Showing posts with label #amwriting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #amwriting. Show all posts

Monday, March 16, 2020

Theme Reveal 2020 #AtoZChallenge

Theme Reveal #AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

It's time to reveal your theme for 2020! 

We'll even share our theme. It's 2020 Vision, of course! Join us here on the A to Z Blog all month long for posts from our team, and be sure to sign up with your theme reveal here.

Please make sure you share the link directly to your Theme Reveal Post and not your general blog post.

You can see your blog immediately on our Theme Reveal List and you can see the list of all Blogs on our Master List!

Be sure to sign up for the Theme Reveal by Thursday, March 26th! After that, the form will be closed. 

If you haven't signed up for the challenge on the Master List, you can do so here.
#AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

Monday, May 23, 2016

I'm Not a Blogger (an #atozchallenge story)

Today we welcome 2016 A to Z Challenge survivor author Martin Reaves with some thoughts on "not blogging" and his A to Z experience. 

I’m not a blogger

Seriously, I’m not.

Odd that my words should continue to unspool before your eyes, isn’t it?

Well, they did the same under my fingers, and have done so for years now.

I keep telling myself I’m not a blogger, I don’t grasp the format, I don’t understand why anyone would want to hear (read) what I have to say.

So I write novels. Blame my characters if you get bored; after all, they told me what they wanted to say.

Books and stories, that the ticket. Not blogs.

No juicy rants about politics or—Heaven help us—religion.


Ah yes, but.

Detractors be damned, blogging IS writing. It is the brain (or the Muse, or what have you) speaking through the fingers to an unknown and faceless someone. My stories generally start with a bare notion, a fleeting nudge of feeling that there might be a story if I start writing RIGHT NOW and don’t stop until that nebulous nudge is through with me.

Blogging is no different. Screw outlines, all I need is an opening sentence. Something to move the cursor forward.

Wanna know what the sentence was for this post? Wanna know exactly what it was that sent my fingers scampering over the keys?


Here it is: “I’m not a blogger.”

I sat here, wondering what on earth I had to say to my fellow A to Z’ers. I scanned several other A to Z posts, saw the crafty lists, and thoroughly enjoyed those breezy, enchanting posts.

And I thought to myself: But I’m not a blogger. My blog posts generally have to do with my writing; my current work-in-progress; my ongoing review blog concerning movies about writers.

I’ve been not blogging for years now. And the more I don’t do it, the more natural it seems.

Exactly why did I start not blogging in the first place? Well, looky here…a list (albeit a very short one) emerges.

Why Martin Doesn’t Blog

1) To Keep From Writing. Think blogging is tough? Try writing novels. Sometimes the words thumb their collective noses at you and decide they’d rather not play right now. I find in those dark times that I can always write some random sentence (“I’m not a blogger,” for instance) and keep going stream-of-consciousness-style until something takes shape. Not blogging was my favorite way of not writing.

1b) Because It’s Easy. Wait…what?

Yeah, there’s the truth within the lie…or vice versa. Because the truth (or the lie) is that I should be writing every day. But sometimes I don’t feel like it. But I can always write something if I give it structure ahead of time. Hold on, didn’t he just say he likes to start with a sentence to see where it goes?

Indeed. But that only works once in a while. Try that on a regular basis and the result would be a chorus of irritated yawns. This is where the A to Z Challenge came into play. 26 posts; scheduled; clockwork. This was terrifying until I came up with my format. Make it short. Hell, make it Haiku. Honestly, I don’t know why that was easy, but it was.

2) To Figure Things Out. Some ideas are not meant to be stories. Some are not actually ideas at all, but random musings. Ruminations, if you will. Occasionally I attempt to come to terms with some horrific crap I perpetrated years ago. I have channeled that confusion and self-loathing into any number of stories (see Relative Karma and Relative Sanity), but there came one of those Dark Nights of the Soul when I imagined the Other Me as a beast that I kept chained. To learn from him; to study him and make sure he never got out again. I began to realize this Darker Me, hunched and drooling in a dark corner of my muse’s basement, was fueling my writing. That post became Chaining the Beast in the Basement of the Muse. Check it out HERE.

3) Because I Love Writing and Writers. I am endlessly fascinated with the mechanics of writing and the processes of those who do it well. I never get bored reading what writers have to say about the craft. And I am a bit giddy when I stumble on a movie that has something to say about the writing life.

So I began compiling a list of movies that deal with writers/writing/the writing life. And I began watching these movies and offering my opinion in review form as to how Hollywood treated those hacks and scribblers. I entitled the series Scribblers on Celluloid and if you haven’t had enough yet, feel free to check out the introduction HERE.

What is the point in all this? It would seem to be a simple admonition to find out what it is you are not doing at which you are half competent.

And then, regardless of what the haters may say, continue not doing that thing with a passion.

I am not a blogger, and I intend to keep it that way.

For more from this author, visit Martin’s website by clicking HERE.

Visit Martin’s Amazon page by clicking HERE.

      If you'd like to contribute a guest post to the A to Z Blog please let us know and we can discuss your idea.

Friday, March 4, 2016

#atozchallenge: Introducing Damyanti and her team, D's Company!

 I've been part of the A to Z family for a while, and many of you know me as Damyanti from Daily (w)rite.

I'm camera-shy, so the spotlight is on Guilie Castillo, who is introducing herself and her team mates, (my gang) this year : D's Company.

 Take it away, Guilie!
The A-to-Z Challenge is, undisputedly, the blogging event of the year. In a community where blogfests and hops abound, that's saying something. And the magic was there from the beginning. In 2010, around 100 bloggers took up Arlee Bird's call to arms; by the following year participation had increased more than tenfold: over 1300 blogs signed up. And that number grows every year. Why? What's this A-to-Z magic that sweeps the blogosphere as soon as the sign-up list opens in January?
  • The community. No group of people is as welcoming, and as fascinating to get to know, as bloggers. They come from such varied backgrounds, product of such different cultures and lives, that their posts become doors into entirely new worlds.
  • The exposure. Nothing grows a blog's audience like the A-to-Z. Nothing, short of being featured on the Huffington Post, exposes your blog to as many potential readers, fans, and friends. 
  • The relationships. You will forge unprecedented friendships. There's something about the hectic atmosphere in April that... Well, you know. The best friendships are forged in fire.
  • The challenge. It's a human trait. We love challenges. We might enter the A-to-Z world hopelessly (and, honestly, kind of adorably) clueless as to what exactly we've signed up for, and we might finish the month exhausted and certifiably brain-dead, but we can't wait for it to be April again.
It's such a rush to see that list of 27 posts. We did it. Our creativity stood the test. We committed to something and we actually saw it through. That sense of achievement is a high that's hard to pass over. Last year I seriously considered sitting the Challenge out. Among other pressing things, I was behind — like, months behind — on the edits for my first novel, due for publication in spring 2015. But I signed up anyway. And I didn't finish. I skipped one letter outright, and my last post was a three-in-one. Should I have abstained? You know what? Nah. Finish or fail, the A-to-Z is the highlight of my blogging year. 

This year I'm joining co-host Damyanti Biswas's team, and it's my pleasure to introduce the fabulous women who make up D's Company.

 Vidya Sury Lives in hot-and-happening Bangalore. Tries to live mindfully, doing what she loves and loving what she does as a mom, writer, blogger, editor, and social media enthusiast.

 Misha Gericke Lives close to Cape Town, South Africa. She's either writing, editing, or working as a fresh produce exporter.
Andrea Michaels A writer in love with the sky and the ocean and brown eyes in general. Regularity and structure aren't her strong points but she makes awesome pancakes.

 Soumya Prasad The group's second Bangalorite is a hard-core techie. Her name means "one who is soft-spoken", which she considers the biggest irony of her life. A lover of love and all things related to it.

 Samantha Geary Jones Speculative fiction author living in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her lover, her two adorable little girls, and a border collie sidekick. Freelance writer for film, TV, and the gaming and trailer music industries.  

Guilie Castillo Mexican author and dog rescuer living in Curaçao. When not writing she'll be found wandering the island's wilderness with her seven dogs. 

Damyanti Biswas Blogger, author, troublemaker. A to Z cohost. An inept housewife, tea-and wine-lover.

We're all looking forward to getting to know you!
Follow the A to Z Blogging team on our Facebook Page!
Email address is contactatozteam at gmail dot com
Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge and Twitter id is @AprilA2Z
If you have a theme for you A to Z Challenge, sign up for the Theme Reveal!

We’ll hold Twitter chats on Thursdays at the tag #azchat at 9.00 PM EST. Please follow the Twitter and Facebook handles, and the hashtags in order to keep up with the conversation.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Don't Be A Stranger

What a wild ride it is to be part of this group. There is so much energy but that energy is needed. I have my own blog and am part of the IWSG admin but I still wasn't prepared last year when I volunteered to be part of this group. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes.

The administrators of the Challenge have soooo much enthusiasm and creativity. They constantly brainstorm on ways to make the challenge better every year. From the outside, it may seem like the majority of the work in done during the craziness of the challenge in April, but there's actually a lot of things going on all year long.

It has been such a privilege to be part of this but I am stepping down as an administrator this year. I'll still be helping out as someone's minion next April and I would never miss participating in the challenge but I will be leaving all that behind the scenes work to the other wonderful people of the Challenge. Thanks to Arlee Bird for starting this endeavor and for letting me be part of it. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for asking me to step up last year. With a lot of regret, I'm stepping back this year but not out.

As an experienced A to Z'er, I'm already thinking about my theme for next year. I expect to be able to visit even more blogs than I did last year since I won't be administering anything but myself. I'll still be promoting and encouraging everyone to participate and keeping going to the end.

Finishing the Challenge is a terrific, fulfilling accomplishment. So, I'll be seeing you all in April. In the meantime, I hope you'll visit me at my personal blog, Susan Says.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Art and Labor Day

First post here this summer from me and I wanted to do it before Labor Day Weekend. Why? Because the celebration of Labor Day, even though we do it at another time from almost everyone else in the world, is an important event, something we should all celebrate, because A LOT of people worked/sacrificed for all workers/us to have this recognition. Here is a little history as to why…
Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.
Labor Day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in New York City. After the Haymarket Massacre (this is worth reading about), which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886, U.S. President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.[1]
The equivalent holiday in Canada, Labour Day, is also celebrated on the first Monday of September. In many other countries (more than 80 worldwide), "Labour Day" is synonymous with, or linked with, International Workers' Day, which is observed on May 1.  (From Wikipedia)

What does this have to do with us as writers/artists? We are a part of this labor force, a part of what makes our economy tick, through all our trials and successes, we should acknowledge our part and celebrate with eager anticipation all that being a part of our country/economy means. Go Labor Day!!!!

And just for laughs...!

 Images from:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Meet Your Co-Host Interview

Okay, we’re supposed to introduce ourselves as co-hosts of the A to Z Blogging Challenge Team and though I answered a few questions last month on A Tarkabarka Hölgy’s post, I liked some of the others and thought it’d be fun to answer them now…

Which exotic fruit would you be willing to eat on a bet?
Cashew "apple" and "seed"
The “cashew” apple fruit! Check this out!

What is your opinion on cross-breeding dragons?
I think it is a fabulous idea. Who doesn’t need more variety in dragons?
My favorite, Pern Dragons

Oscar Wilde, dreamy...
For which historical figure do you harbor a secret crush?
Oscar Wilde. Yes, I know he was gay and wouldn't have gone for me, but I don’t care! He was amazing.

Do you like sleeping?
I LOVE to sleep. I love when I dream. I don’t like it when I sleep poorly. Sleep is seductive to me, perhaps too seductive!

What is your best form of exercise?
I like to take classes at my gym so that I do something different every day. Spinning, SpinFlex, aerobics, resistance training. I like them all.

Which do you prefer, horses, dogs, cats, lizards?
Dogs, little dogs. I like cats and horses too, but wouldn’t own them anymore. I like to watch lizards but not own them. I like my little Bonaparte…You know, little body, big ego!

Are you excited about the 2015 A-Z?
Our team badge!
Is that a rhetorical question? Ha ha! Of course! And trepidatious (yes, it is a word) as well. It’s a LOT of work, but it is also a lot fun to visit so many different kinds of blogs. It’s the only time of the year, really, where I can spend that much time reading that many blogs. During the rest of the year, work and life take over, but in April, I can set aside the time, and I do, to visit and learn…And this year I have a team to help me co-host!! Heather McCubbin, Randi Lee, Stephanie Faris, Bob R. Milne, Eva Solar, Doreen McGettingan, and Rhonda Albom. Together we are known as "Lisa's LiveWires." Yay! Here is our badge, thanks to Jeremy!

1st Lt. A.P. Buie, Jr. AF Pilot
Are you a vet or do you have any veterans in your family?
I'm not a veteran. My grandfather was a WWII vet. My father was a vet of the Korean WAR (officially “Conflict”). My Step-Dad is a Vietnam vet. All three of my uncles were Navy Vets. My cousin just got out after serving three tours in Afghanistan. He’s now in school. My nephew is a vet, and is in school as well. My husband's cousin is a vet, and a lawyer who takes a stance on vet's issues and helping them out. We've got vets!

Have you ever been to Texas, and if so, which part?

I lived in Waco, Texas for 18 years. Loved it, mostly! And just to set the record straight, the Branch Davidians were NOT in WACO. They were in a small town 20 miles north of Waco called MOUNT CARMEL, go figure. Wacoans, took—and take—great offense to the media naming our town the scene of that disaster. Even now it’s called the “Waco Siege.”
Waco is home to Baylor University. The town is located in the perfect spot to travel all over the Eastern half of Texas and a great place to raise kids. I have two native Texans!
Me, an A to Z Challenge Co-Host and "fearless" leader of "Lisa's LiveWires!"

 Images from:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why Do You #Write ? #atozchallenge

A to Z Challenge participant Vidya Sury was part of #TeamDamyanti this year, and she did an excellent job of providing social media tips (A Must-Read Guide now that we're taking a relaxed Road Trip!) and a hundred other things that go into running the challenge.

Today she is the Featured Guest on this blog, and talks to us about her passion for writing.

I worship the written word and the spoken word. I owe my love for writing to my Mom and one of my Uncles, who always encouraged me to express myself on paper.

And of course, to all the people who enjoy what I write, inspiring me to continue to write.

Writing is more or less like breathing to me, and today, I am glad to say, it is my bread and butter. Okay, also flavored cheese, sometimes.

Writing is a wonderful outlet, liberating, opening up new perspectives and teaching tolerance. When I go back and read something I wrote years ago, I enjoy seeing how I have learned and grown, and changed. Sometimes, I am proud of what I wrote and sometimes, I feel like I could have done a better job of it.

One of my earliest writing exercises was diary-writing. My Mom always encouraged me to keep a journal. It improved my language, my vocabulary and my confidence. It also helped me learn better at school. Above all, it kept my mind well-ventilated, stress-free and positive. It improved my memory and fed my creativity.

I remember, each time we went on a trip, my Mom would make sure I had packed my notebook and pencils. Oh yes, not only did I write about the trip as it happened; I also sketched in those pages. Sometimes, sketching helped me get my thoughts on paper far quicker than words to describe the scene.
Another writing exercise that helped me grow as a writer was letter-writing. Ours was a large family that believed in keeping in touch with relatives who lived in various cities. Letter-writing was a weekly chore. On Thursdays, which was a school holiday, my Mom and I would settle down with a stack of post cards and postage covers. I would love writing the addresses on these covers. Then, she let me add a couple of lines to each letter. Eventually, I took over the letter-writing and felt so happy when they were lovingly acknowledged. Some of my family still have my letters and read them with pleasure.

My love for writing paid off during my school years and beyond, making me a better student and a better person in life. At work,  I was rewarded with the remark “excellent communication skills” on my performance report and not surprisingly, I made a career in sales, marketing and training, before I quit the corporate world to become a stay at home Mom.

Today, I am excited to have a regular outlet for my writing via my blogs. My reward is my community, meeting other fabulous writers and exploring different writing styles via writing challenges and blog hops. Most of all, I am filled with gratitude to know that I make a difference with my words in peoples’ lives, bringing me closer to wonderful human beings. 

Writing is like oxygen.

Most of all, I am especially grateful that today, it is my chosen profession. Thanks to my writing skills, I earn my bread, butter and jam as a freelance writer and blogger, helping businesses, professionals and individuals.

Vidya Sury is a professional copywriter, editor and blogger. In a previous life, she was a corporate powerhouse. She now works from home crafting connections between businesses and their target markets, but prefers to focus on collecting smiles, playing with her dust bunnies, showing her diabetes who's boss and celebrating the little things.

She loves coffee, people, cooking, reading, writing, photography and travel. Vidya blogs at Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles , Coffee with Mi  and Your Medical Guide.

Dear Bloggers, why do you write? Do you blog for passion as well as remuneration? Did you participate in the A to Z Challenge? What do you think of guest blogging? Would you like to be a Featured Guest on this blog? Hit us up using the contact tab!