Southern Food and Memories: 2016 A to Z Challenge Reflections

Southern Food and Memories

2016: A to Z Challenge Reflections

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

This was my first A to Z challenge participating in, and I loved it! Did I tell you how much fun I had in remembering, planning and writing and how I can’t wait for the 2017 Challenge! Oh, and Yes I completed the challenge!

Last year I read about this challenge, but as it was way past April, I didn’t pay much attention as to what it really was, or what was involved – I just knew it took place in April. Somehow in March, of this year, I read that the A to Z would begin soon… and I thought… Oh that sounds like fun and I immediately began researching on what were the requirements…You must post Monday through Saturday and begin with the Letter A and continue through Letter Z. Well that didn’t sound too difficult! And your reward was – you were given Sundays off!

My next thought was… what can I blog on daily – using a different letter of the alphabet? I was immediately stumped, so began looking at some of the suggestions on the A to Z challenge website for suggestions. I first thought they would give us topics to write on, but quickly learned that I would have to decide on a topic.  Oh My, giving me choices is tough – I’ve always had a hard time making a final decision. To write on a topic, you need to know it and love it… and then it came to me. I am from the South, so why not do my first challenge on Southern Food and my memories. Bingo… I made a decision!

So What’s Next….

I quickly grabbed a notebook and wrote A thru Z on each line…  my mind was buzzing like a busy bee as I remembered my Southern Foods. After writing several food names from memory and then reaching the point of where I could think no more, I turned to the internet to jog my brain of what I had forgotten. Naturally there was a stubborn letter or two that seemed to require more thought and a little creative license in using the letter, but by hook or crook… I made it work.

I’ve found that in the beginning of “first” posts, you sometimes think… I can’t do this… What will I write…I can’t think of anything… and then the ideas come flowing in faster than you can write. That’s what happened to me on my topic  of Southern Food and Memories. It’s always said, write what you know – write what you love… and that’s exactly what I did on my first A to Z Challenge; which made it much easier on me.

My suggestion to any newbie, would be to definitely pick a topic you know – if you make it too difficult, you might become frustrated and give up. I’m not a quitter and have often drove myself crazy finishing things as I never allow challenges to get the best of me. My words and ideas flowed very quickly for this A to Z and I actually had most all of them written before April 1st!

I wasn’t sure what would work best for me or even how it should work as I had never committed to this before. I had done the December 30 Day Christmas Advent Memory Challenge, so I know how frustrating it is if you rely on writing your post daily. On that challenge, I planned a few days ahead of schedule and tweaked as I went along. While it did work for me, it sometimes pressured me – it was the month of Christmas – and I was working full time – and trying to write other blog posts – and stressing myself – but I pulled it together and even managed to enjoy Christmas. While it was fun to reflect on my Christmas memories, and fun to write, I don’t see how you could participate in that challenge more than once.

With all said, my best plan was having most all my posts written before Day 1. Of course, a day never went by that I didn’t tweak or have new thoughts pop in my head that needed to be added or find a photograph, I decided last minute to include. I don’t know if you critique your writing like I do, but I never reread my work without making corrections! Is that a good thing or a bad thing…..

I totally, absolutely, positively enjoyed my first A to Z April Challenge and highly recommend it! I was as much excited on Letter Z day as I when I began on Letter A day… I’m already jotting down ideas for A to Z in 2017. Am I crazy? Actually I was a smidgen disappointed that it was over – I’d love to continue another A to Z this year. I now have several ideas that I’m looking forward to writing on – and if I only do one a year – it’s going to stressful in the choosing. I noticed that some bloggers actually wrote on more than one topic and submitted them through another of their blogs. While that would accommodate me to accomplish my writing topics – I think I might end up pushing myself too much. Maybe the A to Z team might contemplate a twice-a-year challenge so we can write more of our ideas and not have to wait twelve months.

I always keep a notebook nearby when I read blogs, to jot down discoveries or topics that peak my interest for future writings. My notebook has several ideas for future challenges, and you can never start too early in preparing, as I have learned.

30 Day Challenges: Plan a few months ahead, at the very least

  • Choose Topic – yes I know its hard!
  • Research Topic !- don’t we all love researching!
  • Write blog posts way ahead of schedule (tweaking daily is OK) – helps preserve your sanity!
  • If this is your first A to Z – You can never plan early enough!
  • Organize photographs – Or you’ll be up in the middle of the night looking for that one photograph amidst the 50,000 photos you have!
  • Write and have fun – although my mama says writing is not fun!

My hat’s off to the A to Z team for all their work and dedication in gathering the many blogs of participants for us to enjoy on their Facebook page. I looked forward daily to popping into as many blogs as I could, even discovering a few more on my blogging groups who had not left their post on the A to Z Facebook page. I should have made a list of all blog pages I visited, but that did not even cross my mind – until reminded by the the A to Z team… oh well another thing I will note in my notebook for next year. Sorry guys that I’m not giving  you a mention here… but you know who you are… and you know I was there!

thank-you-489376_640 (3)

Thank You so much for everyone who stopped by and read. I hope you enjoyed my Southern food memories and musings…

If you’re reading this and wanting more – just click below….

My Blog is at:

I was curious as to exactly how many words I wrote in my A to Z, and after totaling them – the grand total was 21, 195. Below is the breakdown of my post counts.

A: 749 – B: 1058 – C: 690 – D: 617 – E: 504 – F: 1175 – G: 689 – H: 1044 – I: 866 – J: 501 –        K: 428 – L: 605 – M: 839 – N: 684 – O: 562 – P: 969 – Q: 541 = R: 924 – S: 1439 – T: 618 –        U: 740 – V: 992 – W: 918 – X: 2128 – Y: 852 – Z: 970  =  21,195

In reviewing my post counts, I seem to have gotten quite wordy on Letter X, if you haven’t read it, you can take a peek here. Or maybe you’d like to read my shortest A to Z post – if so, head over to Letter K. It was the hardest letter to write on for Southern foods and I’m sure it will give you a laugh or two!

© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at:
This entry was posted in 2016: Blogging from A to Z Challenge, Daily Writings and funnies... and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Southern Food and Memories: 2016 A to Z Challenge Reflections

  1. Hello Jeanne, I haven’t read them yet (maybe a couple) but really enjoyed this reflections post. My biggest problem is I can’t seem to “write blog posts way ahead of schedule.” But then we all have our own way of doing things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never wrote so many posts ahead of schedule but as I was going on vacation – I began writing as the ideas seemed to flow. I would tweak them nightly and I took photos there for some of the foods. It was fun to do and I can’t wait to do it again as I have more ideas now! Thanks for stopping in!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, the idea of keeping a notebook nearby while reading other blogs and storing new info is something I really wish I had known… so many good blogs I missed and lost track.
    Anyway, thanks and congrats on completing the challenge.

    My recent blog post –
    On Writing 20,000 Words About TV Shows in a Single Month

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always keep a notebook nearby, as when ideas pop in my head, I need to write them down. Who can remember them all? You learn by mistakes made, so next time we will be more prepared in what we will do for our A to Z. I’m already planning future A to Z’s – in a notebook! Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to reading more of your posts and seeing you next year in the challenge. I went back and added up my post words for a total count. I added it on the end of my reflections.


  3. jhwinterauthor says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog, Ink & Stitches! I had a lot of fun during the A to Z Challenge, and I completely agree with you, writing the posts beforehand was the key. There is no way I could have written them each day during April. I would have been all over the place if I had, some days with multiple posts, others with none. I’m glad I took part and I’m glad you had fun with it too!

    Ink & Stitches –

    Liked by 1 person

    • I look forward to reading more on your blog as I love embroidery and wish I had more time for it. Writing seems to have taken over lately. I will be working on my embroidered tablecloth of family names though and feature it when finished. I look forward to seeing you back next year for the 2017 A to Z.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jhwinterauthor says:

        Thank you, Jeanne! Likewise! 🙂 What a great idea to personalize a tablecloth by embroidering all of your family member’s names onto it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, visiting A to Z bloggers for 2016. So glad to find another blogger interested in family history. I have added you to my Feedly so I can follow your posts between the A to Z channel get too. It was my first time and I must prepare before this time.
    Fran @travelgenee visiting from the A to Z Road Trip,
    TravelGenee Blog


  5. Dawn says:

    Visiting from Blogging A to Z Road Trip.
    Nice post! I love writing but sometimes struggle with content or writer’s block so writing in my blog has been few and far between the last several months.
    I have yet to participate in a Blogging A to Z challenge, but figure it might help with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! Thanks for road tripping in, so hectic to read when posting daily. I’ve been in s slump myself since A to Z but I had such fun doing it and already planning next years. Never too early to plan and start writing do I’m encouraging you to get your ideas on paper in a notebook and start writing, this way you’ll have your ideas – snd a head start!! I’ll be checking you out! I think I’m going to write about my life growing up, I’ve seen others do that and I think it worked out well vs just trying to write it in s story.


    • Hi Dawn, can you post your blog site to me? Love to check you out.


  6. slfinnell says:

    Dropping in on the Road Trip. I think we might be related 😉 The X post is like something from my family’s traditional get-together each year. We have a cookie exchange and the list of them goes on and on each year as someone brings a new one to add to our fun. Powerful good! I’ll be reading your other posts later today after work.

    Stephanie Finnell
    @randallbychance from
    Katy Trail Creations
    Stephanies Stuff

    Liked by 1 person

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