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My Own Take on the A-to-Z Blog Challenge

So a few people I know recently did the A-to-Z Blog Challenge – a commitment to write one blog post a day for a month, with each day’s theme starting with the next consecutive letter of the alphabet. I don’t usually do things like this. First, because they remind me of chain letters – and as I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan. But second, because they usually require a bigger time commitment than I’m willing to make, blog-wise. They’re also things *real* bloggers do. And I guess I still don’t really see myself as a *real* blogger – which may sound funny, a year into the blog. Teehee. But I still think of myself as a writer who started a blog as a way of getting motivated to write her *real* writing (i.e., fiction). As a result, I’ve streamlined the amount of time I spend on the blog so that it doesn’t interfere with (translation: provide any additional procrastinat-y excuses for) that writing. To write 26 blog posts at my current three-per-week-but-really-only-two-because-Tuesdays-are-for-book-reviews pace, I’d be writing for 13 weeks – or I’d have to have had a post literally every day in April, including weekends. I have a hard enough time getting two-plus-a-review written in between the real writing and the real life these days, so the A-to-Z thing was simply too much for me right now.

That said, I like the idea of writing exercises (as you may know; if not, check out the category of them to see some of what I’ve done in the past), both because they are good practice for me as a writer AND, equally importantly, because they give me things to write about, which is sometimes a challenge, blog-wise. So I’m going to give you my own version of the A-to-Z challenge here today. I’m going to give you a line/idea/something for each letter, rather than a full post for each. In addition to being a variant on the *real* blog challenge, it’s also a game that The Boy Child and I play in the morning while waiting for the bus – although ours have to be things we can see while standing outside.

So without further ado, I give you the Jill-Elizabeth A-to-Z Blog Post Challenge! Feel free to do your own version – link to it, if you’d like (a) a blog post idea or (b) publicity or (c) both. :)

The Jill-Elizabeth A-to-Z Blog Post Challenge
(insert trumpet fanfare here)

  • A is for agent.  I would like one, please.  Someone to love me and my books and find them good homes with nice publishers so they can thrive and become productive citizens of the world.  Oh, wait.  Agents require full books from newbie authors.  Dang it.
  • B is for books, books, and more books which surround me as I write.  This is comforting and daunting in equal measures.  It is also distracting, because I love to read way more than I love to write.
  • C is for coffee, which some days is the only thing that keeps me sitting at my desk.  Until it gets lukewarm/cold.  Then it’s the only thing that gets me out of my chair.
  • D is for desk, custom-made.  My Fabulous Uncle Mike made my desk for me and I love it.  It’s taller and deeper-set than the average desk, which lets me sit comfortably with legs crossed (or curled under me or straight out in front of me) in my comfy chair.  Hooray!
  • E is for “EEK!” – which is what I occasionally say out loud when I realize that my latest story/effort has gone in a direction I didn’t anticipate…  This happens a lot.
  • F is for flash fiction.  I don’t love reading it – not enough detail for me usually – and not many of the things I intend to write as flash fiction ever actually stay short enough to end up as flash fiction, but I think it’s a great exercise in writing control.
  • G is for getting started – which is something I’m very good at.  As opposed to “finishing anything” – which is something I’m not.  :(
  • H is for Husband, The.  He kicks my butt when I need him to, holds my hand when I need him to, and leaves me alone when I need him to/he knows to.  Pretty awesome, eh?
  • I is for interruptions – which never come when I want them to, but never fail to arrive when I don’t.  Sigh.
  • J is for the title of my Work in Progress, but I’m not going to tell you what it is because I’m petrified to share it.  Trust me though, it’s good.  ;)
  • K is for kitchen, which is where the coffee is.  BRB.
  • L is for Lilac City Rochester Writers, my first foray into the world of the writing group.  Jury’s still out…
  • M is for Martin, the character I finally got to kill off in the WIP.  I don’t care for Martin.  I’m glad he’s dead.  There, I said it.  Don’t judge me.  You probably won’t like him either.
  • N is for novella, which is an art-form I may single-handedly try to revive.  It’s a brilliant solution to the short-attention-span challenge facing authors in the Twitter world.  It gives the author enough words to tell a detailed and descriptive story, but yet is short enough to not threaten readers who are commitment-phobic.  It’s also the length that my intended-to-be short stories seem to naturally evolve into.  But that’s not the only reason I like it as a book-form, honest!
  • O is for oh dear lord, there are a lot of letters in the alphabet.  Seriously.  This is harder than I thought it’d be – and definitely more time-consuming.  Eek.  And this is the short-form – what on earth did all those other bloggers do with an entire post about each letter?!
  • P is for Pandora radio, which is the greatest invention since sliced bread.  I have a channel called “Jill-Elizabeth is Concentrating” – classical piano, cello, and violin music.  Very good brain-music.
  • Q is for quiet, which I sometimes need to jump-start my brain.  Once it’s going, then it’s time for Pandora.
  • R is for reading, which I could do all day, every day.  And I may have to, if I ever intend to finish all the books on my To Be Read list…  Eek!
  • S is for stories.  I love telling them, repeating them, reading them, crafting them, re-reading them – I just plain love everything about them.
  • T is for “teehee”, which I say way too much. Teehee.  It is also for time, which is not my friend.  (See “I” above.)
  • U is for unfocused beginnings, which is something I fear that my stories often suffer from.  Apparently I’m good with the middles and ends – as Writing Buddy has generously pointed out – but I’m not so great at the openings.  I get a little wordy. (Who, me?!  teehee.)  I share Writing Buddy’s fear that this will hurt me with A-is-for-Agent, P-is-for-Publisher and R-is-f0r-Reader, and am REALLY hoping that E-is-for-Editor will help!
  • V is for versions.  I write in Word and wish they had a better way to save versions/drafts of documents.  I save mine with the date as separate files, but wish that there was an easier way to save overlapping versions in one file and then only see/print whatever version you want at any given time.  When I was A Lawyer, we had a custom-built version-saver for Word – I liked it, and wish I could easily and inexpensively recreate it for myself!
  • W is for words, without which I wouldn’t want to write. Seriously, it’s all about words for me – crafting images, stories, sensations, moments in time, pictures, or whatever. I love manipulating and playing with words – and equally love reading what other wordies cobble together!
  • X is for xylophone, which is the only real “x” word coming to mind right now.  Teehee.
  • Y is for you, the reader, without whom I wouldn’t be here – because if I had no readers, I’d have stopped blogging.  Seriously.  I don’t do this for my health, you know.  I do it for the feedback and comments.  Hooray for you!
  • Z is for zero – the number of *real* words I’ve written so far today, because I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time writing this post.  ;)  Seriously, one of my biggest issues with other people’s blog post ideas is that I end up spending a ton of time writing on them – time that I probably should be spending on the *real* writing.  Then again, no written words are wasted – and this has been an exercise in creativity and self-discipline – both of which are things I can always work on.  So I guess it’s okay – as long as I don’t procrastinate any more now and get to work!

 

** BTW, I don’t know why *real* always appears in asterisks in my head when I talk about *real* writing or *real* blogging. But it does. Hence the **. Just so you know again… :)

*** I don’t know why so many links today. Weird. Just felt like I needed some referents. Wonder what’s up with that…

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