Blogging from A to Z Challenge....or....How I spent the entire month of April 2012.
We've been asked by the great team at the A to Z Challenge to write a reflection post about our experience with the challenge. I didn't intend for this post to be so long, but I'm long winded, so there you have it. First let me thank all my new followers and all the awesome people who left great comments. I appreciate you all! I hope you enjoyed your little tour through Arizona and I hope you stick around! Also, thanks to the great team of bloggers at A to Z who organized this whole thing and kept us all in line. They are awesome!!
I found out about the challenge in the fall of 2011. I coaxed my daughter into thinking it would be a fun mother/daughter thing to do (I wonder if she'll ever forgive me). We both needed to jump start our blogging and I thought this sounded like a perfect way to do that. Sign ups weren't until January and that seemed far enough away so we thought, why not? We would think about it and make a decision at sign ups. We both decided to do the challenge and signed up right away. I had every intention of pre-writing all the posts to have them done before the challenge even started. Well.....best laid plans and all of that. I wrote my first post on March 31st...one day before it was supposed to post. I played catch up the entire month....I always felt behind...it really frustrated me. But it was my own fault so I'll live with it. There were good and bad things about doing the challenge. We'll do the bad first so we can end on a good note :)
I mostly enjoyed the challenge but there were parts that were painful. Like the research. I'm glad a picked a topic but I had no idea how little I knew about my own state...so yes, research was involved. Somewhere around day 18 I just started to feel like I was back in school. Again, my own fault but still....I have no desire to go back to school...ever. I do enjoy learning new things and I do like to research stuff...but not on a deadline...again, my fault. The other part that totally frustrated me was the lack of time to visit other bloggers and comment. I suppose being better prepared and having my posts done ahead of time would have helped this little matter also. Besides not being prepared, I have obligations outside of my blog...I know, hard to believe huh? Of course there's work, but more importantly....the hockey playoffs fell right in the middle of this whole thing. The timing could not have been worse. I wonder if the A to Z team will consider moving the challenge to say...June, when the playoffs and the cup are over and decided. That would help me out tremendously!
Believe me when I say...the Catholic guilt struck hard on this one. I just felt guilty the whole time because I wasn't visiting and commenting enough. I mean, I don't think there are commenting police out there that are just waiting to put my blog in jail...but I still felt guilty because that's the whole point of the challenge. To meet other bloggers, have them meet you, increase your readership...all of that. So, yeah, I failed that part of the assignment and I'm just waiting for the teachers to send me to detention. I wonder if it will help if I tell them I had the best of intensions....really I did!
One last negative before we hit on the positives. The serious lack of material at the end of the alphabet. I'm surprised some of these letters keep their job. Listen up U, V, X, Y and Z, you need to step up your game before next year. Ok, enough of that....on to the good...
I am so glad I chose to blog about a topic. I had intensions of just winging it and writing whatever came into my head. Turns out my head is kind of empty (no comments from the peanut gallery!) and it's a good thing for all of you that I chose to blog about Arizona. It ended up being a good thing for me also. I'm an Arizonan born and raised, which means I've lived here for over half a century (yes, I'm that old). I've never lived outside the confines of this lovely state and yet there were lots of new things I discovered that I never knew existed. Some of them were kind of disturbing (remember this) but a lot of them were truly amazing and I'm planning road trips in my mind as we speak.
I think when you live any place for your entire life, there are a couple of things that can happen. You want to live somewhere else (preferably a place where the temps don't reach 120 in the summer). You start to focus only on the annoying aspects of where you live. You stop appreciating the beauty that exists all around you. OK, so maybe these are just things that happened to me, but I have to tell you, before beginning this challenge I was pretty darn fed up with living in the desert. And sometimes I was fed up with Arizona all together. But during the coarse of writing the blog I started to rediscover this amazing place. I started looking at my surroundings differently. Driving to work one morning I realized how lucky I am to have the beautiful mountains and amazing sunrises accompanying me on my morning commute. I remembered why so many people come to this valley to make it their home. It is a pretty awesome place and you don't have to shovel anything in the winter. So, while I still abhor the heat and I would move to Flagstaff in an instant if I could, I don't have that feeling of animosity toward my native land. In fact, I appreciate it more and I'm proud of where I live. That's something unexpected and totally awesome that came from doing this challenge and it's something that I'm very grateful for.
I talked about this last week but it bears repeating (or copying and pasting...however you like to look at it ;). The best thing to come out of this challenge is that I lost that feeling of not feeling good enough. I realized that I can hold my own when writing. Am I the best writer in the world? Not at all. But I'm not the worst and I even feel somewhat competent. I realized that I have my own unique voice in this blogging world and that cured my blog envy. I'm now ready to forge forward with this blog and I'm excited to see where it takes me.
Last thing. Assuming there is one, will I participate in the challenge next year? I'm not sure. The pain is still kind of fresh. But I suppose that, like childbirth, the pain fades with time and you forget why you said....I'll never do that again!
Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the blogosphere!