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. 

Cheers!

13 comments:

  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.

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  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

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

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  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!

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

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  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 :)

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  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.

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  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.
    Karen

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  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!

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  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

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  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...

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  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!

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  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.
    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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