The OFFICIAL MASTER LIST: (sign-ups are closed)
Showing posts with label blogging discipline. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging discipline. Show all posts

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, January 22, 2016

Six Benefits of the A to Z Challenge

The Linky List opens for the 2016 A to Z Challenge on Monday, January 24!

If you’re still contemplating whether you will join us or not, let me give you some really good reasons why you should. There are benefits for those who make the effort.

1 – It will stir your creativity. You have twenty-six posts to write for the month – what are you going to say? Will there be images? Will you have a theme? You’ll need to put on your thinking cap (not the one with the foil – that’s so aliens don’t read your mind) and come up with some entertaining or interesting posts.

2 – It spurs research. You might have to search for some facts and figures. Your theme might involve history, a person, or a place. You’ll learn as you research for you posts. (Double bonus!) And if you are a writer or have something you need to research, what better way to kill two birds with one stone. (Triple bonus!)

3 – It teaches discipline. You’ll have to post or schedule one for twenty-six days. That’s six times a week. If you’ve struggled to maintain a regular post schedule, this will get you in the habit. It will also discipline you to visit those who comment and seek out new blogs.

4 – It forces you out of your comfort zone. Is posting almost daily for a month a challenge? You bet! You’ll have to stretch to reach the end. Your blog might be languishing in obscurity, but you’ll be prompted to visit new bloggers almost every day. Coming up with posts and/or a theme will also be tough. But you’ll reach the end and realize – you did it!

5 – You’ll grow your blog. If you take advantage of the Linky List and all of the other participants, you’ll visit many new bloggers, and many will visit you. You’ll gain exposure. Your following will grow. Your reach will extend much farther in just one month’s time than you could in six months. (Time saver!)

6 – You’ll make friends! This is the greatest benefit. You will connect with other bloggers who share your interest. The Challenge fosters a camaraderie that lasts well beyond the end of April. Years from now, you’ll look back and realize some of your very best blogger buddies came from the Challenge.

I know what you’re thinking – really? That will happen? Yes, it will! How do I know? Because in 2010, I participated in the very first A to Z Challenge. There were only a hundred of us, but I am still very good friends with several participants. (And I’ve gained many new friends in subsequent years.) My blog following doubled that month. I learned I could do more than I ever thought possible with my blog.

So, what are you waiting for? Come back Monday and join us!

Co-host Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh is the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars, and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. His blog can be found HERE