Celebrating 14 Women Who Used to Be Strangers
This is my A-Z challenge reflection post. It’s a few days early. After a month of daily posting, I’m keen to return to my regular schedule of Thursday posts.
Loyalty is one of my best qualities. Speed-dating doesn’t work for me. So when I first combed through the master list of 697 bloggers who were doing the A-Z blogging challenge, and made my 28 selections, I promise you that I was committed. I had romantic visions of new blogging friendships formed, of taking turns visiting each other’s online homes not just for April, but for years.
If the blogger had written a post about their theme, and most had, I wrote to them there. I told them how much I was looking forward to meeting them, introduced myself, and said why I thought we had the makings of a beautiful long-term relationship.
I gave my heart too early; it’s an old story for me.
I can think of three primary reasons for blogging, not counting blogging to make money which I see as a whole different beast. Some people blog for:
- themselves–to have a record, or to work out and synthesize their thinking
- others–to share information or experiences with the goal of inspiring, educating, or entertaining
- community–to develop a network of blogger friends and have a conversation with them about the little and big things in life
These purposes are not mutually exclusive. All of the bloggers I enjoy and still follow are as keen to achieve all three purposes as I am.
A Blogger’s Commitments
Depending on our purpose for blogging, some bloggers honour three commitments, and some five. The foundational and non-negotiable three, in my opinion, are:
- your privacy. This is a legal requirement as well as a moral one. You’ll find it in the small print on every blogger’s site.
- to not email too often. We all recognize how busy you are and truly appreciate the gift of your email address so we can stay in touch.
- quality. If we are not consistently giving you the best content and the best writing we’ve got in us, there doesn’t seem to be much point to blogging unless we’re just keeping an online journal.
My final two commitments are of concern only to those bloggers who embrace the third purpose of blogging — to build a community.
Nothing trumps good conversation.Rich Eisen
- respond to comments that are left on our sites. If you have taken the time to reach out, I will always reply.
- read each other’s blogs and write comments. This applies only to other bloggers.
Why I Stopped Following 14 A-Z Bloggers
A week after the A-Z challenge started, my heart was broken. Not once, but 14 times.
I’d like to say that the 14 women I ended up dumping felt sorry and wanted me back, but I’m not sure they even noticed I was gone. If they did, they probably don’t know why I left.
And yet the reason is very obvious to me. I know when I don’t matter.
When a blogger doesn’t reply to my comment or gives a cursory “thanks for visiting” response; when she doesn’t visit my site or leave me a comment, the message is clear. I’m supposed to show up day after day with the flowers and the candy. I’m supposed to do all of the work of the relationship.
That’s not happening. I have way too much self-respect to let a guy treat me that way in real life, and I’m sure not putting up with it online. If you’re too busy for a relationship, we’re clearly not meant to be. Have a nice life.
The Glass is More Than Half Full
I’m a fan of positivity, so let’s forget about those bloggers. Let’s talk about the other 14 bloggers, the ones I connected with every day of the A-Z challenge, and will continue to read and chat with a for long time to come.
They weren’t perfect and neither was I. One didn’t respond to comments on her site. Another wasn’t able to post every day. Still others didn’t visit me every day. Of the 364 comments I could have left on 14 sites, I only left 363. So what. What matters is that our intentions were sincere, we wanted to connect and we did, as consistently and completely as we could. I am very happy to have met these women. Most, if not all, of them are now members of the Profound Journey tribe. I hope you’ll enjoy meeting them too.
AJ writes cozies which, she tells us, are mysteries starring “sassy amateur female sleuths.” There’s no gore or profanity in AJ’s mysteries. All of your attention can be focused on figuring out whodunit.
AJ did an excellent job of walking a tough line when she posted on her A-Z theme of serial killers. Gore was limited and the crimes described as dispassionately as possible. They were all fascinating, but one that particularly caught me was the story of Jack Unterwerger who had such charisma that he became a journalist and celebrity after serving time in prison for one murder and before being convicted of eight more.
Now that the A-Z series is over, AJ returns to blogging about writing, and about places in her hometown of Canberra, Australia.
Long-time Profound Journey readers will know that living a creative life and encouraging others to do the same is really important to me. Unfortunately, I don’t have the depth or breadth of experiences to provide intelligent, inspiring support. Fortunately, Alana does.
I’ve already mentioned that Alana’s definition of creativity is the best I’ve ever read. From the A-Z challenge, consider taking a look at Naked Soul for inspiration, or Tree Hugs for some stunning photographs.
Alana’s site is under development. Eventually you can expect to see Daily Doses of Inspiration, Weekly Creative Challenges, and a wonderful feature called Awesome Sauce about creators of all kinds.
Beth has been doing the A-Z challenge for seven years. Her overarching theme for all challenges is A Good Life. This year’s challenge was all about Stretches we could take towards living that good life. Think changes made the Kaizen way – one small step at a time.
Beth’s tough. When the Yarn entry encouraged me to use craft thread or to tell a tall tale, I asked if buying yarn for my mother to knit something would count as my stretch. Her answer? “Nope.”
On Beth’s main site, she blogs about her books (“relationships with an undercurrent of sleuthing in historical contexts”), hiking, and travel.
Cindy is an artist. She lives on an island in northern Lake Michigan in the United States. There are 400 permanent residents including a veterinarian who also owns the local hardware store.
Cindy’s site has been up since October 2011, so you’ll find lots to read and view. I just discovered a page of small collages she made, one per day as a representation of her mood. Unlike Beth’s yarn stretch, that’s a project I can get behind!
Deb, and Donna after her, are the two bloggers who weren’t strangers when we started the A-Z challenge. In fact, I first learned of the challenge on Deb’s site, The Widow Badass.
Deb was originally going to go theme-free on the A-Z challenge but, at the eleventh hour, had the inspired idea of writing posts related to a song that was popular when she was a kid. Readers were encouraged to guess the theme after each day’s post. One reader did guess the theme but it wasn’t me. If Kristofferson didn’t sing it, I probably don’t know it.
Deb blogs about life and she always keeps it real. Her posts are refreshing, fun, and insightful.
The tagline of Donna’s blog is “new chapters, new discoveries and new adventures.” So it made sense when Donna took on April Adventures as her theme for the A-Z Challenge. Although she regretted that choice a couple of times –trying to live an adventure each day means not being able to write ahead–Donna talked about everything from cruelty prevention at the local dog shelter to hockey sticks after the Humboldt bus tragedy.
Donna blogs about life after retirement, travel, family, and new experiences.
Heather’s quite incredible. She did the A-Z challenge for not one, but two, themes. There was the theme about 26 ways to increase your creativity, which I followed. Check out Experiment with Variety and Approach Zebras with Caution.
Heather also posted daily on her site Facing Cancer with Grace. Her theme was caregiving and this is a woman who knows whereof she speaks. Heather’s husband was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer five years ago.
Take a look at Heather’s About Me page. You too will be in awe.
Jacqui is an educator who writes, like me. Where we differ is that I thought I was a prolific writer and Jacqui actually is one! She has written over one hundred books on integrating technology into education, as well as works of fiction and a nonfiction account of her daughter’s entry into the United States Naval Academy.
Jacqui’s theme was Literary Genres. For each genre, she provided a definition, writing tips, and examples of popular books in the genre. Several were new to me, and quite interesting. Like Urban Fantasy, and even Zombie Apocalypse. I knew about zombie movies, of course. I just didn’t know that zombie stories were their own ‘thing.’
On a regular basis (remember prolific?) Jacqui blogs about books, writing, and technology.
Janet has led an interesting and eventful life. She refers to “tossing (her) life like salad” a few times, including thirteen years as a Catholic nun, raising three children, and now running a coaching/consulting business to support small non-profits.
Like Alana, Janet is in the process of developing her blog site.
Jenny says she “enjoys writing long and short fiction, essays, and overly ambitious to-do lists.”
For the A-Z challenge, Jenny wrote short, interesting and often humorous posts about world mythologies and legends. I enjoyed all of them, especially the African god Kalumba and the little Bolivian guy, Ekkekko. If anyone’s travelling to Bolivia, please let me know. I’d love to buy a little Ekkekko doll for the altar in my art studio.
Jenny’s blog site is also new. There’s a hilarious post about a toilet at Home Depot with an elongated bowel (yes, I spelled that correctly).
When her blogging muse vacated the premises a month ago, Leanne didn’t wait for it to return. She chased it down by entering the A-Z challenge for the third year in a row!
Leanne’s theme this year was The A to Z(en) of Life via the Dalai Lama. Among other topics, we learned about avoiding negativity, and opening our eyes to the simplest solutions. Leanne provides information, but she’s also not afraid to be vulnerable and open about her own experiences, thoughts and feelings.
Leanne blogs about redefining and recreating ourselves in midlife, especially once the nest is empty.
Sandra’s is the most unusual and the most bewitching blog I’ve ever read. It’s more poetry than prose, and it inspired me to visualize in a way that I’d never been able to before.
Let me quote part of Sandra’s description of her site: “the faerie embassy is my home space, a beautiful mudbrick castle in a richly diverse forest. which means I am very passionate about wallabies and pythons and mist spiders and twisted angophoras and the sound of the wind and the feel of the rain.”
I just read Silvia’s About page and learned that she moved to the United States from Romania in 1992. English is her second language, but you would never, ever know that. Silvia writes beautifully.
Silvia’s A-Z challenge theme was fictional character traits. For each trait, she gave wonderful, spot-on examples from books and films, and then talked a bit about how a writer could use that trait in their work. Consider the hot-tempered character played by Elizabeth Taylor in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or the kind children in the film, Wonder.
Silvia has an inquisitive mind. Her blog is about travel, books, writing, current events, social causes, and life.
The glass Sue has raised in a toast is an apt image, both to thank you for hanging in to the end of this very long post, and as representation of Sue’s belief in positive aging.
Sue’s theme for the A-Z challenge was Thriving in Life. For example, she wrote about resilience and about having a zest for life. Each post included self-care tips and suggestions, as well as information and an inspiring quote or two.
Sue’s blog is exactly what she says in her tagline: “Encouraging women over 50 to be fit, fabulous, healthier, and happier.”
Thank you to the 14 bloggers who made this A-Z challenge such a fun, inspiring, and informative experience.
And again, because none of us would be blogging if it weren’t for you, thank you to our readers. Whether you write comments or not, we are so appreciative and grateful that you are here.
Anything you want to talk about? I promise I’ll always reply!