Today I Give Myself Permission to Reflect on the #atozchallenge

You know that feeling you get when your sweet cousin Myrtle, the one that talks all the time, finally departs your place? That feeling of immediate relief but with a sense that something is now missing?

Well, that’s exactly how I feel now that the Challenge is over. When I put the last full stop on my Z post, I felt nothing but relief. Now, a few days later I’m missing the structure and the creative impetus the Challenge provided. I have seen that some of my fellow participants have jumped right back in feet first to partake in a challenge involving a post a day in May. There is much to be admired about such blogging stamina. Good luck to all the intrepid bloggers who have decided to take that plunge.

Having participated in last year’s Challenge I knew what I had to do to maximise the time I had to visit other bloggers participating in the Challenge. Of course, I did none of them, not because I wasn’t prepared to, but in the end that experience felt too clinical. There’s a real buzz and energy that is generated from watching the posts of that day’s letter go up one by one. A veritable post string linked by the letter of the day, the desire to create and achieve punctuated only by differences in time zones. So to all my fellow WordPress uses who were involved in the Challenge thanks for the motivation and the inspiration.

I went through a few incantations of my Challenge theme before deciding on permissions and even explored some possibilities with my poor hapless family members. Needless to say, they would have liked to give mepermission slip permission to stop turning every family gathering into a research focus group and just get dinner on the table. And then, a funny thing happened on the way to the letter Z.  What started as 26 posts to fulfill a blogging challenge ended up as an online journal chronicling my own personal growth story over the last 18 months. This is the first time I have ever written any of this down and whatever else the posts might be or end up being, they have served as an affirmation of sorts.

During the course of the Challenge, I met many great bloggers from all over the sphere writing in various niches. Some were experienced bloggers partaking in their second or third Challenges, other were new to blogging. Some were not participating in the Challenge at all and still managed to stumble on my blog. All of them enriched my Challenge experience. Thank you to everyone who visited, commented, liked or read – permission granted to come by any time you like and continue to raise that curtain.

The Challenge also had another dimension  this year and that was my role as Arlee Bird’s Challenge Ambassador. It is no hardship to spread Challenge goodwill as I have a strong belief in its premise and benefits. I did notice on my travels that a few bloggers threw in the Challenge towel after the first week or so, thinking that as they had missed one post there was no point in continuing. The Challenge is about creating and achieving and whilst there is a schedule it is not so inflexible that you can’t make up a post or two or three. It’s such a shame to drop out after only missing one or two posts. Please don’t be discouraged, just keep writing and posting, posting and writing.

Finally a big thank you to Arlee Bird, the other Challenge hosts and my fellow Challenge Ambassadors for imparting your knowledge and creating a sense of camaraderie around the event. It remains a terrific concept and vehicle and I’ll be back for another round.


I’ve Been Given The Bird And I’m Thrilled #atozchallenge

As preparation and excitement was mounting for the start of the A to Z April Blogging Challenge, a call from the Challenge co-hosts went out for a team of minions to assist with the behind the scenes verification of signed up blogs. The enticement offered by the co-hosts to sign up for minionship was a special A to Z volunteer badge and the offer of a few blog linkages.

The minute I saw the call, I knew I had to sign up. The enticements offered are fine, but to me the real enticement was the opoortunity to work with some amazing and experienced bloggers. So, having braved the great WordPress/Blogger divide, I put my Gravatar up for the cause. It was up to each co-host to choose how many and who they wanted on their volunteer teams, so the volunteer teams were up for grabs.

I am thrilled to announce, I GOT THE BIRD!!!!!!!


What this actually means is that I, together with four other bloggers, are now official Arlee Bird ambassadors for the A to Z April Blogging Challenge. Over the coming weeks we will be checking blogs that have signed up for the Challenge to ensure the links work and that they are legitimate blogs, not just purely promotional vehicles. We will also be checking that they have not overdosed on the use of profanity or if they have they are appropriately marked as adult content. Moreover, we will be spreading A to Z Challenge goodwill to signed up blogs. I’m looking forward to the task of sprinkling some A to Z Challenge love.

To set the scene for the coming weeks, I thought I’d tell you a bit more about The Bird and my fellow Birdassadors (as I have termed them).

The Bird

The Bird, whose blogging name is Arlee Bird, conceived and is the mastermind behind the A to Z Challenge. Arlee resides in sunny California and runs three personal blogs as well as contributing to the A to Z April Blogging Challenge Blog. Arlee’s three blogs are:

Tossing It Out – this is Arlee’s main blog and in his own words covers the field from economics to entertainment. It is a blog rich in postal variety and includes posts on business promotion, US politics, poetry and the human condition. A veritable potpourri from someone who clearly is well read, finds the world an interesting place and conveys that interest with enthusiasm and well written prose.

Wrote by Rote – is a blog about written memoirs, or more specifically provides thoughts and tips on producing a memoir. You can find information on music and video to feed into your memoir, life stages and the elements that go into a good memoir.

A Faraway View – is a blog about dreams of the nighttime variety. It contains posts about the different types of dreams and their aftermath. Arlee’s nocturnal life must be as exciting as his waking hours to produce a whole blog dedicated to the topic. For someone like me who doesn’t remember their dreams often, it makes for interesting reading.

I belive that Arlee will be entering at least two, if not all three, of the blogs into the Challenge. It is no wonder that the lead up to and the Challenge month of April is a busy time for Arlee. Good luck with the Challenge, Arlee and thank you for believing in me as a Birdassador. My aim will be to pay the goodwill you showed me through my first Challenge, last year, forward to other bloggers. For a newbie blogger your guidance and interest made a big difference to the Challenge experience.

The Birdassadors

Arlee’s love of the eclectic has extended to his choice of Birdassadors. My four cohorts are:

Alana who blogs at Writercize. This is the place for writers! The blog is centered around word play and writing tips and exercises to capture the imagination and help with writer’s block. Alana has recently added opinion posts as well as insight on the growing pains and highlights associated with a burgeoning writing career to her blog mix.

Jaimie who blogs at Living In The Light. This blog is about Jaimie’s relationship with her husband and with Christianity. It contains some soulful reflections and important messages. Not forgetting the earthly necessities, it also contains posts about cooking and recipes.

Red Sonja: She Devil with a Sword, a compilation of blog writers who blog at a site of the same name. Wikipedia tells me that:

Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, is a fictional character, a high fantasy sword and sorcery heroine created by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith, and loosely based on Red Sonya of Rogatino in Robert E. Howard‘s 1934 short story “The Shadow of the Vulture“. She first appeared in the Marvel Comics book Conan the Barbarian #23 (February 1973).
Red Sonja has become the archetypical example of the fantasy figure of a fierce and stunningly beautiful female barbarian who typically wears armor resembling a bikini or lingerie. She was ranked first in Comics Buyer’s Guide‘s “100 Sexiest Women in Comics” list.

The site appears to be a compilation of Red Sonja “appearances” either in comic, artistic form or in real life. If you’re into fantasy, sword play and female barbarians it seems the place for you!

Yvonne Lewis who blogs at Yvonne’s Poetry Corner. Yvonne engages in versal rhyme in each post and as a bit of a rhyming aficionado myself, I respect Yvonne’s talent immensely. You can even catch a glimpse of a picture of Yvonne and Arlee on the front page of site.

Yvonne I’m glad we’re on the team
Both with the ability to rhyme, it may seem
The next few weeks are bound to be fun
As we give the A-Z Challenge list a run

As you can see, we are a mixed bunch and will no doubt each bring our own unique perspective to the role of the Birdassador.

The next few weeks are therefore slated to be busy on the blogging front. I have no doubt that the experience will be extremely worthwhile, I will learn a lot on the way through and meet some great bloggers. I am hoping to introduce you to some great blogging finds in the lead up to the Challenge.

In the meantime is that a cry of BIIIIIRDMAAAAAN, I hear?

Biiirdmaaaan!! (said with deep resonance)

Birdmaaaan!! (said with deep resonance)

Do you remember watching Birdman and the Glaxy Trio cartoon as kid? Who is your favourite cartoon hero or heroine?

Postscript: For those of you still thinking about the Challenge, sign up today, you won’t regret it. You can sign up here.