#AtoZChallenge 2015 REFLECTIONS

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The A to Z Challenge was even more rewarding than I hoped it would be. I got what I wanted: a writing project and some motivation to get it done. I did not, however, expect to learn so much or make a few friends. What’s even stranger to recall is the night before the challenge began, I almost quit before I started.

Although I’d drafted more than half the posts, I experienced “The Backlash” early (see N) and was 100% sure everything I had to say was ridiculously lame and did not belong anywhere but the safe confines of my journal.

I forced myself to post “A” in the same way someone plugs their nose and closes their eyes before jumping into a cold lake from a high cliff. And now …

I have 26 posts about the creative process: how to practice your craft daily and why daily effort is so powerful. Thanks to you supportive readers, I feel both inspired enough and confident enough to develop these posts into chapters for a book.

Yep, a book! Why not keep this momentum going, write a book proposal, research agents, and give traditional publishing a try?

The worst that can happen is I spend a lot of time writing a book proposal and I get a bunch of rejections. But hey, then I’ll know how to write a book proposal and can do it again for myself and others. There is no true failure, right? (See F.)

I’ve also continued working on my Storybooks You Can Color and have so much to tell you. During another serendipitous walk (like this one about flaws and this one about sticking with it), I thought of someone who could help me with technical challenges. I messaged him as soon as I got home, before doubt could strike, and ended up finding a creative guru! I will post stories about him, about the books, and a few pictures soon.

Most importantly, I met or re-connected to some lovely people during this challenge, from blog friends of ages past (Dropscone!!), tried-and-true supporters (Rose!), to new friends.

I can’t begin to convey how encouraging and inspiring it is for me that you all make time to read my blog and share your thoughts. Your presence has buoyed me along as I tackle more and more of my creative ambition with less and less trepidation. (See B for Baby Steps and H for Help.)

Here are a few of the new bloggers I’ve met during this challenge*:

Alex Hurst wrote lovingly about Japan, which she will be leaving soon to move to Canada for a graduate degree in publishing. My favorite posts were two short ones, one about pathways and one about vending machines, and this longer one about a treasure hunt. I really loved Alex’s blog and her comments on mine, but when she gave me a link to her 2014 post about writing and “publishing” books as a child, I felt like I was reading about myself!

Eco Cat Lady writes about whatever she wants whenever she wants. She’s a free spirit, adventurous and thoughtful. Although any of her A-to-Z posts make a good read, my favorite posts of hers are actually a series she wrote earlier about crafting a life for herself, living the way she wanted to, and doing it on a teeny, tiny budget. It’s quite inspiring.

Solveig posts intriguing flash fiction pieces that leave you pleasantly pondering and wondering. Not only that, but you can read them in THREE languages: English, French, and German.

A lovely woman named Debs asked me to be a guest blogger on her new professional website for her personal coaching business. So, we spruced up my “F: Fear of Failure” post and re-blogged it here. Debs also keeps a personal blog called Bunny and the Bloke.

There are many more blogs I look forward to continuing to read, like The Good Vader, The Wordy Rose, Life Spoken Through Fingers, Edwina’s Episodes, and A.C. Hoekwater.

*You can click on the “A to Z Challenge” tag on one of their posts to get a list of all 26 letters, and then pick and choose a few to read.

So, to those of you following along during April, to those of you who have been here all along, and to those of you planning to stick around: THANK YOU!

Thank you for making the time to read my blog.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas.
Thank you for your enthusiasm, support, and faith in my and my creative efforts.
I am deeply grateful you’re out there in the world.

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About TRISTA

I write and illustrate stationery, cards, customized snail mail (yes, you can receive handwritten and illustrated letters in your mail!!), coloring books, and more. My business name is "Carrot Condo." After teaching English for 15 years (gasp!), I am now a full-time parent and part-time artist slowly, but steadily, building a creative business and life. You can read more at carrotcondo.com or see my products at etsy.com/shop/CarrotCondo. Thanks for your interest and support!!
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14 Responses to #AtoZChallenge 2015 REFLECTIONS

  1. EcoCatLady says:

    Awwww… thanks so much for the shout out. I really enjoyed reading your posts, and I think so much of what you explored can be applied to any challenge in life, not just the creative process. Well…. now that I think of it, life itself is a creative process, so maybe it’s all one in the same. 🙂

    • TRISTA says:

      That’s what I’m hoping to convey in a book proposal, that a lot of what I learned about daily practice applies to all/most arts as well as everyday life. Now I’ve just got to actually get started on this proposal. Easy to say, harder to do!

      I will be sure to stop by your blog regularly!

  2. Solveig says:

    I loved your A to Z series, and will check back to see if I missed out on anything. It has been a great support to get my motivation going 🙂
    Thank you so much for the shoutout. I hope that I won’t deceive you in the future. I have some more flash fiction freshly written in my notebook that I have to recopy.
    Oh and did I say congratulations? CONGRATULATIONS! You did it!

    • TRISTA says:

      Congrats to you, too, Solveig!! I’m looking forward to reading more of your stories. A few of them gave me drawing ideas. I haven’t figured out how to make time for drawing yet, but when I do, I might illustrate a sentence or two from your stories just for fun.

      • Solveig says:

        Thank you! I am looking forward to writing more. Wow they sure get your imagination going, that’s great!
        I do think that maybe some of the stories can turn into something longer, be part of a whole. Or maybe like you said, I should look into doing a collection of my flash fiction pieces.

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  4. Alex Hurst says:

    Thank you so much for the last month, Trista. I am so happy that I found your blog!! And I am really, really glad you didn’t quit the challenge. 🙂 It sounds like your theme was for yourself, as much as it was for the rest of us. Splendid.

    • TRISTA says:

      I think it was definitely for myself. All the more reason I was so happy to find all of you out there identifying with the rigors and joys of the creative process. I still can’t get over your 2014 post about the books you made as a kid: so familiar!! Good luck with your writing — did you write daily for a week? (Or is that still in process right now?)

      • Alex Hurst says:

        Once I’m done with notifications, I am dusting off my old project. I decided it’s not time to abandon it just yet. 🙂

  5. I thought blogging about math would be crazy, but I did it anyway. And I found an audience, even among those who told me they hate/were terrible at math. Who knew? Congrats on making it through the challenge.

  6. Rose L. says:

    I enjoyed the series and was impressed how yu kept it going daily!

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  8. Paula says:

    I stopped by today on the AtZ Road Trip. Sounds like you did a great job on the challenge. I hope to return and see what you wrote!

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