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.
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.
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.
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?