Elaine Shanks is ready for the upcoming Challenge. Today she reminisces about her experience in the 2011 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.
E – for Enthusiasm,
U – for Unexpected,
P – Persistence
I don't remember how I discovered the 2011 A to Z Blog Challenge. One day it wasn't on my radar and the next day it was.
Life is like that.
But I do remember how thrilling it sounded as I read the description. I remember thinking – Yes, I could do this … a posting for every letter of the alphabet and my brain just instantly started popping out suggestions for various letters – the zanier the idea the better! (ah, Zany … now there is a good Z word.)
Anyway, I digress. So I quickly hit the “join” button. That day was in late March. I feared I was already “behind” in the preparation. People had been signing up for a few months. Gosh, only one week for me to prepare.
But my brain bubbled with ideas and my key board got a work out that week.
I remember that first day – April 1, 2011 – visiting blog after blog eager to see who was doing what. I felt like I had joined hands with a cyberspace crowd of bloggers and we were off and running together. It was very exciting.
I made sure that I wrote and “schedule to publish” 4 or 5 postings ahead. Keeping “ahead” seemed like a good idea. I wanted no pressure. I wanted to keep up. I wanted to rise to the challenge and finish with everyone. I wanted to enjoy the “high-fives” of all my companions in this cyber neighborhood and enjoy the fruits of everyone's labors. And I was thrilled when someone stopped in to visit and comment. I was filled with great Enthusiasm. (I love my E word - Enthusiasm is infectious. I love it in myself and in others).
Then, in mid April, it all began to fall apart. Oh, I had 4 or 5 postings scheduled to be released in the near future, but my blog writing stopped dead. You see I am a caregiver for my 85 year old mom and the winter of 2011 was very difficult for her. In April she became ill and was hospitalized. My brain was now focused on the part of my life (elder care) that was always filled with Unexpected events. (I am not a fan Unexpected - so U has been taken off my list of good letters).
And so I watched from the sidelines as my 4 or 5 blog postings automatically published. Then I watched as my blog fell silent. Sometimes I would take time to peek at the other blogs – those that were still going strong … and I felt … let down. I wouldn't finish with the rest.
But I am not a person to be kept down for long. I am Persistent – some might say stubborn.
When the cloud that covered my family began to lift and mom began to improve, I started to write again. And I finished – not with the pack, but on my own schedule. I didn't reminisce with the finishers in the weeks after or take the “I Survived Button” for my blog – because I didn't really finish or survive within the scope of the event. But I had a whole lot of fun and made friends with many new bloggers. Persistence got me to the end. (Persistence is a very good P word.)
And come April 1, 2012 – I'll be back! I will start again with the pack. I will plan 4 or 5 posting ahead, because you never know what kind of curve ball life will throw at you. And I plan to finish with the pack.
But if not, I will finish … 'cause it is just that much fun.
Elaine Shanks, Retired Knitter (http://mynext20yearsofliving.blogspot.com)
I have been blogging since July 2010. I am retired, a knitter, a knitting group coordinator, an elder caregiver, an enthusiastic starter and a persistent finisher. I am also "grandmother" to 3 fabulous dogs - Meathead, Grimace and Milo. And like the rest of the world, I am trying to be better to myself - diet, exercise, friends and family. All these things are part of my next 20 years - and part of my blog.
All I can say is not bad Elaine. Not bad at all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the A to Z Challenge. You are a winner!