A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

 

I honestly didn’t think I could do it. The challenge seemed insurmountable. How would I ever manage blogging twenty-six times in one month when I hadn’t managed even twenty posts in the entire previous year?  I had a feeling that my one moment of impulsivity was going to drive me absolutely crazy.

And yet, it didn’t.

In fact, writing practically every day in April turned out to be rather enjoyable.

Going into this challenge, I had no idea what to expect. I imagined hours of sitting around, beating my head against the computer screen, while my five kids ran rampant around the house. I envisioned dishes stacked up, laundry piled up, and school projects left unfinished. I figured before it was done, I’d give up, unsuccessful and unfulfilled as a writer.

Thankfully, my ideas and concerns are not God’s. And what He had in mind for me during April was something I never would have imagined. Through daily writing, I learned more about God, His truths, myself and the process of writing.

So what are my A-to-Z take-aways? There are many, but here are the 3 most important ones, along with a new writing/blogging goal I derived from each.

1. If God called me to write, then I definitely need to write … daily.  As a mother to five children, all of whom are homeschooled, I have a busy life. It’s not an excuse for me to neglect to do what God has asked me to do. Generally, I feel like I don’t have what it takes to take care of my family and write, but in April God reminded me that if He has asked me to do something for His purpose and glory, then He will provide everything I need to get the job done. This does not mean I will post daily to m blog.

As a result, my new goal is to write half an hour each day, and post to my blog 3 times a week.

2. Good writers employ many writing aids, including prompts. In the past, I’ve been hesitant to write to a prompt, simply because I felt as if it couldn’t be a spirit-led sort of writing. I would wait until an idea hit me and then I would write, but considering that I wasn’t practicing daily writing combined with a hectic life, writing ideas happened infrequently. The result was sporadic blogging and random writing. It wasn’t so much because God was speaking to me, but rather because I wasn’t attuned to listening or taking advantage of opportunities to write with the help of prompts. What I discovered about a prompt (even one so general as a letter) is my thoughts were pointed in a direction, enabling me to find inspiration I wasn’t otherwise aware of and a place to start.

In addition to writing daily, I am going to utilize prompts for days when I do not have another writing idea.

3. Writing is communal. Typically, I think of writing as a solitary activity. It’s not. Writers, like all humans, need community. Writing is done best when I am connected to other writers. Perhaps the biggest blessing of the A to Z Challenge was discovering new blogs and connecting with other writers, especially those who blog about their faith. Connecting with other writers is beneficial to help me apply writing skills to my own writing as well as gives me to opportunity to encourage other writers.

It makes me happy to introduce to you a few of my favorite new blogs I found as a result of the A to Z Challenge:

1. The Artistic Christian

2. True Beloved Blog

3. Praise, Prayers and Observations

4. Everyday Moments of Worship

5. Whims and Wanderings

I hope you’ll take the time to check out these blogs.  Leave a nice comment, too! They are great writers … and they have been a blessing to me, so I hope you will join me in encouraging them as well.

In order to hone the craft of writing, I am committed to being actively involved in encouraging writing communities, both online and face-to-face, as well as participating in writing challenges or classes.

April might be over, but I think the A to Z Challenge will stick with me for a long time yet to come. I’m already planning to participate in next year’s challenge. Meanwhile, I’m going to put into practice some of the lessons I’ve learned and see where God takes me on the writing journey to which He called me.

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9 thoughts on “A to Z Blog Challenge … Reflections Upon Completion

  1. What a great way to wrap up the challenge! You’re completely right about a writing prompt not inhibiting creativity, but inspiring it. Thanks for mentioning my blog, also… what an encouragement!

  2. Wow!! Thanks so much for the honor of having my blog listed among your favorites! Yours has definitely been a joy and blessing to find. I look forward to reading your posts when I see on my reader that you’ve written one. I still need to do my reflection. I’ve been lazy. Keep writing!

    1. After the amazing jelly-bean picking post, how could I not choose your blog, Sara?!? I’d like to meet you in person. Not only do you spell your name correctly (my sister’s name is Sara Brooke), but I love your sense of humor. The only thing I ask if that if we ever do get a chance to speak in person, you don’t bring up the topic of zombies! 😉

  3. I had that same view of writing prompts that you used to…and the a-z challenge inspired me to change my mind, too.And thanks so much for mentioning my blog! Seriously, a blessing to me. And I feel the same about your blog as well. Keep writing!

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