Monday, January 30, 2012

A to Z challenges, pages and books oh my!

Who says you can't jump into a good book?
Today, I signed up for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out began the challenge back in 2010.


The challenge — blog every day except Sundays for each letter in the alphabet. My plan is to write an A to Z memoir — short personal essays that focus on that day's letter. So, I'm using this challenge to hone my essay skills.

My topics chose themselves as I wrote down the letters. It seemed like a number of travel, life and thoughts raced through my head. By looking at my entire list, I have a general outline of what I want to write. I have drafts of A through F. Plus, this gives me time to find photos to represent those moments.

My A to Z posts will be written in advance, so I can manage my time better during the month. I will continue with Perfect Picture Book Friday posts, but will skip Thankful Thursday posts for April. I'll spend time getting to know new bloggers and will keep track of my regular friends too. Other writing projects include the ongoing 12 x 12 in 2012 picture book challenge and I'll attend the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference.

I hope to have a full draft of my memoir manuscript by April. I'm doing the vomit draft I talked about earlier this month — five pages, five days a week. When I sat down at my computer this morning, I had 103 pages or more than 29,000 words.

Trust me, it needs work. If I get stuck or am missing a detail, I type TK — to remind myself there's a hole — and move on. If I didn't do this, I might still be on page 5. While I'm fairly close to details, it's been a decade since some of these events happened. Was it a $10 or a $15 check I wrote for the procedure that triggered my late husband's catastrophic stroke? Do I need that detail? Maybe, if I'm illustrating the importance of health insurance coverage. I can research and/or delete these items in the revision phase.

I've found myself behind on blog reading and commenting, but I'm delighted in the forward motion with this manuscript.

And, about that picture above. Enzo began exploring some of the books I found at the library's weekend book sale. We stopped at 20 books.


So, how are your writing goals going?

56 comments:

  1. I have been considering the A to Z challenge and think the way to go, if I do it, is to be as well prepared as you are in advance.

    I confess that I have felt swamped by January and feel like I am running to keep up with blogs and comments in FB groups and tweeting etc. For me this is taking up too much of my limited time after a day's work. I shall be rethinking priorities for Feb, as I simply want to focus more on my manuscripts, even if I can't comment on as many blogs and therefore receive fewer comments on mine. So be it. In these early stages of my career I know that writing has to come before any platform building.

    At least I have been journaling!

    Well done on sticking with the vomit draft, Stacey!

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    1. Joanna, I'm still writing, but this is my game plan to make it work for me. So, I guess I'm working the plan. Write first. I think everything else will fall into place. Congrats on the journaling.

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  2. What an original idea. I look forward to your posts, Stacy! Bring it on!

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  3. Wow, Stacy. Sounds like you've got a lot going on. Good luck with the A to Z challenge - and all of your other projects!

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  4. I love the photo of your little boy. It seems that you have things in much control, & I am impressed with your continuing to write the memoir draft. I think that's when I found you with that post about the vomit draft & now I'm also reading Marion Roach's blog. Best wishes in all your projects-I'll be looking for the alphabet!

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    1. I'm glad you are reading Marion's blog. It provides many helpful tips, many from the book.

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  5. Wow! Sounds like you're doing great, Stacy! I don't think I have the stamina for A to Z but I will look forward to your posts!

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    1. Susanna, I guess we'll see if I have the stamina. Here's to trying!

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  6. Stacy - what a great idea! I look forward to reading, but April's going to be a busy month for me...we'll have to see how I feel when I return from my trip in March. But I can't wait to read everyone's blogs. You've got a lot of great things going on!

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    1. Miranda, I look forward to hearing about your trip. It should be interesting to see what everyone comes up with for the challenge. I read a variety of posts last year during the challenge, but didn't participate.

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  7. Best of luck with your blogging challenge, what a great idea!

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  8. New follower, courtesy of A to Z. Good luck with the challenge!

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    1. Thanks Dawn. Good luck with the challenge.

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  9. Hi, Stacy. I need to get over to the A to Z Challenge site to get signed up. You are going to be one busy lady with everything you have going on.
    : )

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  10. I recently finished a book so I can take a breather from writing and that's a relief! But I'll start writing again soon. And glad to see you're part of the A to Z Challenge. I'm looking forward to it too!

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    1. Stephen, Congrats on the book. Good luck with the challenge. I'm looking forward to it.

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  11. I wish you well on your writing and blogging goals, Stacy.

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  12. Goals are going really well. This month is query month and so far I've gotten really good responses. I still think I'm in shock :) haha. Good for you for doing the A to Z challenge!

    And...I left you an award over on my blog :)

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    1. I read the post in my inbox. I'm so very behind this week already. :) Congrats on your query responses! And, thank you for the award. I appreciate it.

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  13. Brava for you, Stacey! I'll be cheering you on -- and eager to read your results.
    My writing goals -- I'm more than satisfied & upping my word count for the day!

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    1. Thanks Beth. I will have a lot of edit work and research to do in a few months. You have had a busy week. So excited abou the cover art for your new book.

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  14. That all sounds awesome, you sound very motivated right now. I'm not well today quite possibly run down, but I've loved doing MoP and I'll throw myself more into the blogging course in Feb. I may sub Big Al at the end of Feb and a few poems.
    Great that you're going to a conference. Happy Writing!

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    1. Good luck with the Big Al submissions and I hope you are feeling better.

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  15. I ditto Joanna's sentiment--I feel swamped! I am putting in the time with my writing, but feel like I lack focus right now. So last week I decided to cut off my Friday posting for now, we will see if that helps at all :)
    Happy writing Stacy!

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    1. Coleen, Good luck on refocusing. Sometimes, a blog post needs to disappear. I always tell writers that I follow several once a week blogs. I enjoy them. I'll be checking for your posts, no matter how frequent they are.

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  16. The A to Z challenge sounds like a good idea. I love your stack of books. I've been finding a lot of books at the local thrift stores lately - very cheap, too.

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    1. Janet, I don't always make it to the thrift stores. We use the library a lot for children's books. I found one of my son's favorite board boards in the piles as well as several middle grade novels to read.

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  17. I planned on doing the A-Z challenge, and then started freaking out about it. You make it seem totally doable, if you just plan in advance! Amazing concept for me!

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    1. Lara, I thought for this challenge, it might work best this way. So, we'll see. This year, I created a calendar for my blog. It's flexible, but it gives me some ideas each week whether I use them or not is another story. :)

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  18. Exciting, Stacy! Will you be posting a letter-story each day? Wow. Either way, I'm impressed. Best of luck!

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    1. That's the game plan August. A short essay for each letter. I'm keeping it short — like a blog post.

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  19. I think the A to Z challenge is interesting, but it doesn't fit the focus of my blog. Like many others, am feeling overwhelmed and trying to get out of the rut of wanting to write more, but feeling scattered responding to all of the challenges, blogs and so on. Have to find some balance. My main goal is writing - and I have to put my focus there. Wush you the best of luck -- and you have a child needing your attention.

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    1. Patricia - True. The main focus is writing, so I wish you the best with that. The great thing about blogging, commenting, platform building, etc. is the flexibility.

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  20. Just signed up for A to Z today. Very exciting!

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    1. Good luck Rebecca. I think it will be an adventure!

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  21. Good luck with the A to Z Challenge - I've never been brave enough to try it!

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    1. Susan, I don't know if brave is the right word. I might be a little touched for trying.

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  22. I signed up for A to Z too. I'm getting my posts ready ahead of time also. Learned my lesson last year.

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  23. Hi Stacy, it was great to see you the other day. Hope to see you at the next Write Brain, too.

    I really like your idea for the A-to-Z! I look forward to reading your memoir entries. I'm still working out exactly what I'll be doing.

    My writing goals are terribly behind. Every time I think I've figured out how to eke out time to write, something else occurs/changes. I AM getting writing and editing done, so though it isn't the amount I'd like, I will not beat myself up about it.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 A-to-Z Challenge!

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  24. Shannon, Great to see you too. I hope to make the Feburary event. Glad you are writing and editing. More time is always needed. I've carved out time in the morning. I'm behind on other things, but ahead on the pages. I'm happy to have this problem now. Today, I bought maple covered cinnamon buns and KitKats to photograph for my A to Z posts. So, I'm eating/working on my A to Z memoirs. :)

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  25. Those vomit drafts are fun! Just sit down and write and don;t worry about the edits. Good luck to you. Like yourself, I'm drafting the topics for the A to Z Challenge too. Then I can focus on visiting other blogs once the event rolls around.

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  26. I'll see you around the A to Z sites Stephen.

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  27. Love the vomit draft idea. You're doing great! And good luck with this new blogging challenge.

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  28. You're doing great! I don't know how you keep up with writing, plus the challenges and keeping up with other blogs. But I'm so thrilled you're going to the conference. I am, too. I'm so excited to step up my volunteer hours.

    ~Debbie

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    1. I'm making myself get up an hour earlier to do some of this. :)

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  29. Hey Stacy,

    Thanks for the #6 comment :) and well done you for the 103 pages... that is *awesome!*

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  30. I'm happy with the pages Mark. Pushing through on some topics I hadn't written about before.

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  31. Last year on A-Z, I jumped in at the last minute and was scrambling to keep up. This year, like you, I hope to have most of my posts written in advance, so I can just visit and comment and enjoy.

    It was a fabulous experience, regardless of how we approach it.

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    1. I'm glad you mentioned the challenge to me Beverly. I knew it existed, but when you mentioned it — it clicked with me and made me seriously think about signing up.

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