May 13, 2014 by Ray Yanek
Almost two-whole-freakin’ weeks have passed since the end of the A to Z challenge and I’ve posted nothing since then.
Here’s the deal– when the A to Z Challenge was over, I was left looking at almost 500 pages of research papers to grade, I coach my son’s baseball team and help out with my daughter’s softball team and it’s currently the high season for both sports. So I’ve needed some time to get my stuff together, catch my breath, and prepare for the second onslaught of grading yet to come as the school year winds to a fitful close.
Anyway, one of the ‘requirements’ of the A to Z Challenge was to write a reflection of the project, to give our thoughts, impressions, feelings, etc. So I want to do that, just so that I can fully say that I completed the entire challenge. Also, I learned a lot from doing this and I want to reinforce those things and, I hope, commit them to memory.
So here we go–
1.) I learned so much about the topic (which was art) I decided to focus the blog around. And I had fun. There were times when I was flipping through art books or doing searches on line where I lost impressive amounts of time lost in beauty and fascinating stories. What I actually posted about art was, in truth, only a quarter of all I learned and discovered. It reminded me again of how much I love research and it’s making me antsy to start some writing projects that will require a lot of seeking and searching.
2.) The challenge was another reminder of how easy it is to keep a blog going when that blog has a theme. I’ve struggled with that here, struggled with finding a focus and that has made consistent posting difficult. I want to work on that as I go forward. Maybe I’ll continue with my own monthly challenges and go with different, monthly topic or themes. Maybe have certain days of the week set aside for certain topics like I’ve seen on a lot of other blogs, or something like that.
3.) I met so many great people. A lot of the reflection blogs I’ve read have said this same thing, I know. But in my case it’s true. I found a lot of cool new blogs that I find myself eagerly waiting to go and read.
4.) The challenge ‘forced’ me to reach out to other people. I haven’t done a lot of that on the blog before, you know? I’m always too busy, in too much of a rush, too shy, too tired, too uncertain how to start a conversation with strangers, so a lot of times I would sit in my little corner of the internet and watch, through the window, everyone play freeze tag out in the big lot next store. Going to these other blogs reminded me of how much there is out there.
5.) To continue #4, I want to continue to reach out and meet new people. From the standpoint of being a writer, I’m fairly isolated where I live and I don’t have much of an opportunity to network with other writers and to be a part of a community of writers. The benefits that I’m missing out on because of that are enormous. I need to change that…
So there it is, my reflection and the start of look at a post A to Z Challenge life. For at least another week or two, I don’t know that the posts will be very consistent for all those reasons mentioned above, but I do plan on trying to get some summertime goals together for Writing the Rails.
If you have any ideas, let me know. 🙂
And also, if you are aware of any ways to help