Southern Food and Memories
2016: A to Z Challenge Reflections
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!
If you’re reading this and wanting more – just click below….
My Blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
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