Tag Archives: A-Z blogging challenge

Reflection on the A-Z Blog Challenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

The A-Z Blog Challenge has come to an end, and I sort of miss it. Writing a daily (except Sundays) blog post gave me a satisfying feeling of achievement during a tumultuous month—workers traipsing through my house daily (except Sundays), no kitchen, piles of kitchen stuff hidden away here and there like a squirrel’s nut caches. Daily blogging also gave me a refreshing break from the novel I’ve been working on. I was stuck on a solution for the opening scenes, but when I tackled that task again in May, I made real progress. Blogging is good creative cross-training for a fiction writer, eh?

Q is for Quatsch was the easiest to write. The hardest? None, really. What was challenging was sticking to my declared theme: making the most of early retirement. I’m glad I have another eleven months to think up a theme for next year’s challenge.

This challenge has strengthened my resolve to learn more about the structure of blogging; I need to update my theme and become more proficient at using graphics and photos. The Word Press theme I’m currently using doesn’t allow me to create a blog roll in the side bar, so I’m shopping for a theme that will facilitate that.

The most enjoyable part of this challenge, beside the writing, was hearing from strangers around the world who share my interest in writing, travel, and the joys/challenges of this life stage. What are the chances that I’d otherwise make new blog friends in Australia and India? I hope the Linky list stays active so that I can continue to sample these interesting blogs.

My blog posts that got the most views, comments and likes were

  • D is for Daring
  • N is for No, Thanks
  • M is for Motherhood
  • L is for Love
  • I is for Impressed
  • V is for Vacation

As for complaints, no tengo nada. I found the website accessible and the guidelines easy to follow. And if some bloggers weren’t able to finish the challenge—so what? Life happens.

I’m looking forward to next year’s challenge. Until then, please stop by from time to time, and I’ll do the same for you!

A Is for And


Don’t you just love a fresh start? A new year, a new home, a new job–there’s an undeniable rush of hope and possibility when starting a new chapter in life. The transition from full-time employment to retirement is more than a new chapter–it’s practically a whole new book. I never expected to make this transition so soon, but Lady Luck gifted me with a shot eat early retirement, and I dove in like an Acapulco cliff-diver–kasploosh! Now I have what I yearned for during my many years of teaching: lots of glorious time to explore all those interests I could never really fit into my busy working life. It’s a trade-off, to be sure: less money but more time. Let the fun begin!

Ahem. Shuffle. Stare at computer screen. Get distracted by flashing ad and follow it down a rabbit hole of internet fluff.

Here’s the thing about unlimited possibilities (well, limited by my wallet): how do I chose what to do with all this time? I wanted to write, of course, and work out regularly, and learn to paint with water colors, and travel to Canada and Latin America and parts of the U.S. I’ve never seen, and take gourmet cooking classes, and learn to play the guitar and golf and the piano and speak Spanish, and take singing lessons, and try pottery, and explore all the cool shops and museums and hiking trails and towns and parks and…

Really, what I want is to try as many different creative pursuits as possible. Why should I limit myself to just a few? And perhaps this indecision is actually not a bad thing. My main creative focus is writing, true, but dabbling in other creative pursuits could only be good for me, right? It’s like cross-training, cross pollination, food for thought. And one of the blessings of being this age is that I don’t care as much about what others think of my efforts. I’m very comfortable being a bumbling, bungling newbie who makes lumpy sculptures, lopsided drawings, and speaks Spanish like a tongue-tied three-year-old. Here’s to trying new things.