The 2014 A to Z Challenge marked the second time I participated in the event. Right up front, we should all be thanking the A to Z Challenge folks for their hard work and dedication to this fun annual event. It is a great experience and I recommend that anyone looking to write, whether a short blog entry or a novel, to participate and engage this community.
My approach in 2014 was different than the one I took the first time around in 2013. This year, I set three simple goals:
1) Create a theme and address it each day.
2) Write with meaning and purpose every day.
3) Meet new people and read interesting stuff.
For the 2014 A to Z Challenge, I developed a theme of “Science to Science Fiction” and took a random word that popped into my brain for each day and then apply the concept to both the science side of things as well as the potential science fiction application. With the exception of a few days, one by choice, I was able to accomplish this. And in doing so, I hope that I was able to stimulate thought on how practical science can be applied to the plots and stories in science fiction writing.
One thing I did not do a good job of in 2013 was writing with a meaning and purpose each day. Sure, something like NaNoWriMo is a good exercise for cranking out quantity but it leaves a lot to be desired in the area of quality. The words that popped into my head were truly random, and some times I would dig into the second and third level of a definition to find the best fit for the “Science to Science Fiction” theme. By finding those “nuggets” in the definition the theme was able to flow through each day and hopefully inspire thought and insight.
The quality of the blogs I visited varied, but I found this year that topics and content were not as interesting to me as in 2013. This isn’t a negative comment at all about the quality of the writing and a lot of the themes were superb. I just didn’t have anything specific I was interested in reading, so I just muddled around. No harm in that! But what I got on almost every visit was the chance to meet new people and pick up a few followers for my humble musings nestled in a small corner of the Interwebs. I appreciate everyone that signed up to follow my writing journey and appreciate all the insight that has and will be offered up.
The A to Z Challenge gives those of us crazy enough to try to become writers a diverse community and long-term support system. That benefit alone should be enough to get people thinking about next year’s challenge and I look forward to seeing how other writers are evolving along with me.
The most important thing I took away again this year is the importance of writing every single day. Every successful author, published or unpublished, repeats the daily writing mantra. Until you do it every day for a month, you can’t fully understand the overall importance of writing (or trying to write) every single day.