Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year--New A to Z Challenge! -- so says Li Vooght

       One year ends and a new one begins.  Li Vooght of Flash Fiction has offered to usher out 2011 as we head into the year of a new Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  Let's make 2012 the best ever!  Now let's let Li do what she does so well--tell us her story.

New Year – New A to Z Challenge!

January marks the one year anniversary of my blog, Flash Fiction; and the April A to Z Challenge of 2011 is at least partly responsible for my still being here to celebrate. (In a virtual sense, of course. The Challenge didn't keep me from dying of Woompah disease or leaping from a high-rise.)

Starting a blog is never easy, and when I began I had no online “presence” whatsoever; no Facebook page, no Twitter account, and no blogger friends with whom to commiserate. It was a lonely place at first, although I somehow picked up a handful of followers who offered support and encouragement right from the start. I can't thank them enough.

One day I stumbled on a mention of the A to Z challenge while randomly surfing blogs. I had no idea what a blogfest entailed, but it seemed like a good way to both meet people and to shift my writing into high gear. Although a few people mentioned outlining or writing posts ahead of time, or choosing a theme, I wanted to up the ante for myself. (I really do like to make things difficult.) I wouldn't just post something everyday, it had to be an original fiction or poetry piece. And I wouldn't auto-post or write anything ahead of time; nope, I had to climb out of bed and come up with something that morning.

Then I did a dumb thing. I put it in writing. People took note. And it dawned on me that I couldn't possibly go through with it. And yet...perfect strangers told me that I could. Others expressed the same feeling of “sign-up remorse”. I discovered that by linking up for the challenge, I had joined a community of warm, funny, talented writers/bloggers who were just as interested in reading and helping others as they were in promoting their own blogs. Maybe more so.

I completed the challenge by posting each day with the proper letter, although I failed my own rules at least twice by posting pics with a few words instead of stories. I often generated ideas by randomly opening books and choosing a word or phrase, or by looking around the house for an object or picture. Some days I had a cold hard knot in my stomach, wondering if I'd ever think of something. But it was a tremendous exercise in writing under pressure, and I slowly built up my confidence. In the meantime, I invariably read at least a dozen challenge posts a day that made me laugh out loud – or realize that I'm not the only person in the world with strange habits.

Since then I've polished a few stories and hope to have them included in an upcoming collection, along with some new works. I've made lots of great friends, learned a lot about writing, and figured out how to install those darn widget thingies. I've even co-hosted a blogfest, The Rule Of Three, which opened my eyes to the amount of time, effort and sheer stamina that goes into planning these challenges; I can't imagine how much goes into executing (and reading) something as massive as the A to Z challenge. And so my hat is off to our intrepid hosts!

If you ask me if I'll participate in the 2012 A to Z, I'll say “probably not”. I'll think about it, vacillate, waver, shake my head and dig in my heels. Then the linky will go up, and my finger will hover over the ominous “you're next!”. Chances are I'll press it and sign up. Then I'll second-guess myself, moan, wring my hands, get excited, slip into despair, and finally decide that maybe I can do it, and if not, well it won't be the end of the world.

I wonder if there are 26 Ways That The World Might End. Hmmmm. Now there's an idea.

Happy New Year, everyone, and see you at the 2012 brand spankin' new A to Z Challenge!

Thank you to Arlee Bird , creator of the A to Z Challenge, for hosting me today, for beginning this awesome blogfest, and for being one of my earliest followers. You rock, Lee, you really do. Thanks for sticking by me and supporting me.
        And thank you Li for inspiring, entertaining, or scaring us.  It's like some of those stories she tells.  If you haven't read Li's stories make haste and read your New Year's Eve away.  Now that's one heck of a way to celebrate the New Year!


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MISH said...

What an amazing journey, Lisa...
I actually remember following your blog early this year... then I lost track (I'm still tech-challenged...have so much basic stuff to still learn - how to add badges/widgets to the sidebar... just recently learned about Google Reader... only got someone to add my Google Friend Connect widget in Sept.) *sighs*

January also marks the one-year anniversary of my blog, and I also stumbled on the A-Z Challenge while surfing...
Technically, I completed the 2011 challenge - but a few days later due to blog admin problems etc. etc.
Anyway, I look forward to the 2012 Challenge and to reading more of your fabulous writing.


Well done Lisa on your first A to Z and for supporting me throughout the year, your comments mean alot to me.
Happy New Year see you at the 2012 A to Z.


Li said...

Thank you, MISH - I also tend to lose track of blogs off and on...I am tech challenged but learned a lot via blogging. Happy New Year, see you at the challenge!

Hi Yvonne - it's been an amazing year, and I always look forward to your poetry - so much of it is uplifting :-)) Happy New Year to you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lisa, you know you'll sign up!! Just admit it now. And I was where you were in 2010 when the first Challenge took place - a new blog with no other online presence. And now - wow!
Greatest thing ever.

Li said...

Ahem... nothing like a little Ninja arm-twisting ;-) Thank you Alex! And thanks for all of your support.

Robin said...

Well Lisa you know I will be right there with you. I can relate with your experience. I was only a couple of days into blogging when I signed up...ahhh, what was I thinking?! But I made it, fell in love with the blogging community and kept on going and learning and meeting new friends. Yep, I'll be in again, nervous, wondering what to blog about and enjoying every moment!
Lee and Alex were awesome about helping me along the way too!!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Li .. great to meet you and see you on the A:Z I'm sure your little finger with click the button.

Amazing way to go .. and what a great way to get blogging, meet as you rightly say some wonderful people ..

Good luck with the stories and 2012 .. Happy days ahead ..

Happy New Year everyone .. cheers Hilary

Li said...

Hi Rasz - thank you for dropping by! I love your art and kind, gentle humour. It was great to meet you, see you in 2012!

Hi Hilary - I don't believe we've "met" but I'll be by to look you up! (And yes, it's hard to resist that little button...) Happy 2012 to you!

Sandi said...


I'm diggin' the new A-Z button! It's awesome!

Merry Christmas! Hope your 2011 ends on a powerful note and you have a prosperous 2012!

so glad we've come across one another's blogs!

Lake Forest, CA

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I wasn't sure I would make it either. But once I'd committed, I had no choice.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I distinctly remember that cold, hard knot in the stomach. I hope you click the button again this year!

Li said...

@Sandi - thanks for reading!

@Diane - Public commitment is a great way to stay on target. (That's why I never make public New Year resolutions!) :-)

@Shannon - I probably will. Hope to see you there too!

Laura said...

Hi Li - I remember reading your 'no prior writing / auto posting' policy and thinking - phew, it's not just me being nuts... someone else is exactly the same :) And boy, did you write some fab entries. I'm looking forward to April - and you HAVE to be doing it too - because the A-Z wouldn't be the same without you
Laura x

Pearson Report said...

This repost made me smile and reflect on my own feelings about coming up with a daily post, that was not preplanned. (I had only heard about the challenge a day before it started)

This year I will try to still be original and fresh, but maybe a little prepackaged to save my poor little ticker from so much stress!

And...when the time comes, press the button!