I can’t help but think that earning this #atozchallenge ‘survivor’ designation sounds like I made it to the other side of an ordeal. Nothing could be further from the truth. I consider the experience a break through in my writing life,….a pearl of great price. I began to blog after publishing an e-book with no prior experience in how to navigate wordpress.com, a steep learning curve ahead. I’d been writing posts about English gardens and famous English gardeners; my passions dictating the subjects. These posts were infrequent and too long.
A friend alerted me to the #challenge through her Facebook page, posting the #challenge logo. I took the organizers advice about preselecting a theme. I used the names of my Pinterest Boards where possible. I was forced to plan and focus; a good discipline to be going on with. Writing these A-Z posts taught me to write less words and still say something worthwhile. I realize now that asking a reader to plow through a long post isn’t realistic. It was the shorter posts that called to me on sites I visited. The people who share my enthusiasms are busy people who are also gardening, reading and sitting at their desks writing. With an eye on the word count, I began to post brief posts with lots of editing, allowing each post to rest in my wordpress.com queue before scheduling publication. I would rereading them with the benefit of a cold eye. I hoped my readers would feel respected sensing that I had cared enough to care.
Imagine my chagrin when someone pointed out near the end of the #challenge that there was no ‘follow me’ button on my page. Hoping to attract more followers, only those who could click the follow button on their own page were able to join me.
The difficulty in leaving comments on many of the blogs is my one complaint. Some of the shenanigans called for made it more trouble than it was worth. I was sorry to have visited the site only to slip away, unnoticed, never to return. I think more should be made of the fact that if you participate, it behooves people to make it as easy as possible to comment. (WordPress.com sent comments to my spam, which I could allow or trash.) I would add that the tittle a participate lists when signing up is more important than I realized. I used the tittle of my novel, lovely as it may be, which had little to do with what? I on the other hand explored only those tittles that said something to me about what I might expect to find. I look forward to exploring more of the blogs that participated in the #challenge. The #atozchallenge organizers have my appreciation, because the #challenge allowed me to write myself into a more authentic voice named Stepheny.