Z is for ZERO #AtoZBlogging Challenge

Today I do a happy dance as I focus on the word ZERO for the letter Z. That’s right! There are zero posts left in this April blogging challenge! 

To be quite honest, I’m pretty surprised I completed it. There were a few days when I thought I was going to slip and either miss or fall behind. However, I pulled through no matter how difficult it became. I’m excited that this challenge was a success. I think it accomplished the purpose of the event, which was to get everyone blogging and writing more. 

While I feel I developed a better blogging habit, I have several more things I’d like to get back to focusing on. I hope to continue a regular blogging schedule, but it may be reduced to once a week or something similar.

Why do that when I have a good routine going? Well for starters, I have a brand new picture book out that was released April 20, 1026 title Caitie the Caterpillar. So that will need some well deserved attention. In addition, I’m working on a fantasy novel ( a brand new task for me). And, as I’ve stated earlier this month, one of my goals was to write more and keep up with my projects. Now that I’ve tackled this goal, it is onward to the next! 

It was fun blogging with all my new A to Z friends. I  discovered many new and interesting blogs which I plan to continue following. 

Zippity-Do-Dah! A to Z Blogging Challenge 2016 is complete and a success. 

Y is for Yippee #AtoZBlogging Challenge

With only two posts left, including this one, I tackle”Yippee” for the letter Y. 

The end is in sight and our blogging goal is almost met. Anyone who has been going through it with me knows the strength and dedication it is taking to complete the challenge.  

When I felt “Weary” like I did a few posts ago, I mustered up the strength to not only carry on with my posting, but I even planned out around my other obligations.  When I wanted to read an extra chapter instead of blogging, I mustered up the strength to put the book down until I met my daily goal.

This all certainly calls for a celebratory “Yippee” from all the bloggers participating in the challenge. I’m not sure if I will throw myself a reading party, bog down with more writing time, or take a mini writing vacation. 
How will you celebrate your victory?  Don’t be shy! You earned it!

X is for eXtremely Difficult #AtoZBlogging Challenge

I tried not to do it. I scoured the Internet and even my printed dictionaries for an X word that had SOMETHING to do with writing. I tried not to include words with “ex”, but that was extremely difficult. I would have ended up blogging unsuccessfully about a word that I just learned the meaning of. 

So in keeping with my theme, I will point out that letter X was an extremely difficult letter to tackle. Since I had the blogging energy a few days ago, I seized the opportunity and pre-planned this post. I could not be sure I’d be able to attempt it if I weren’t fully up to the “challenge”.

So, when tackling a writing project, what do you do when you run into and extremely difficult situation? Our initial response, as it should be, is to tackle it head on and push through. With every problem, there is a solution, correct?

While that is true, there are many difficult problems where the solution is not always obvious. In extreme situations like that, we need to look outside the box. We need to get creative. In my case, I had to search other ways to satisfy the “X” requirement of this challenge. 

Another thing I did was go back to visiting other blogs. What did they come up with for x? Did they choose only “X” words? Some did, while others went for “Ex”. What I discovered was that everyone had their own unique way of tacking this post. Which got me to wondering, what did you do to tackle this extremely difficult letter? Did you use “X” or “EX”? Leave me a link to your post in the comments. 

W is for Weary # A to Z Blogging Challenge

You knew I’d pick this word, didn’t you? After all, we’re on the letter W for the A to Z Blogging challenge and the word Weary is just too perfect for my theme.

By now, after blogging for 27 days straight (except Sundays), you can bet this blogger is growing weary. The thing keeping me going is knowing that the finish line to this marathon is now in sight. And while it has certainly helped me gain a better blogging routine, I feel that blogging weekly might be a better fit for my personal and other writing schedule.

I’m pretty sure getting “weary” in the blogging process happens to most of us. I find that a change of scenery helps when the computer screen is just a dull, blank, uninspirational sheet staring back at me. If it’s a nice day, I might take a nice walk. It’s interesting what ideas and thoughts occur to you as you walk. 

Another thing I do is if I know I’m going to be busy one week, then I plan out my posts. For example this weekend that passed, all three of my children were in a play that had 3 show times throughout the weekend. That was just the show. That didn’t include preparing and feeding everyone. So I planned for that. Had I tried to squeeze it in, I’m sure I would have felt overwhelmed. 

One final thought about defeating the blogging weariness, is to find something that energizes you. It could be a break with a good book. It could be mental break of a day out with a friend. Or it could mean a nice cup of caffeine. Whatever it is, recharge. 

T is for Time #AtoZ Blogging Challenge

Today’s word of the day for our blogging challenge is TIME.   The hardest part of the challenge in the beginning for me (other than finding content) was finding the time to do this regularly. This weekend especially, is hard. All three of my children are in a high school play this weekend, so it is amazing to me that I’ve been able to steal away a few minutes. 

I’m also working on a writing project and trying to get My Light Magazine up again. I’m beginning to get a little better at time management when it comes to my writing. It is much easier to put the writing on the back burner when we have work and kids. However,  I feel like the brain is another muscle ( so to speak). The more we exercise our writing, the stronger it becomes.  In fact, I used to journal every night. Time permitting, I may revisit journaling. Writing routinely, no matter what it is I was writing about, helped shape my future writing.

And so, in this busy mom’s life, I am grateful that I am still finding the time to keep up with the challenge. I think I just might make it. 

S is for Surprise # AtoZ Blogging Challenge

For today’s challenge I’m looking at the word SURPRISE for the letter S.  I am truly surprised at myself for my accomplishments in this challenge. This was a last minute decision to join the challenge at the end of March. I was pretty sure that life would somehow get in the way.

One of the things I found helpful the most in this challenge was taking it step by step and trying to have some idea what I would do next. The first week I was trying to find a good routine, but as time went on,  I found my own way. Usually I tried to post one night in advance. I had a goal of doing a few a head of time, but I never found time for that…yet. I love how this has helped me sit down routinely and write.

I’m also surprised how much easier it became to take time out to blog. Once I let my perfectionist in me step aside a little and sat down to just write, it was much easier.  

What are some things that have surprised you about this challenge so far?

R is for Reading #AtoZBlogging Challenge

Today’s word for the blogging challenge is READING for the letter R.  One of my favorite ways to unblock a writer’s block is to read. Whether my block is for my blog, my novel or  another writing project, reading usually helps in some way.

My favorite reading past time is reading novels. It is a great escape and if my writer’s block is caused by over thinking things (which it often is) then reading a novel is just the break I need. The fictional aspects of it still work my brain.

For example, if I’m reading about a character named Sarah who was supposed to meet her dad after school,  I often have a thought like, “What if Sarah’s dad doesn’t meet her at the store like he said he would?  What would make him miss it? Was it on purpose? Did something happen?” 

Suddenly I have my “what ifs” working in my writer’s mind again. Reading a great book is probably one of the best writing prompts we have as writers. 

Of course, that could just be another excuse to read from this reading addict

Q is for Quest # AtoZBlogging Challenge

Welcome to today’s word of the day for the A to Z Blogging Challenge: QUEST.   I am keeping up with my quest to successfully complete the A to Z challenge. Ten more posts to go and the finish line is in sight.

One of the comments on a previous post mentioned that this is where the challenge gets harder. I agree. There’s a few difficult letters in the future and we start running out of ideas. Even though some parts of the challenge seem a little harder, it’s still much easier for me than it was in the beginning.

I have some strategies for the remainder of my QUEST. I’m considering  prepalanning my last  several posts (however, I know all too well what happens when I plan. Sometimes it works, other times my muse takes over.)

So as we are rounding the coner and approaching the finish line in this blogging challenge, I wish you all much success in finishing your QUEST.

O is for OOPS! #AtoZBlogging Challenge

I knew it would happen at least once during the challenge. I almost missed a post. I usually prepare them the night before and schedule them for the morning. However, this weekend was pretty busy with the family and before I knew it, it was late Sunday night when I remembered. 

I prefer to have the post up in the morning so it has most of the day to be seen. I’m grateful that I didn’t completely miss it. And I’m thrilled that I made it more than halfway through without missing a post. 

I do regret that this is a very short post, because I’m already thinking about tomorrow’s post (Sneak Peak – I have a book review planned for tomorrow!). So, today’s word of the day is a big, round OOOPS! 

N is New Content #AtoZBlogging Challenge

I’ve been thinking a lot about the word NEW today. We’re well in to the New Year and we’ve had some new goals. We’ve made some new friends in the blogging challenge. We’ve tried some new writing techniques along the way. 

Today I’ll look more specifically at New Content. As we go along this challenge and we follow a theme, we want to be sure we are not just restating the same post in a different way with a different letter. 

So, we rack our brains to find new content. Many times we may be at a loss, especially if we blog every day. Even if we know we are posting new and interesting posts, we may still feel that something is off or that our posts are becoming “dry”. 

So what are some ways we can come up with new content?  We can try some frequently suggested tips such as brainstorming and free writing. Do you know how many times I started writing a post and then had to change my title or even the whole thing? It usually happens after about 200 words. I start writing about something and the thought comes to my mind: “Wow, I should have written about…” Then BOOM! I would erase everything and start with my real content. It does work.

Another tried and true option is to carry a notebook with you. You never know when your ideas will “hit” you. I could sit in front of the computer screen for hours trying to come up with something interesting to write about. However, sometimes the content or ideas hit me after I stop thinking about them so much. 

Still not sure you have your new content? Another idea I try is googling an idea. I aim to at least have a concept, idea or even a key word. For example, I knew this post needed the letter N. I thought to myself, “Let’s see what happens when I google New Content for a Blog.” I read a few posts and found a few suggestions.  

What if you aren’t even sure of a topic? I actually googled, “writing words that start with the letter N”.  Now, that really yielded nothing, but it got my brain thinking and seeking. Eventually that led to my new content idea. 

I also searched to see what other previous A to Z bloggers did. I didn’t take their ideas, but I read what they had to say. I watched how they tied a certain word or phrase to the challenge. Some ideas I liked, other ideas didn’t help much. While nothing from my research physically appeared in my blog, it did spark my inspiration.I started thinking, “If I chose that topic, what would I write?”

Honestly, I didn’t think my topic of new content would yield much of a post, However, I think it did pretty well. 

How do you come up with your new content ideas?