Thursday, May 12, 2016

#AtoZChallenge 2016 Reflections

I knew May was going to be a busy month, but what nobody told me was that instead of blogging every day, I'd be building a new website every day. Believe me, it's not something I wanted to do, but my web hosting service is in the process of upgrading and I've been notified to go with the flow or get left behind. Consequently I’ve had to learn a whole new set of tech-skills faster than you can say "pixel" and my head is still spinning. At this point in the game I'd do just about anything to set back the clock and return to the simple world of going through my ABC's. At least I have next April to look forward to!

Before I landed in this big website morass, one of the things that made this year's A-Z challenge so special for me was my theme of art journaling. To make my posts authentic, I had to create a daily art journal page to illustrate what I was writing about. Despite the extra work, I feel I got much more out of the challenge than I bargained for; I love the small journal I created for the month and it will always be a “Yes, I can do it!” reminder and reward for participating.

Besides the fun of creating a new journal, other benefits I received from the challenge include:

  • Learning I could write under pressure. During the challenge I still had to go to my day job and fulfill all my other routine obligations. But I always posted!
  • Learning that I could create an art journal with limited time and resources. You can do a lot with a little—no excuses.
  • Met many great bloggers--and from all over the world.
  • Felt easier than I usually do about opening up and sharing without my inner critic interfering. There just wasn’t any time to listen to her cautionary ranting. (Thank goodness.)
  • I felt comfortable calling myself a “blogger.” Often I just consider myself an author with a blog and that's the end of it. But I like blogging, and I enjoy having my blog. So I guess it's okay to call myself an honest-to-goodness real-life blogger!
  • I particularly liked having the routine and discipline of posting every day. Although I won’t be able to maintain that kind of schedule (once or twice a week fits my life much better) it made me realize how I can use that same time for a creative exercise every day, and with satisfying results.

So will I return for 2017? You bet! I had a great time with the challenge, and I hope you did too, bloggers and readers alike. Thank you to the A-Z team who made this exciting event possible, and thank you to everyone who took the time to visit and comment on my pages. 

Finally, and as promised, I have selected (using a winner from my visitors who commented on my posts over the month for a copy of Overtaken! Name to be announced in my next post. See you then!

Tip of the Day: In order to participate in the challenge, I gave myself about an hour every day to both write my posts and work on my accompanying art journal pages. By carving out just a little extra time I found I could do a lot. The secret was in telling myself I had to do this—I had promised, I was committed. Now that the challenge is over, what can you commit to with that same dedication? Blogging, painting, journaling, beading? Whatever you choose, promise yourself you'll do it--seize the day.


Liz A. said...

Congrats on making it through. And creating an art journal. That's great.

Valerie Storey said...

Much appreciated, LiZ! Art journals are certainly a fun way to cover both a daily writing and art practice all at the same time. Best wishes to you too!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

I love the idea of creating an art journal during A to Z. I have many journals all over the house, but they all lack organization. I'm going to check back to see your posts. Congratulations!

Valerie Storey said...

Great to hear, Mary! My writer's group is going to start art journaling together in a few weeks so I'll be posting our progress and results. Hopefully we'll get you inspired too! Happy Summer.