Reflection on The A-Z Challenge

For two years in a row now I’ve completed the challenge. I had a blast. This year at least. Not so much last year. Halfway through the alphabet I was on holiday in England where I reconnected with old pals from Zambia, madly scribbling entries in between trips down Cumbrian country lanes, hugging sheep (love the little beasties), poob-crawling (that’s how they say “pub” and it was just two of them), visiting me dad’s old primary school in Ayr, Scotland–read about it here–laughing my head off, and trying desperately to remember the names of the people we knew.

This year I realized just how much I’ve learned through blogging. My writing experience, nigh these twenty years, has been the long form: books, three of them. (Yes. It took me twenty years, hey, I had a full time job and kids to raise.) I’ve written a few essays, but I’ve never had to wing it every day, or at least a couple of times a week.  It’s been tough. The A-Z Challenge was a godsend. It gave me a target. Through doing the challenge I gained confidence and honed my writing chops. I also made connections.

Cheers to the A-Z Challenge creators! Thank you.

Reflecting on The A to Z Blogging Challenge

I’m a spur of the moment kind of woman. This inclination has landed me in some sketchy situations, but it’s also brought me a lot of fun. My latest headlong plunge was into the A to Z Blogging Challenge for the month of April, a daunting prospect. My plate was already full as halfway through April, I was due in England’s Lake District to reconnect with an old school chum from my homeland Zambia after what felt like three entire lifetimes. Not only that, but I was in the midst of editing my memoir, Loveyoubye, which has been all consuming.

Well, I’m pleased to report that I rocked the A to Z Challenge! I completed all twenty-six letters with animals as my theme, from Antelope to Zsa Zsa (a friend’s cockatoo), always angling for some kind of discovery or personal connection to each particular animal. Four days into my visit to England, I veered a little from that theme, converting R is For Road Runner into a runner of another kind: me, charging across the expansive verdant fields of Lord Lowther’s estate after stealing one of his logs within sight of the magnificent Lowther Castle. And then in my blog U is For Unicorn, I recounted my search for records of my South African father’s attendance at Ayr Academy in Ayr, Scotland, closing with the unicorns in Scotland’s Coat of Arms.

Although it still takes me at least ten times as long as anyone else to write anything (I’m convinced of that) and I can hardly stand to broadcast any of my scribblings that haven’t been critiqued by at least four other writers, I’ve developed a couple of new writing muscles, might I say writing chops I didn’t have before. Thank you dear A to Z Challenge creators and those participants who visited my site, you made the next step in my writing journey possible.