Monday, May 2, 2011

Refelections on the A to Zed Challenge

Arlee and his wonderful troupe of assistants asked those of us who participated in the A to Z challenge to give some reflection back and I'm a good doobie so here goes:

It was a positive experience for me. As long time readers will know, I like the carrot and stick approach to discipline and this was that. I said I'd do it and even if no one gave a care or even noticed - I'd darn well do it. Once I figured on a theme I was good to go. My theme was the abcedaria of a writer and it made life fairly easy for me. I thought of other themes but the reason I have this blog is that I want to explore my writing life so I thought I would just stay with that. Within those parameters the sky was the limit. I wrote on such divergent ideas as discipline, knitting, lamé and quiddity.

Getting around was a tough one. I had a lot going on in April - I went to the other coast for a visit and also had a more local trip going on. I know, I know, everyone had their thingy. I did manage to meet lots of lovely bloggers but I didn't manage to keep up my energy in order to visit the amount of them I wanted. But that was OK too. Sure, part of the exercise was to increase followers and get more people reading your blog BUT I'm not all together both of those things are the same. Let me explain.

I think, even in this virtual world, friends are not someone who says I'll sign on to be your friend. Friends actually friend (yes as a verb). For instance, when I was distraught about a rejection, I emailed the Tartlette (Confessions of a Watery Tart) so I could moan without censure. I know I can do that with her nakedness because she and I are actually friends, although we've never met. I know her mind and she knows mind. I'd let her take care of my grandchildren. Get it? I think I met a few more of those on this blogfest but just a few. Because being a friend means both parties need to spend some time building trust, learning about each other and then that magical other - that recognition of essence.

So, once I'd made my two hundredth follower I did slow down. I lost that panicky urgency to connect connect connect. I still did the 'surprize me' button but I didn't stop to join or comment if I felt no simpatico with the blogger (or it was light writing on black - I'm old, people).

And, I must admit, I was searching for those folks who had something similar to me going on - someone who was writing or at least thinking about it, someone who had lived a bit though that wasn't firm, and someone who had turned their word verification program off!!! GAWD THAT WAS ANNOYING! And there are subjects I'm not much interested in - I'm sure it is the same for you. I won't mention them because I've decided I'm going to be nothing but nice for the month of May but I just don't have the equipose for some topics that I might have at an earlier age.

I also, as always, loved being surprised - like when I discovered the Queen of English on my trips around - or she discovered me! What fun - someone who knows about commas and can make it interesting. Or when I found Sue at Jumping Aground with her crazy posts and her dear heart. And Rae at Fresh with her wonderful descriptions of family life and a recipe for vinegar pie!  Well, I could go on - and I will in future posts - about the lovely new friends I've met. And the ones who weren't doing the challenge but came by anyway or the ones that were and still managed to visit me, their ole pal.

This blogfest does remind me, as Arlee says, of a party. And it took me a while to remember what I always tell myself when going to a big ole 'do' - if I have one or two really good conversations then the getting ready was worth it!

So April flew by - visits to the t'other coast, learning to knit socks and making new friends. All good. I'll do it again but my priorities might be slightly different going in!

18 comments:

Rae said...

Adding you to my new list of blog friends was one positive outcome of this challenge! Thanks for the mention! But, because you are a "real" writer, I'm a little intimidated sometimes. Please excuse my grammar and all that other stuff I'm not so good at! Keep sharing all those great thoughts and ideas because we love them! I just visited you one day, but now I'm here to stay!

Liz P said...

I guess the good thing about all the participants is that there was so much diversity, so you were bound to make new connections with people that interest you. I'm the same way about following new people too. I already follow so many blogs (writing as well as non-writing) that I have to be a little more selective in who I follow. Sometimes I feel bad about it, but if I don't feel a connection with the blogger...

The event was fun though, even if I was frantically trying to get around to as many blogs as possible. Man that was tough...

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I was pleased and honoured you became a follower, your blogs held my attention which is very important.

Have a wonderful day.
Yvonne.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sounds like it was overall a good experience, since you made a few new friends along the way!

Tara Tyler said...

it was a very friendly challenge =) I was happy to meet you and read your advice on writing!

Hart Johnson said...

*hugs back* Jan, you and I are more than friends... we are sould sisters. I think you're approach was great.

I tried to comment everywhere I visited (except the obvious 'businesses' that pretended to be blogs) and I picked an arbitrary spot and went in order... I think next year, I will go with 'surprise me' too--I like the randomness...

baygirl32 said...

it was a great challenge, at some times harder than others. I have found some really great blogs that I look forward to every morning, what more could I possibly ask for?

D. U. Okonkwo said...

I didn't get to take part in the A to Z challenge, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading and commenting on all the blog posts that took part in it.

So funny to see the many blogs that posted on similar subjects on similar letters but put a different spin on it.

Eve said...

Hey Jan! I am so glad to have 'met' you through this blog fest..and I agree, white on black is hard for us old people to read!

Pk Hrezo said...

I agree. I never remind offering my little face up to add to someone's followers if it helps them along, but I'm selective with who I actually take the time to read and comment on. There's just not enough time in the day.

And sheesh the word verifications were killing me!!! Congrats on finishing your challenge! :)

Karen Walker said...

Jan, this is such a wise post and I agree with it whole-heartedly. I learned it's not about how many followers we have, because that is illusory. Anyone can click a follow button. It's finding those people who keep coming back and connect with what we are talking about and with who we are. Thank you for voicing this.
Karen

Mercy a.k.a Rogue said...

I agree friends actually "friend". I have met some wonderful women through my blog and I think I can safely call them friends. They are the ones who are right there the minute a difficult post goes up, and are the first to send prayers when I need them.
Congratulations on finishing the challenge!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Visiting a handful of quality people is better than visiting the masses!

Marjorie said...

I only visited as many people as I felt I could and that was great for me. I'd let the Tart take care of my kids too!

Arlee Bird said...

I really enjoyed your topic approach and your writing was good as always.
Hopefully we can figure ways to get around the stuff that burdens us down during the Challenge, but I guess there will always be something--part of the challenge, eh?

Thanks for joining us and making such a wonderful contribution to heighten the quality of content in the Challenge.


Don't forget to pick up your Winner's Badge at my site.
Lee
Tossing It Out

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I hit some blogs that didn't interest me. (Sorry, scrapbooking is not my thing!) But I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. Word verification be damned!

Paula Martin said...

Congrats on completing the A-Z. I didn't get around to visiting as many blogs as I intended, so am trying to catch up now. Glad I;ve found yours, as I'm a writer too (romance novels)
Paula Martin’s Potpourri

sue said...

I love what you've said here Jan, the importance of getting to know people, building trust, learning about each other - all are so important.

I feel a bit bewildered by the people who've appeared in my sidebar without introduction or explanation. But I'm suppose that's a reflection of my personality than anything much else.

I dropped back here after reading your most recent post, and wondered if for you too there's something in your older posts that could be supportive/ reassuring/ giving some sense of direction?

I'm going to try to make time to wend back through them 'cos I'm sure there's something there for me.

Thankyou for the mention - I love the unexpected warmth that can come from people I've never met, like you describe with Hart - Friends actually friend! I haven't found the words to describe it yet especially when people ask me "How can you be a friend with someone you've never met?" - maybe I never will be able to explain, but it is very special. Thankyou ... Sue