Monday, May 2, 2011

So X, Y, & Z Didn't Happen, But Do They Really Count As Letters?

I quit after W.  It wasn't my plan, but the more exhausted I became - and the worse my seasonal allergies evolved - I realized I was done.  I was out of ideas; my creative allowance for the month expired.  And I saw no point in whipping up gibberish simply for the sake of posting.  I try and spare my followers.

I'll admit, it makes me feel like a failure.  At the same time, if a student came to me upset for scoring a 23/26 on a quiz (which is purely hypothetical since my OCD would never allow a quiz to be worth 26 points; assignment values may end in two numbers only - five or zero), I'd tell him or her they did an excellent job before admitting to myself I too would be heartbroken.  An 88% is not an A, and an A is the only acceptable grade for some of us.

Man, I'm a mess!

The A to Z challenge was intense.  It's the most ambitious blogging project I have entered to date.  Overall, it was enjoyable, though I 'd be lying if I pretended I had time to reap all the benefits.  The manuscript is always my top priority of the day.  All other excursions take a back seat, so I found myself struggling to visit and leave comments for the other challenge participants.

Still, the advantages made my participation worthwhile.  I must acknowledge my new friend Duncan Horne, who I connected with early in the challenge through our commonalities as both writers and teachers.  Duncan's a talented writer living in Kuantan, Malaysia.  I've enjoyed reading his posts and learning from his words.  He's witty, intelligent, and as cool as they come.

***This just in.  This marks the EXACT moment in my life when I learned Osama Bin Laden is dead.***

So now I'm a bit distracted, and can't promise these thoughts will be coherent.  In closing, if I were to  participate in A to Z again, it would have to be during the revision stage of my current W.I.P.  I think one of my greatest struggles (aside from blogging daily and attempting to be somewhat profound in each post) was participating in the challenge at the same time I was drafting my novel's climax.  If I were editing, the foundation would have already been laid out; the fact I'm still creating (and creating one of the most critical parts of the plot) has my brain overloaded.  Focusing on anything else is practically impossible these days.

I would like to thank Alex, Arlee, Jeff (Happy Birthday, friend), Stephen, and the other co-hosts of the A to Z Challenge.  Congratulations on a huge success.   I remember when the goal was a minimum of 300 participants - major props on recruiting over 1200!

Finally, a big thank you to my new followers.  Aside from returning to a more relaxed blogging schedule, I look forward to interacting with each of you beyond this challenge.  I have exciting posts planned for May, including my monthly novel giveaway which will post later this afternoon. 

And congratulations to everyone who survived the 2011 A to Z Challenge. 



  1. The fact that you even attempted the challenge, and got to the last few letters of the alphabet, is to be commended, my friend. You are a blogging all-star, and while your batting average wasn't quite perfect, you at least put out the effort. This is to be applauded.

    Oh, and you are NOT a failure. I don't think those are words you need to say ever again, unless you're making a character say them. You are Paul Joseph, a man who did his best until he could give no more. Always remember that.

  2. Paul, thank you so much for the kind words! X, Y and Z are pretty awkward letters aren't they? Albeit Y acts as a 6th vowel at times.

    I'm excited for your May posts. Best wishes for your writing project :)

    Duncan In Kuantan

  3. You are too funny... I love reading your post.

  4. It was overwhelming at times, so don't feel bad you missed a couple letters. I prescheduled all my posts so I could focus on commenting and visiting other blogs - and even that about did me in!

  5. Yikes, I don't think I could've gotten as far as W!!

  6. Jeff - You are too kind; I believe you just inflated my ego - which can be used to prove thef fact that I do in fact have one. I appreciate the thoughts and I will be revisiting them on stressful days. :)

    Duncan - Thanks for the well wishes. Looking forward to seeing where May brings both of us! So happy to have you on board - really!

    C. - Thanks so much! I'm always happy to entertain.

    Alex - I made it through the first week with all of my posts prescheduled. It was the most relaxing week of the challenge! :) I wish I had kept it up...

    Cathy - It was quite an undertaking, though I'm sure you'd have done just fine :)

  7. Hi Paul Joseph,

    You are the name next in line after me on the Reflections post. This is the first time that I have been to your blog.

    It was relatively easy for me (because I post a lot anyway), until the last few days. I finished fine, but still felt like I really wished it was over around "W".

    I look forward to reading more of your blog. If you visit me, I did a link of all my A-Z posts on my sidebar. I don't know how all you writers did it without pictures ... I use a lot of them.

    Congratulations on your hard work.

    Take care,

    Kathy M.

  8. Hi Paul,
    I am just now getting around to re-visiting blogs I found during the challenge and just couldn't make it back to. Please don't feel badly about not doing the last 3 letters. Jeffrey is right. There is no failure here. We all deserve pats on the back for however much we accomplished and however and whatever level we participated at.

  9. Oregon - Nice to meet you! For me, it seemed to mostly depend on whether or not I had a decent idea for that letter. And I think most of us wished it was over around W - if not before!

    Karen - Thanks for your kind words. Congratulations on your participation in the challenge. If you are like me, you've found these last few days less stressful, haha!

  10. Congrats on almost completing the A-Z. I managed it (although I cheated slightly on X!), but didn't get round to visiting as many blogs as I intended so I'm still trying to catch up! Glad I found yours :D
    Paula Martin’s Potpourri

  11. So what if you skipped out on the last few crazy letters? The benefit (the return of your sanity) outweighed the negative (X, Y, and Z feeling ignored). Besides, you probably would have stopped at Y anyway, just so your total posts ended with a 5.

    Congrats on getting as far as you did. Twenty-three posts in one month while writing your novel's climactic scenes? That's far more impressive than anything I did last month...

  12. Paula - Thanks so much for stopping in. Like you, I too am still making the rounds - whenever I have a few extra minutes to spare. It's great having you here!

    Nate - Thank you. Thank you very much, sir. And fyi: the comment about stopping at Y so it my total ended in 5 was CLASSIC. It is one of the best comments I have ever received on this blog. Really; thanks for making my day, and for making me not care that I skipped a few letters!

  13. I've always maintained the Challenge is an individual one and we each make our own rules. I guess your rules could exclude X,Y, and Z and then you'd be fine.
    You did it and you were challenged within the parameters of your personal responsibilities so I'd see you didn't do a bad job at all. And you did derive some benefit so that's a positive.

    Thanks for Blogging with us in April.

    Don't forget to pick up your Winner's Badge at my site.
    Tossing It Out


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