So I seem to have signed up for the A to Z Challenge for the third time running.

BUT I don’t have a theme yet.

Two years ago I wrote about writing and social anxiety.
Last year I wrote about Jerusalem.This year?

Following my post from yesterday, I’m thinking of doing some research on memoir writing and organising the fruits of my labour alphabetically.

Do you think that could make an interesting topic?
Is there any other topic you’d like me write about?

I’m open to suggestions at this stage.

In 2012,

2012 Most Active CommentersMany thanks to everyone who commented in 2012, and especially to Mike Offutt, Angela Brown, David Rory, J.C.Martin and Rosalind Adam.

Have a great 2013!

Happy New Year

100K100DaysI seem to keep signing up for writing challenges. Maybe, eventually, I’ll manage to write the required number of words!

So this time it’s 100K in 100 days organised by Sally Quilford. If I write a thousand words every day from 1st January, I will have succeeded in the challenge. IF.

Up to now, I’ve realised, I haven’t planned enough in advance of the challenge’s start date, so I’ve been thinking about it and this is the plan so far:

  • Novel in progress. There are several scenes I want to add for this second draft. Hopefully that will make up the 17,000 words that it needs.
  • Short stories. There are seven in various stages of planning (mostly only a sentence each). If each story is 2,000 words, that’s 14,000 words.
  • Blog posts. Yes, we’re allowed to include blog posts this year – as long as they’re not the what-I-had-for-breakfast type. Mine never are. I wouldn’t bore you with porridge, toast, butter, avocado, coffee and the occasional egg that tries to be soft-boiled. I have two planned. Blog posts, that is. Let’s say 1,000 words each. 2,000 words.
  • Once a week, I’m going to go out to a cafe or a park or somewhere else and describe what I see (and hear, smell, taste, feel). 100 days = 14 weeks. 14,000 words.
  • Hopefully those descriptions will spawn some short stories. 10 x 2,000 = 20,000 words.

So that’s 17K + 14K + 2K + 14K + 20K = 67,000 words. Hmm. I might start rewriting my NaNo novel. And I’ll probably think of other blog posts over the three-and-a-bit months. That should do it. Hopefully.

How about you? You can join, too. 🙂

The people at A to Z Challenge posted some questions to help reflect. I’m using them as my brain has gone into hibernation following the long month of April.

How did your journey through the alphabet go? Did you meet new bloggers with similar interests? Are there any you would like to feature and share with others?

Some bloggers expressed an interest in reading about Jerusalem. Of those, J.C. Martin was the most vocal.

What were the highlights for you? (lowlights too…we want to hear it all)

The highlights were the comments. Lots of lovely comments from friendly bloggers. Lowlights? I don’t think so….

Did you enjoy posting daily? What was your biggest hurdle? What was your easiest task?

I tried to photograph every place I mentioned. Sometimes time got in the way, but mostly I succeeded. Describing the places was quite easy, as there is no lack of information out there.

Was time management an issue? (I know, silly question, when isn’t time management an issue – but, it is worth reflecting on)

Er… yes.

And what about your content – did you have a theme or did you wing it? Was it easy to come up with ideas for each letter, or were some harder?

I had a theme and plenty of choice for most of the letters. The only hard one was X. I cheated a bit there. There was one place I wrote about and scrapped at the last minute. I was afraid the stories surrounding the place would turn out to be too controversial.

How about commenting – did you stumble upon lots of sites still using word verification? Did this prevent you from leaving a comment? What worked for your blog?

Most sites were easy to comment on. My problem was finding something to say. I read a lot more posts than I commented on. I didn’t visit enough blogs – it was hard to find the time.

What will you do different next year? (Yes, you are doing this next year, you know you are, even if your brain is telling you to run for the hills – it appreciates the exercise)

I’d like to say I’ll schedule all my posts in advance so that I have more time to visit other blogs, but I doubt that will happen.

What pearls of wisdom do you want to share with the Co-Hosts of this event? (We would love to hear from you and know what you think would make this awesome event even better)

Thank you for organising it. It was fun.

A-Z ChallengeSo from Sunday I’ll be doing the A-Z Challenge again.

Last year I wrote about writing and about social anxiety. You can read my posts (going backwards) here.

This year, influenced by others who blogged about places last year, I’ve chosen the topic of Jerusalem.

See you on Sunday!

Happy Birthday!Three years ago, I ventured out into the world, scared of what I might find.

I’m so glad I did.

I found these questions here, and as I have signed up for the second year running, I thought I’d answer them.

Are you signed up for the A to Z Challenge?
Yes, I am, and I managed to complete it last year, so should be easy this time. Maybe.
What is your sign-up number?
I’m at number 209:  Miriam – An de walls came tumblin down
Are you ready? If yes…explain yourself.
I have my theme and I’ve decided what to write about for each letter. I haven’t actually written the posts yet, but I don’t need to do that in advance, do I?
If you’re not ready…what’s your excuse?
There is something I should start doing, though. I need to take a few photos. But there’s still time for that. I hope.

You can answer the questions, too.

WordPress sent me a report for 2011. Included in it was this:

These were your 5 most active commenters:

Thank you, Sarah, Rosalind, Cat, Mike, Jean and all the other commenters. Without you, I’d have given up long ago.

Happy New Year! 

If you’re as old as me and grew up in the UK, you’ll probably remember watching two puppets, who used to say things like “Loblob” (for “lovely”) and “Flobberpop” ( for “flowerpot”). If you want, you can see them here:

I suppose that’s where this post’s title comes from, although it’s only vaguely connected to the topic.

Amos Oz’s grandmother used to say:

If you have no more tears left to weep, then don’t weep. Laugh.

I know that because I’m reading his memoir: A Tale of Love and Darkness.

I’ve shed a few virtual tears here about my childhood and what it did to me. Perhaps it’s time to laugh about it. If I can….

Sometimes ideas go around from blog to blog. One person blogs about something and others decide to blog about the same thing. I first saw this idea on Rosalind Adam’s  blog. She got the idea from someone else. Probably others got the idea from her. That’s how it works.

This idea has a name. It’s called the Fun and Games Blogfest. You blog about your three favourite games. That’s fun, I thought. I could do that.

Then I thought some more about the games I played as a child. And each game I thought about led to thoughts about bullying. It’s not that I didn’t play games in my childhood. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy playing games in my childhood. But my overwhelming memories now are not about the happy times. They’re about the sad times. They’re about the times I was left out of games, or worse – made to feel worthless when I tried to join in.

So I decided I didn’t really want to blog about games I played. But I was still left wondering how I should react. Should I ignore the whole thing and not mention it, or should I write about my feelings? By writing, doesn’t it spoil things for others? The original idea was just a bit of fun. I don’t need to ruin that with my hangups.

This doesn’t apply only in this particular case. It’s true nearly every time childhood is brought up in conversation. I think that anything I could add to the conversation wouldn’t be appropriate. It would turn a fun conversation into a sad and boring one. So I keep quiet.

But I’ve kept quiet all my life. I’m fed up with keeping quiet. I want to speak out. I want others to know who I am. But I don’t want to spoil their fun.

When I attended my last school reunion, I kept quiet and listened to all the fond memories. Inside, I was crying for the girl who didn’t take part in those fun things they remembered. Afterwards, I decided not to attend the next reunion.

But that’s what I don’t want to do. That’s what social anxiety is about – hiding away so that society doesn’t know who you really are. I don’t want to do that any more.

That’s why I don’t know how to react. Any ideas?

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