|A to Z Challenge 2016|
"I don't have anything to say." "What if I start and can't finish?" "Wow, what a commitment. When was the last time I produced that much writing in a month?"
"Tell me again, why am I doing this?"
Yet the day came when the pull to do grew stronger than the push to not. And so I signed up.
I'm talking about the A to Z Challenge 2016, 26 posts in April corresponding with the 26 letters of the alphabet. My subject of choice: haiku, posted from the viewpoint of a new student. My overall impression after the fact? It was a really good experience, well worth the time and effort.
The A to Z Team who sponsored the challenge has encouraged those of us who completed the challenge to write a reflections post about the experience. Many participants have already done so (see list of links here). So, a few of my thoughts:
Why did I sign up?
...to challenge myself, first of all, to write. No excuses.
...to see if I could actually make a deadline. No pressure there, ha!
...to apply myself to learning more about my subject, and to share what I was learning.
...to interact with others and learn from them on their subjects along the way.
What did I discover?
...time management is key. (Duh!)
...obstacles will present themselves--but so will surprises and unexpected words.
...there's a huge supportive community out there--both new friends and long-time close friends.
...more people signed up for this challenge than I could ever meet.
Jane Reichhold in her article Haiku Rules That Have Come and Gone, Take Your Pick shares a list of 65 "rules" for haiku, many of which are contradictory. While the article was in itself educational on the subject of haiku, it also presented what I think is a good take-away for the A-Z Challenge. "You've heard Robert Frost's saying that poetry without rules is like a tennis match without a net and it is true also for haiku..." Ms. Reichhold writes. "As soon as you get proficient (you will notice your haiku all sound alike), it's time to raise the tennis net by picking a new rule or so..."
Well, it might be said that the A to Z Challenge 2016 was my tennis net. It raised the writing bar a little higher--and certainly made me work a little harder. Yet rewards abounded, including learning, stretching, celebrating small accomplishments, and 'shaking hands' with others along the way. And so, to round out the challenge, a final haiku reflection:
when words begin to
sound the same take up challenge...
raise the net higher :-)