I made it through the month!!
Thanks for following along and reading about some of the wonderful places I’ve been (or in a couple cases, where I want to go).
I just heard about the A to Z Challenge a few months ago and am glad I signed up to tackle it. As the title would indicate, it was a challenge, but having the goal and a rough plan kept me motivated to complete it. Since my website is still new (as of mid-March), a learning curve took some time away from writing, so I just scraped by in meeting my personal goals (and I believe the content shows this).
My purpose (aside from completing the challenge, of course) was two-fold: to try my hand at travel blogging, and as a writing exercise. I was a bit concerned about whether I could keep up with a daily writing assignment without neglecting other projects. I knew that some letters of the alphabet would be a special challenge and, to be honest, was ready for this month to end as I approached the last few posts. I am happy that I succeeded in this goal and in the process have written much more overall than since I first started a blog.
I learned a few things last month, both personally and professionally. I had never taken a look at my vacations overall, and see that there have been some common themes. The outdoors is one (not a surprise since we enjoy camping), and in particular, National Parks. I hadn’t noticed before how many of my travels involve historic sites, whether by design or coincidence. Perhaps I just take note of the historic significance of places more than others might.
Interacting with several other bloggers was a big plus. As always, comments make a difference. The encouragement is a big help. Although I tried to read other A to Z Challenge blogs, I didn’t get to see as many as I would have liked. I am going to go back and read some over the upcoming weeks, but would have liked to have had time set aside to do this in April. If I do the challenge again, I will have to adjust my schedule to allow time for this.
My daily writing process evolved over the month. I had committed to posting about travel daily, but I was not willing to give up my other writing, so I had to schedule things more than I had in the past. Travel stories really require visuals, so I had to step up my game where pictures are involved. This took up time as well, and I took advantage of the fact I was perusing photos to better organize my digital collection. I have also started paying more attention to what I see in life, thinking about what visuals may be useful to have on hand at a later date.
I also noted a shift in my work process overall. I have started to think about scheduling more and creating a calendar for my content in advance. I am starting to look for inspiration rather than waiting for it to find me (and filling more notebooks with thoughts that don’t fit what I am working on currently). I know that I need to create a better schedule for myself to maximize my time.
Things to do better: Pre-writing more would have improved some of my posts. Pressure to get them up on the appropriate day resulted in some lackluster writing. My other blogs were a bit neglected; better planning and scheduling could help this. I also need to better organize and label my photos to make the process go faster and smoother.
Overall, the Challenge was a great experience. I think it has had a beneficial effect on my writing in general (writing more frequently tends to do that) and has potentially opened a new avenue for me personally. Meeting new people is always a plus, and I look forward to reading more of their work as well. As to next year, I’ll say definitely maybe.
Thanks again for taking this trip with me!