The calendar has turned to May, and that means the 2016 A-to-Z Challenge is finally in the history books. But before we move on, I want to give my impressions of a challenge that was, well, challenging, and if there are any takeaways, I’ll touch on them, too.
Writing doesn’t just happen, there’s a lot of work involved, and I can’t imagine trying to do it on the fly. The Challenge is announced well in advance of the start date, and you better not waste a minute! I was writing and squirreling away posts far in advance. It’s a good thing to have a cushion for when that dry spell hits, and trust me, it WILL hit! I was writing like a champ up until I hit Q, then everything ground to a halt while I wrote and rewrote that post before finally moving on. By then, I had eaten up some of that cushion, and wasn’t feeling nearly as confident that I’d get everything done with enough time for a final edit before the publication date. And what about that troublesome Q? It turned out to be one of my more popular posts. Go figure!
In my post about P, featuring my Pawpaw, I touched on a “talismanic” toy called the Minna-man. One of my readers commented that it looked like it was made from Bakelite, and using that as a hint, I Googled “Bakelite Bear,” because to my mind, the Minna-man looked more like a bear than anything else. And voilà! I now know that the Minna-man was a crib toy manufactured by the Tykie Toy Co. of Piqua, Ohio, in the 1940s and 1950s. Perfect examples sell for more than $100 among collectors, but I’ll never sell the Minna-man. You just can’t put a price on magical talismans.
One of the best things about the A-to-Z Challenge was attracting new people to my blog, and also getting out there in the community and meeting some new people and reading some new things. When somebody shows up and comments on my blog, I make it a point to visit theirs. It’s just part of being neighborly, but it’s also quite a commitment. There are only so many hours in a day, and there’s so much to read that it can be hard not to bite off more than you can chew. So many people worked so hard, and I wish I could have read and commented more than I did.
The 2017 A-to-Z Challenge?
Some people have already asked if I’ll do it again. It’s way too soon for me to even want to think about that. I had fun, but it was exhausting, and felt almost like having a job, albeit a very low-paying one! One of the reasons I didn’t regret getting out of the word business was that it had stopped being fun. Similarly, the A-to-Z Challenge was challenging enough that it kind of pushed my limits of endurance — both as a writer and as a reader — and I wasn’t sad when it ended. If I do it again, it’s going to have to be some topic that won’t take so much out of me as this one did. I’ll give it some thought … but not right away.
What’s ahead at Roamin’ Gnomials?
What’s in store for my readers this month? Well, certainly there won’t be as many words for you to choke on as in April, but I have a few things in mind. I’ll probably have a new entry in the wildly popular Random Stuff That Drives Me Batshit Crazy series, and then I hope to have a guest post from one of my loyal readers, which should be a lot of fun. Work will begin soon on a new co-writing project that I’ve undertaken with another young writer I met through the Challenge, but I can’t say when any of that will be ready.
Thanks again for all the kind words and support during the Challenge.