether you post now or later. So it really is up to you , as always 🙂 Hope you are having a good May, Vidya 🙂

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