P is for Purpose

Posted: April 18, 2013 in Blogging from A to Z Challenge
Tags: , ,

Just past midway on the challenge and I thought this would be a great time to revisit my purpose in doing it and evaluate the experience thus far.

In my first post, I mentioned that this was a terrible time to start this kind of challenge.  It was tough, but I managed to keep up even when I was out of town for 2 weeks.  It was easiest to do when I planned ahead for a specific time and stuck to that schedule.  Since I’ve been home from traveling, it has actually been more difficult.  That surprised me, but as I think about it I realize it’s probably because while I was away from home I had no responsibilities.  I did a lot, helped out with the same chores and had to do things like eat and sleep just like at home, but I did not have that knowledge that the buck stopped with me.  Since I’ve been home, those daily things have again fallen to me, or at least the sense has returned that they are my job even when my family is great about helping out with everything.  Then there are other responsibilities, things that only I can do.  Still, the key to success away from home and at home is the same: Plan a time.

Something else I’ve struggled with during this challenge is coming up with a topic.  It seems either feast or famine.  I had a hard time finding something for “K” and “O” for instance, but it was difficult with “L” and “M” to choose from the many ideas I brainstormed.  It has been good for me to be forced into choosing something and then sticking to it because I don’t have time to dither.  Not that I didn’t dither, but I’ve gotten better about it.  Hopefully by the end I’ll have strengthened my ability to Pick and Stick.

Then there is the quality issue.  I am an editor.  I edit emails and text messages.  I delete Facebook posts because I don’t like the way I said something.  I drive my family crazy because I edit myself during conversations, repeating myself three times to make sure I’ve expressed my thoughts to the best of my ability.  This challenge has demanded that I publish some things that I don’t consider excellent.  And that’s good!  I saw a great quote today by William Faulkner:

“Read, read, read.  Read everything–trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it.  Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master.  Read!  You’ll absorb it
  Then write.  If it’s good, you’ll find out.  If it’s not, throw it out of the window!”

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a writer friend once when I was whining about not having written much lately.  Because I had read and heard so much bad writing around that time, I was paralyzed by the thought that I was producing bad stuff as well and I was simply unable to see it.  I also feared that if I produced anything good, I wouldn’t be able to recognize it.  Such frustration!  But the real point here is that when I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t producing anything–not bad stuff I could learn from or good stuff I could be proud of and build on.  This A to Z Challenge has been helpful because it has forced me not to say “Good,” but “Good enough.”  It’s pushed me to just Put it out there.

All of these things will have a positive impact on my blogging, but to me there are more important parts of my life it will touch as well: my writing, my family life, and my personal development.  Perhaps by the end of the challenge, I will have picked up a few more skills, but if I only develop what I’ve discussed here, I’ll have benefited beyond my expectations.

If you are an A to Z Challenge participant, what are some of the things you’ve learned from your experience so far?  If you aren’t, are there any challenges like this that have helped you develop?  If you are a blogger and a writer of non-blog prose or verse, how has your involvement with the one influenced the other?  And if you are none of the above, welcome and please feel free to join in the conversation.

  1. LOVE Reading and I’ll read just about anything… books, magazines, blogs, cereal boxes & bathroom walls… ya never know what bit of wisdom is waiting to be discovered.

  2. I also love reading and did about 3 books a week till I came online and started a site.I don’t have as much time but still read online all day. For a newbie the challenge has been wonderful. I’m learning an awful lot and really enjoying it, but I will be pleased come May and may start a new book.
    maggie at expat brazil

  3. emmyleigh says:

    Good points – especially the pick and stick. I’ve enjoyed the challenge too, especially as you say, having to pick an idea and go with it, with the pressure of daily posting.

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