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A to Z reflections....

Another A to Z challenge comes to an end--- another collection of posts and poetry have been written, another deep breath of relief is released. For my fellow bloggers that survived as well, it's another 'challenge-completed' notch carved into the writing desk.

I've come to enjoy my yearly foray into the world of all things alphabetical. This was my third year, though it was only the second year I had a workable theme (which made the challenge substantially easier than the first year I attempted this challenge.) And, though my first year was difficult because my focus was so scattered, I found this year was more difficult because I lost the enthusiasm that came with the first year excitement----excitement which helped me plug along until the end of the challenge.

Year 3 was a success in the sense that I completed the challenge, though, this was the year that almost wasn't----

Somewhere about a third of the way through the challenge, I seriously considered giving up.... there weren't enough hours to get everything done, the way I wanted to get them done. My poems were getting harder and harder to compose (I mean, there's only so many supernatural poems you can write before they all start sounding alike). I haven't been able to visit near as many fellow A-Z challengers' blogs as I had wanted. Though, I'm hoping to amend this in the days/weeks to come.

Time and time again, I would find myself saying, what's the point? or, I don't care enough about this subject to write anything about it, it just happened to start with the requisite "letter of the day."

Life and work and family and more life, kept getting in the way. I could feel myself teetering between the edges of apathy and despair. I HATE not finishing a writing challenge----- even if I had all 26 posts left to do on April 30th, I'd still give it a go....

But, then I'd push through a couple of posts...find a couple of cool pics and suddenly the poems weren't just 'cereal-box-ingredient-lists'.... And, then I'd remember....

There's a reason we do what we do, we writers. And, it's when things feel past the point of restoration and repair, that our basest and truest form emerges. We aren't caught up in the grandeur of ourselves, wrapped tightly in our own self-assurance, exuding the confidence of the never-failed.... Instead, we're exposed and raw and vulnerable-- we are naked to the world, and more importantly, we are naked to ourselves.

Being naked (especially when you didn't intend to leave the house without your pants) is more than a little scary. We can't hide in the comfort of the background when there's a neon sign hanging over our heads that tells the world and their brother to look at us because we're starkers.

And, when we turn the mirror to ourselves, we are, at once, all too aware of every flaw and imperfection... every blemish screams, every scar burns. But, instead of looking into the mirror long enough to grow accustomed to---and perhaps to even love--- what we see, we build view-blocking walls around ourselves that have no window and no door.

It's here we stay until the claustrophobia (read: innumerable ideas clogging the space around us) becomes too much and we begin the frantic scramble to tear down the stone and mortar.

It's when we push ourselves past the wall, fighting every crumbling brick to make it to the other side, that we are reminded, we can do this. And, it's the relief/respite we feel from the first piece we've written outside the wall, that we are reminded, we want to do this. It's the joy/exhilaration we feel once the words are flowing again, that we are reminded, we MUST do this!


  1. Great post, and congrats on year #3! You are so right about why we write - we want to, we need to. We must! As much as I loved the freedom of "free-styling" last year, having a theme kept me grounded.
    Jess/Blogging on the Brink

  2. Your reflection hits home. I wonder how many considered quitting partway through. I always find the third week the most difficult to keep going.

  3. This is an exquisite piece of writing. You express some of my own feelings along the way and did it artfully. I like the conclusion you come to. In essence, that's why we call it a Challenge.

    Thank you for giving us a third year.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  4. Great post and yes it was definitely a challenge. This was my first year, I had no theme. I'm not sure I could have done it if I did.

    Cynthia (The Sock Zone)

  5. Congrats on completing your third challenge. A very good reflection post to read.



  6. You're speaking my language here. I've been behind that wall many a time. As Lee said, this was exquisite. Please consider submitting this to be on the A-Z Blog. I schedule the guests, and would love to have this piece there. Let me know if you're interested. My contact info is on the blog, or leave a comment at my house.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

  7. Beautifully written. Writing becomes my truth when I am able to share glimpses of my own vulnerability. The times I am able to summon up enough courage to do that, I find my posts are filled with raw passion and the words flow easily.

  8. This was my third year participating, too, but my first time having a theme (featuring authors each day). I think it was easier planning and writing my posts ahead of time, so I'm probably going to have a theme next year, too. I'm already thinking about what to do!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  9. From one AtoZ cohort to another ~ cheers!

  10. Congrats for finishing! Even though I pre-planned my posts, I still had a hard time getting them all ready and organized. Sometimes I wanted to write one sentence and be done with it. If it's been motivating for you to do this, then be proud of the accomplishment :)

  11. Great reflection post, and so true about the reason we writers do what we do. It was my first, but not the last challenge. Congrats on completing.

    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

  12. "I could feel myself teetering between the edges of apathy and despair."

    Amen, that's just how I felt! But we survived, so YAY, US!!! :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

  13. you need theme music and a cape just sayin'

  14. I think you just gave me the nudge I need to start my crochet posts for next year's challenge this month. haha Wow! That's a powerful reflection post! Congratulations on finishing the challenge:)

  15. I did the challenge to push myself for sure. I'm exhausted. Congrats to you for running the race, too.

  16. Congrats on finishing! Wow... 3 years?! I have no idea how I'd survive this next year. No idea at all.



  17. An excellent summation. I add my congratulations, and wish you well.

  18. Great reflection post. I had a great time with the Challenge. Congratulations for finishing!

    Peanut Butter and Whine

  19. Congratulations on finishing the challenge and thank you for sharing your A to Z blogging challenge experience with us. I hope to have my own post up soon. I know what you mean about almost giving up half way or a third of the way through, but it is such a wonderful feeling to have completed the challenge.

  20. Stopping by from the #atozchallenge . Congratulations my fellow reflector post maker!

    Beautifully put.

  21. Wow I really needed to read that...Thank you!!
    About halfway through the challenge I got a request to make my 3rd book my 2nd book and could I have the revision done by May 15th. Holy Crap! I finished the challenge and am hoping to get this revision wrapped up on time but I was starting to feel like I couldn't do it:(
    I think I got it now..Thanks again:)

  22. Congrats on finishing your third A-Z!

    There is something to be said for winging it - granted themes are great but this year I found a lot of bloggers feeling spent at the halfway mark - I wonder if it was due to theme fatigue. :)

    I winged it in 2011 - loved it. As a co-host last year I was prepped well in advance and did not enjoy the posting part near as much; with lots of co-hosting responsibilities I see where being prepped was necessary.

    So this year I winged it again - and loved it even more. In fact, there was a small group of us that were last minute signups (we all thought of giving it a pass this year) and we had so much fun in each others comment areas and playing with our posts it was awesome. Best fun I’ve had in a long time.

    Your post is truly insightful, shedding light on the need to let go and just be. When the walls are down and the light pours in it is quite the sight to behold in our mind’s garden; the things we see dancing freely can be enough to start the words flowing.

    I’m pleased you never gave in or gave up. :)


  23. I'm so glad you persevered. You have been at it one more year than me. . .congrats! Hope to see you next year.


  24. How encouraging. If we don't write naked, can our readers truly see what we're trying to say?

  25. We must be distant partners of some sort, because this was my third year doing the challenge and my second year writing along a theme. Life does get in the way and just like other things that we want to do in life...there always seems to be something that pops up and tries to throw us off course. Good thing you stuck around and persevered because that alone shows that you can handle what life throws your way :)

    The Post A-to-Z Road Trip is a great way for you to visit those blogs that you missed during April...and then some! One of the great features of the Road Trip is that you can do it at your own pace. One blog per day or a few blogs per week. It's all up to you. I missed a lot of the Reflections posts and am now trying to get up to speed with as many as I can read in an hour of free time that I have. That brought me here. Nice to meet you, yet again!

    2013 #atozchallenge Co-Host

  26. Wow, well said, and fantastic post! I hear you. It's a ton of work. Like you, this was my third A-to-Z, my second with a real theme.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  27. This was my first year so I hope it goes better next


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