A to Z Reflections

In which I bend and break my little synapses to express what the past month meant to me.

To be honest, blogging didn’t exert any kind of deeper fascination on me before the past winter. I didn’t have a public blog of my own, and barely read any other blogs, except if I landed on them repeatedly from Google searches.

I’ve always regarded blogging as an extra-curricular activity, an additional effort that would consume my time like a starving mutant-termite, and wouldn’t offer much else in return except for awkward socializationg, a.k.a. online small talk that never amounts to much more than “Hm… yeah… kaythanksbye,” and “Wow, you’re a writer? OMG no way, me too! Isn’t that awesome? Let’s be awesome together!”

I hate small talk, in real life, virtual life, the after life, everywhere. Really hate its squiggly guts. If you meet me at the coffee dispenser and try to small talk me, you’re gonna get a stare and an “uh-huh”, or if you’re particularly funny at 8 a.m. (or I need you to sign a paper later), a smile and nod. Then I take off like Road Runner, balancing a coffee mug in one hand, and the mace Sauron forged for me out of fortune cookie wisdom in the other. I use that to club nonsense out of my way, ’cause you know, the corridors of life are narrow and the levels timed.

Last autumn I was asked by my friend and writer Renee Miller to help out with a new website she was working on, called OnFictionWriting.com, and do some managing editorial stuff when the time allows. This brought the subject of having a personal blog back to the front for me. I reconsidered having a camp fire of my own, on which I can roast my own marshmallows. But I was still not completely convinced my crazed fascinations and dubious opinions would actually interest anyone except me.

Then I stumbled over some really great blogs, and my gears started turning. Once I got on Twitter, I met more and more interesting people, some of which are intoxicatingly witty, others insanely productive, no-nonsense fiction-forgers. They have become very important to me and constant sources of inspiration and encouragement. And I thought… why the hell not? Why not try to do what they do?

Why not make blogging an exercise in diversification? Why not use it to sharpen those writing skills?

As a writer, everything you do is training. Everything you read, everything you write, every greasy napkin you smear your notes on is valuable practice. Even blog posts. Especially blog posts. They’re the keyholes people can peek through, and see straight into your mind. They are tiny snippets of your world, like movie trailers or cover blurbs of The Story Of You. They have a huge potential to generate enthusiasm, curiosity and thirst for more, while at the same time teaching you how to focus your shit.

Yeah, but, you know, “if a tree falls and no one hears Big Foot scream from underneath it,” — actually means “if a writer says something online and there’s no one around to read it, who gives a shit?” Writing, blogging, and all other forms of storytelling require exposure and communication. The audience is your gauntlet, the fist-machine that knocks your writing into shape. But where to get yourself some of that without sacrificing your prized goat?

Enter: A to Z Blogging Challenge.

The month of April has been a very rewarding ride for me, writerly-wize. Who’da thunk that blogging on a regular basis teaches you discipline? *cough*

However, the most important in this challenge were the people.

I’m really greatful to the hosts for offering everyone this opportunity, and keeping it together neatly. The blogs I’ve discovered during this challenge have led me to some pretty smart guys, and allowed us to dip into our common passion for writing fiction in a very easy and straightforward manner.

I’m truckloads of thankful to the people I’ve met due this challenge — epecially Tracy Brown, J.W. Alden, Jaye Robin Brown, Kern Windwraith, Cindy Dwyer, Adam Gaylord, Jay Noel, Guilie Castillo Oriard, but also Dazediva, Amberr Meadows, Jolie Du PreJen McConnel, Corinne OFlynn, Leslie Hedrick, A. K. Fotinos-HoyerAndrew Leon, and maaaaaaany many others. They’re what made this challenge absolutely worth it for me!

So, to wrap it up:

Blogging regularly = invaluable writing practice,
Signing up for challenges = plenty of awesome comrads,
Licking batteries = bad.

This experience was a total blast for me, and I will definitely do it again every year. Thank you all for being yourselves and rocking it! You guys make the blogosphere a much more interesting place.

 

And now, here’s what the past month has felt like for me.

I started out somewhat… reluctantly…

 

Then, after I tried to devise a plan, the situation only got worse. Somehow, I felt like being on the wrong side of a bargain…


But there’s nothing that can’t be dealt with through honest, hard work. Or just randomly smacking the shit out of your keyboard. Admittedly, I knew I wanted to blog about writing, but what exactly… that just… kinda happened.

But farkin hell, there was so much to write…

There was no way I was going to keep it up.

And what for?

Why do all this to myself?

Ah screw it.

Then I realized…

 

There were so many great people, so much encouragement!

I couldn’t believe how much more fun blogging was when there were so many crazy people to blog with!

And then — finally —

I had made it! I had survived, and the spoils were freakin’ awesome! I had content, I had new friends, I had a lot of fantastic new blogs to chew at.

It felt so damn good!

So now, hell yeah I’m gonna do it again next year! And I’ll do my damn best to make it even better!

 

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37 Replies to “A to Z Reflections”

    1. Thanks, Ro! Glad you liked it, and that you had fun with the challenge!

      Indeed, categorizing the blogs would be very helpful. I hope they do it.

      Like

    1. Thanks, mood! You’ve done great during the challenge. Very nice articles on your blog!

      It’ll take a while to check out all the blogs, but I think it’s worth it. 🙂

      Like

  1. You did a fantastic job on the challenge, Vero. You should be proud! You’ve become one of the first blogs I look for in my list, as your entries are always useful and entertaining, and your interests are so damned near to mine.

    Congratulations on conquering the challenge! Here’s to the next one!

    Like

    1. Thanks, J.W.! I’m so glad you find my blog useful! There will be much more on writing and various sci-fi issues to come.

      I’m most definitely looking forward to your posts as well. AND your stories.

      *awkward stalker-grin from behind a bush*

      Like

  2. Awesome. Next year, I plan to be writing along with you. I followed, and followed blogs in the challenge, but didn’t participate because time was kind of…you know. But your animations have inspired me. 😛

    Like

  3. All right then! If you’re in. I’m in!

    And this: Then I take off like Road Runner, balancing a coffee mug in one hand, and the mace Sauron forged for me out of fortune cookie wisdom in the other. I use that to club nonsense out of my way, ’cause you know, the corridors of life are narrow and the levels timed.

    Why you are the bomb!

    Like

  4. Love coming here, so thanks so much.

    I’ve never licked a battery, but I hear it’s not so good to do.

    The Challenge was a bigger challenge that I thought, but in the end, it was so incredibly gratifying to complete.

    Like

  5. Really, how can I thank you, Vero? If you lived down the street, I’d buy you coffee and maybe paint your house. Or maybe I’d buy you a puppy. Or give you a day off with pay so you can spend the afternoon watching horror flicks. 😀

    First off, you put me in stitches. I think I might have ruptured my spleen when I read “Who’s your daddy?”

    Secondly, because I am an oh-so-serious writer (heh-heh) you are exactly right: “As a writer, everything you do is training. Everything you read, everything you write, every greasy napkin you smear your notes on is valuable practice. Even blog posts.”

    That’s really a important takeaway, Vero. It’s all constant practice with that writer’s eye. Even the email you write, the Tweet you compose… What do we want the world to read?

    Thank you again for your incredible A-Z posts! Looking forward to 2013 and the year’s worth of blogging in between.

    Yeah! 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks, Tracy! I’ll totally take you up on that coffee if I’m ever in your area. 😉

      I’ll bust my gray matter container and come up with a way to incorporate blogging regularly into my “writing schedule”. It’s done wonders for my productivity, to the absolute contrary of my expectations. I guess it’s how Cindy said: “the more I write, the more I write.”

      Like

  6. Great post. I think I agree with “As a writer, everything you do is training. Everything you read, everything you write, every greasy napkin you smear your notes on is valuable practice. Even blog posts. Especially blog posts.”

    But there are also times where the blogosphere can seem consumed with a version of your dreaded small talk, and I wonder if there aren’t better forms of ‘valuable practice.’ (Though I definitely hope that you keep blogging, so maybe I should dial down the doubts. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks, Hektor!

      It’s been fun reading your posts too, there were some great gems in there. I particularly loved this one: Islands, Inward Journeys, Infections, I Don’t Know.

      Practice is everywhere, if you accept it. In the case of annoying small talk flying at you like monkey poop flung over the enclosure fence, you can practice coming up with witty, snappy come-backs to render them speechless, and use these to spice up your fiction dialogue later. 😉

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

      Like

      1. “you can practice coming up with witty, snappy come-backs to render them speechless, and use these to spice up your fiction dialogue later”

        I’d hope my fiction dialogue is better than my personal dialogue. 🙂

        I’ve tended to move around a lot, which makes the small talk a bit more interesting — it’s very different in Georgia than it was in New Jersey or San Francisco or Oregon or LA… It adds different speech rhythms to the arsenal.

        Like

  7. What a great post, Vero! You were a big inspiration to me as well and I’m so glad we’ve connected.

    You had some great lines in this one (love “real life, virtual life, after life”) and awesome drawings. How do you do that?

    Like

    1. Thanks, Cindy! You’ve been great during the challenge, your posts were hilarious!

      I draw them by hand (or rather mouse) in a piece of software that’s similar to Paint. I’m still slow, but getting better at drawing lines with that damn mouse. I used to draw a lot in crayon when I was younger. I’ve even drawn some portraits of my WIP’s characters just for fun! 😀

      Like

    1. Thanks, Gail! Congrats to you too, your topic was fascinating! I’m so gonna use some of your posts for information! For writing, of course. I swear.

      Like

  8. Thanks for the shoutout, Vero 🙂 I agree–this A-Z thing totally rocks (I’ll go into specifics on my own “looking back” post, which I will write soon. Ish. Really), and I’m so glad I got to meet you!

    Like

    1. HA HA HA HA!!!

      Go easy on those 9V-ers, eh? 😉

      Thanks for stopping by, Andrew! It’s great to have met you, and I’ll be checking out your blog again too. You’ve written some really interesting posts during this challenge.

      Like

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